Clearing in England: intense

Clearing in England: intense

Mark Corver finds an intense first week of Clearing in England using a new statistic.
The late August bank holiday is typically when HE admission staff have their first real rest since they got the exam results from UCAS two weeks earlier. We expect many are feeling pretty tired. Clearing in England has been more intense than ever this year, though you need to look behind the headline data to see this.

Placed students from the main scheme (that is, those that applied before the June deadline) have been increasing each day, with around two thirds of that increase being students placed through ‘main scheme’ Clearing. UCAS’ data on Friday 24 August (relating to those placed up to midnight on Thursday) showed 31,400 English main scheme applicants placed through clearing, actually a touch down on the 31,450 placed in 2017 by this point.

Does this mean Clearing is becoming more relaxed? We don’t think so. The key to measuring how keenly universities are recruiting through Clearing is to look at the numbers as a proportion of how many are available to be placed through Clearing, a clearing ‘intensity’ measure. We’ve looked at this each day during Clearing and plotted the results in the graph (the intensity of each day is indexed to the 2010-2017 average to allow an easier comparison day to day).

The data shows that Clearing for English students in 2018 has been the most intense year to date on every day except for Thursday last week. Averaging all the days to date (weighted by Clearing recruitment, below) this Clearing is the most intense ever on this measure.

With high acceptance rates on results day, and record intensity in recruitment afterwards, many admissions staff at many universities in England will have been particularly glad of the mid-Clearing break this year. Many we’ve spoken to have been tired but pleased, with careful planning and analysis of the market helping them get to the numbers they were looking for. Clearing still has some time to run this year, but many will now be thinking ahead to the next year. Which is likely to be more intense again.