Record numbers snap up Clearing places


A record number of students have found degree courses through Clearing this year, figures show.

More than 15,000 applicants have taken up places at UK universities after going through the process, according to a Press Association analysis of Ucas figures.

This is up 2.4% on last year, and almost three times as many as had found places through Clearing 10 years ago.

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The figures come as a snapshot survey showed that tens of thousands of degree courses are still available - including at some of the UK's top universities - as institutions compete to snap up students yet to find a place.

Press Association analysis indicates that it is a buyers' market for would-be students, with courses including medicine among those showing availability on the Ucas website, a day after A-level results were published.

A combination of fewer overall university applications and acceptances, fuelled by a drop in the UK's 18-year-old population, along with fewer students free to enter Clearing suggests that this is a good year for students hoping to find places through the process.

In total, 15,160 students have found places through Clearing, up around 2.4% on 2017.

This is also nearly three times as many as had found places through Clearing in 2009, when 5,220 had been accepted through the process.

The figures includes students who had choices confirmed before Thursday, such as Scottish students and those who took other qualifications to A-levels.

Overall, around half of the total number placed through Clearing this year were accepted in the last 24 hours.

The increase in students placed through Clearing has been driven by a rise in those who are applying to university for the first time through the process, who did not go through the main application scheme earlier this year.

A breakdown shows that 4,210 students who went directly into Clearing this year have been placed, compared to 3,620 at this point last year.

And 10,950 applicants who went through the main application scheme have found places through Clearing, compared to 11,180 last year.

A Press Association's survey of Clearing shows that there has been very little drop in the numbers of courses with availability, compared to Wednesday - the day before A-level results were released.

In total, it shows that there are 25,444 undergraduate courses listed on the Ucas Clearing website for students in England, compared to 26,350 listed on Wednesday.

Some 134 out 148 institutions surveyed (91%) had at least one course listed.

Among Russell Group university alone, 18 out of the 24 institutions have at least one course showing on the website.

In total, there are 3,798 courses with availability at these universities.

At this point last year, there were 26,650 courses showing as having availability, including 4,448 at Russell Group institutions.

The Press Association's snapshot also shows that among the courses listed is a five-year medical degree at St George's, part of the University of London.

There are also places available at UK universities to study courses including law, languages, maths and engineering.

Mark Blakemore, head of student recruitment at St George's, University of London, said: "We do have a few places left for medicine, really single digits.

"We are currently taking interest for interviews which are running today and tomorrow."

He said that the university has not dropped its grade requirements for potential students, and it was receiving interest from students who had performed better than expected in their A-levels.

"Many students have exceeded the grades that they expected to get and it's on the back of that, that they are calling us," he said.

In total, 430,060 students - from the UK and overseas - have now had places confirmed, down 2% on the same point last year, the Ucas figures show.