Half of A-level students not confident how to gain a place through #clearing, reveals new survey

Every year tens of thousands of students go through the Clearing process to find a place at University, but a new survey*, commissioned by The Student Room and London South Bank University, has found that there is still widespread confusion among school leavers about how Clearing actually works and who can take advantage of the process.

Key findings of the research included:

  • Almost 50% of the 1,000 A-level students surveyed said they were not confident of the Clearing process or how to gain a place at university through Clearing, leaving them unprepared if they don’t get the grades they were predicted on results day.
  • There was also rife misunderstanding about who can benefit from Clearing, with nearly 90% unaware that you can enter Clearing and apply to a different university if you get better grades than predicted.
  • Changes to the application process for 2012 weren’t filtering through to A-level students either, with just 3% aware that universities can accept an unlimited number of students with A-level grades of AAB or higher.
  • Over one in ten students (12%) believe that they should only start planning for Clearing on results day, putting them at a distinct disadvantage to their peers who have started looking into the process early.
  • 60% of students would seek advice from their parents about clearing and their university choices, showing the need for parents to be well-informed about the Clearing process too.
  • Almost a third of students said they would use social media as a source of Clearing advice.

To combat the confusion, London South Bank University and The Student Room have teamed up to create ‘The C Word’ – a series of short but informative video guides that include student vox pops and advice from clearing experts at The Student Room and LSBU, that address the common questions and concerns about Clearing in an accessible and reassuring way.

Jamie O’Connell, Marketing Director at The Student Room, said:

“We can see from this research and the discussions on The Student Room website that clearing baffles many prospective university students. It’s vitally important that students are aware that clearing is not the end of the world and that with a bit of forward planning they can make the right decisions about their future, no matter what happens on results day.

Working with a university to produce these quick and easy video guides has enabled us to continue to provide the best support for students looking to go to uni this year, whether they get into their first choice, insurance choice or through adjustment and clearing.”

Lynn Grimes, Director of Marketing and UK Student Recruitment at London South Bank University, says:

“Clearing can be a very nerve-wracking process, and the myths and confusion that surround it only add to this anxiety. That’s why our experts and The Student Room clearing team have worked together, to create these bite sized online guides to make sure students are well- equipped for the possibility of Clearing when they open their results.”

The guides are available to watch online at The Student Room’s www.thestudentroom.co.uk/clearinghelp or via the clearing pages of LSBU’s website here: www.lsbu.ac.uk/clearing. Students can share the content with their peers, and are also able to use The Student Room’s forums to ask for advice and help them with their decision-making about university.

*This survey was carried out by Opinion Matters between 29 June 2012 and 11 July 2002, with a sample of 1,004 A-level students who are planning on going to University.