Industry leaders in education have described this year’s university places as a ‘buyer’s market’ due to there being more university places available for UK students than students wanting them. This is putting students in a very powerful position, with those who didn’t receive the results they needed for their chosen universities able to still pick and choose between the courses still available.
A record number of students have found university places on their first day of clearing, and many universities are scrambling to find students to fill their open courses. In fact, some universities have been seen to be offering free flights, laptops, gym bonuses and cash sums in order to encourage students to choose them.
By midnight on results day, almost 12,000 students had managed to find a university place through clearing. This figure is double the total of five years ago. The process is still ongoing too, so the total number of applicants who have found a place through clearing could still increase.
Never Been a Better Time to Enter Clearing
According to the UCAS website, there has never been a better time to enter clearing, due to the fall in overall acceptances and fewer applications. With the fall in applications also comes many other benefits for students. Where accommodation is concerned, for example, new students can choose to stay in the halls, or look for something more high-end such as the properties provided by Almero Student Mansions. Located in a number of the best university towns, like Nottingham, Bristol and Durham, Almero Student Mansions are designed to enrich the experience and provide luxury accommodation to all students.
In addition to the above, students who gained the grades they needed for their course are also able to switch to a more prestigious university if they want to. Many have been doing this already and have traded in their place for a school at the top of the league tables. The University of Buckingham vice chancellor has warned against this, though, advising students to check out the courses on offer and the professors before making a switch based on status.
Government Cap Lifted
Of course, the current ‘buyers’ market’ could also be due to the government cap on the number of students per course being lifted, meaning universities are free to take on as many undergraduates as they would like. The Press Association states that there are 26,654 courses available for 2018 undergraduates from 148 UK universities.
Some critics have said that this has led to a poorer quality of course and a poorer student experience on top.
Clearing will remain open to students until the 2nd September, though it is expected that most students will find a place before then. The UCAS website provides a lot of information to students about their options, as well as the courses available to them. Students can also contact the Admissions Service and speak to the universities of their choice directly.