A-level college students must be “fast off the mark” on outcomes day to safe their college locations as clearing faces extra competitors, the pinnacle of Ucas has warned.
Clearing is accessible to college students who don’t meet the situations of their supply on A-level outcomes day, in addition to those that didn’t obtain any affords.
College students who’ve modified their minds about what or the place they want to research may also use clearing.
Clare Marchant, chief government of Ucas, suggested college students to have a sturdy plan B forward of outcomes day to keep away from disappointment.
“It’s getting extra aggressive which implies locations are stuffed up faster and due to this fact there are barely much less in clearing and the aggressive stuff that’s in clearing is more likely to go quicker,” she stated.
The elevated competitors is because of an increase within the inhabitants of 18-year-olds, she stated, in addition to the inflow of worldwide college students who’re additionally vying for locations within the UK’s prime establishments.
Some prime universities had only a handful of programs obtainable by means of clearing – which matches candidates to college locations but to be stuffed – within the week earlier than A-level outcomes day, whereas others don’t have any vacancies listed.
A PA information company pattern of 130 of the UK’s largest greater training suppliers confirmed greater than 22,000 programs with vacancies for undergraduate college students residing in England had been obtainable on the Ucas clearing web site as of Wednesday.
Fifteen of the 24 elite Russell Group universities had vacancies on programs for English residents – a complete of two,021 programs between them.
The same evaluation final 12 months, within the week earlier than A-level outcomes day, confirmed 17 of the 24 Russell Group universities had vacancies on programs for English residents – a complete of two,358 programs between them – on the clearing web site.
College Faculty London (UCL) doesn’t at the moment have any vacancies in clearing “because of excessive demand for locations”, however it’s being stored “beneath assessment”.
A UCL spokesman stated: “Ought to vacancies develop into obtainable they are going to be marketed from 8am on August 17.”
The College of Manchester, which at the moment has no programs on Ucas’ clearing web site, stated it has not but decided whether or not it can supply clearing vacancies to college students this 12 months.
A spokesman for the college stated: “If we do go into clearing, it’s more likely to be for a restricted variety of locations on a small variety of programmes.”
Some universities had just a few programs listed on Ucas’ clearing web site, with simply two on the College of Exeter and 4 at St George’s, College of London.
Ms Marchant stated: “In the case of outcomes day on August 17, I feel a whole lot of these extremely selective programs at extremely selective establishments will go fairly shortly.
“So actually my recommendation to college students, our recommendation at Ucas, is to be fairly fast off the mark if that’s what you’re searching for.”
Eight days forward of examination outcomes day, there have been a complete of twenty-two,410 programs by means of clearing throughout 130 universities, the PA evaluation confirmed.
The same evaluation by PA final 12 months – carried out six days earlier than A-level outcomes day – confirmed there have been a complete of 23,280 programs by means of clearing.
The College of Liverpool, which at the moment has no programs listed on Ucas’ clearing web site, stated it expects to supply vacancies to a “small variety of high-quality candidates” in clearing.
However the college spokesman added: “We’re unable to be extra particular at this stage till outcomes day after we will know precisely which programs might need areas obtainable.”
The Covid impact
In England, this 12 months’s nationwide A-level outcomes can be decrease than final 12 months however they’re anticipated to be just like these earlier than the pandemic.
It comes after Covid-19 led to a rise in prime A-level grades in 2020 and 2021, with outcomes based mostly on trainer assessments as a substitute of exams.
The cohort of scholars who’re at the moment awaiting their A-level outcomes didn’t take GCSE exams and had been awarded outcomes decided by their academics.
Ms Marchant stated there is perhaps a “slight improve” in appeals from college students this 12 months who might have anticipated to safe greater grades however she didn’t imagine it could be important.
She added that Ucas has elevated the quantity of social media help provided to college students forward of outcomes day in a bid to “handle expectations”.
“Lots of people I discuss to, it appears like Covid-19 was a protracted, very long time in the past. That is nonetheless the tail of Covid often because these college students haven’t sat exterior exams earlier than and I feel that we must be very cognisant of that in kind of ensuring now we have actually good help,” Ms Marchant stated.
Earlier this week, a social mobility professional instructed that college students ready for his or her A-level outcomes are “the unluckiest” to come back out of the pandemic as they face fewer prime grades regardless of disruption to education.
Lee Elliot Main, professor of social mobility on the College of Exeter, stated this 12 months’s A-level cohort want help and steering as they are going to be experiencing “the very best ranges of tension and uncertainty”.
A spokesman for the Russell Group stated: “The affirmation from Ofqual that grade distributions will return to 2019 ranges has given universities extra confidence in making affords in comparison with final 12 months, which can imply universities have much less flexibility to supply programs in clearing in some topics.
“Nonetheless, most Russell Group universities have programs obtainable in clearing this 12 months, throughout a variety of topics, as they’ve accomplished in previous years and extra programs will develop into obtainable after outcomes day.”