Despite more than 41,000 university places being secured through clearing last year, research by Leeds Beckett University has found A level students have been left in the dark about clearing, and filled with misconceptions and unfounded fears about the process.
Over a quarter (28%) believe they must accept an offer before the end of results day, 79% think there is a limit on how many offers they can hold, and 39% aren’t aware that offers can be held so they will have to make an immediate decision. 17% believe that clearing closes at the end of results day, meaning they will only have a few hours to secure a place.
Current student Millie Heathcote, who has thrived since arriving at Leeds Beckett through clearing to study BA (Hons) Events Management, and has just secured a placement at Disney, discusses the fears she had held prior to the going through clearing and her lack of understanding of the system:
“I hadn’t planned for not getting the results I needed, so I was panicking – I’d heard horror stories of how stressful clearing could be.”
The study found that 49% of current A level students haven’t received any guidance about the clearing process by their school or college. Leeds Beckett University has identified the key clearing myths and offers expert advice on the type of guidance the clearing team is able to supply to students to help them through the process – from holding courses, to securing the best accommodation and arranging open day visits.
Stewart Harper, Associate Registrar at Leeds Beckett, said: “Our research has revealed a huge knowledge gap amongst prospective students. This is resulting in clearing myths, with students unduly worried about what the process will hold and finding themselves unprepared and unsure as to what to do on the day.
“Not only does this lack of knowledge add to students’ stress levels, some of these widely-held misconceptions can impact on students securing the right course – from those who make snap decisions and accept their first offer because they think they have to secure a place on results day or can’t hold offers, to those who lose out by leave the calling to their parents, unaware that other parties aren’t able to secure offers on their behalf.
“Once in the clearing process, students find that the reality is much less stressful and easier to navigate than they expected. With better information ahead of results day and a little forward planning, students will have the confidence to open their results without fear of what they may bring.”
Millie agrees: “When I was made an offer over the phone on results day itself it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders – I knew I didn’t have to make my decision straight away, but it was great to know I had a place again. The way it was handled just made it feel like the easiest thing.
“Once I’d secured my place, I was worried I might have missed out on the type of accommodation I wanted but and concerned that I hadn’t seen what the room would look like. The phone call to Leeds Beckett was very calming and useful and the Clearing Open Day was so helpful. I had a really nice day going to Headingley, looking at the library and facilities, and talking to a student from the same course about how much they were enjoying it.”
Here are the top myths currently held by prospective undergraduates: