Prospective university students lack back-up plan

Published on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:18
Written by Govtoday staff

With just over a week until A-level results day, Which? University reveals that many students haven't planned what they will do if they don't get the grades they need for university, despite only half feeling confident they'll get into their first choice.

New research from Which? University finds that more than half (54%) of students with a conditional offer aren't prepared for the eventuality that they won't get their first or second choice university.

Only half (48%) are confident they'll get the grades they need for their first choice, but three in ten (28%) admit they haven't thought about what they'll do if they don't get into it, and seven in ten (70%) haven't researched what the process is for clearing.

Eight in 10 (82%) students surveyed have a second, insurance choice as a back-up, but two in five (40%) said they don't actually want to go there and a quarter (23%) have an insurance option with the same or higher entry requirements as their first choice. This means they run the risk of having to go through clearing if they don't get the grades.

Around one in 10 students go through clearing every year, but knowledge of the clearing process among current prospective students is low. More than half (54%) wrongly think that if they don't get the grades for their first choice, but do get into their insurance choice, they can still also apply for an alternative course in Clearing. A further 22% said they didn't know.

Which? University has free information to help students prepare for this stressful time, with advice and student views on a range of topics including the clearing and adjustment processes, budgeting at university, and what to expect in the first term.

The Which? University guide to Clearing 2014 can be found here.

Sonia Sodha, from Which? University, said: "As A-level results day approaches, it's an understandably stressful and nerve-wracking time for prospective students, especially those who aren't confident they'll get into their first choice university. Hopefully they won't need a back-up plan, but we advise they research all their options just in case.

"There's a wealth of free information on Which? University including advice about going through clearing and views from students who have gone through the process."

The research also found that a quarter (24%) of applicants with a conditional firm offer don't know that if you do better in your exams you can swap your first choice for a place with higher entry requirements, which is possible through Adjustment.

Which? University is a free and independent website to help students make more informed decisions about higher education, featuring information on more than 30,000 courses and around 300 universities and colleges to search and compare.

Source: Which?

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