What is Clearing and Why Should Indian Students be Interested in It?

Clearing in UK

‘’Hindu College sets its cut off at a skyrocketing high score of 99 percent for their Political Science Honours course’’ that was the headline of a widely circulated newspaper early last week. As a keen observer of education trends in India, I was intrigued by the reaction students had to the Delhi University (DU) cut-offs, as the announcement of the cut-off lists kicks off one of the biggest admission recruitment cycles, with approximately 3.50 lakh students applying for admissions for just over 60,000 seats. 

Ironically although DU is a much-coveted institution, par excellence within India it actually ranks between 601–800th on the QS World University Rankings 2019, and at 156th on the QS Asia University Rankings 2019. No matter, the race to admissions starts every summer with DU releasing its first cut-offs and anxious parents and students standing in long serpentine queues waiting outside various universities administrative blocks. Of course, all of the 56,000 seats at DU will soon be full, but it will surely leave a lot of aspiring and talented students disheartened, especially the ones in the 75-85 per cent aggregate bracket. 

Over in the UK, there is a similar situation with the release of A levels and International Baccalaureate results, with students anxious about their results day and awaiting a process called ‘clearing’ to kicks off. The similarity between the two systems of education is unbelievable. UK universities happily accept CBSE, ISC and local boards from India and even weigh-off English language or IELTS criteria if you have good grades in English. This makes the UK an excellent alternative for those who can afford it.

So, not scoring a 90% aggregate grade and being unable to get a place at DU is not the end of the road, there are a plethora of college options available for students if they are ready to step outside their comfort zone. The UK has been a top choice for students as they can apply for September 2019 entry, after results announcements in June as most UK universities accept late-cycle admissions via clearing, which starts in early July.

What makes undergraduate admission in the UK even more interesting is the availability of last moment scholarships and bursaries which can make the courses significantly more affordable (the University of Essex offers a GBP 4,000 scholarship in the clearing, the deadline for which is 19th July 2019)

What is Clearing and Why Should Indian Students be Interested in It? 

Clearing is how UK universities and colleges fill any places they still have on their courses. It’s an ideal way for you to find another course or apply after receiving your results. You find courses (with vacancies) that interest you, and contact universities or colleges directly, to see if they will offer you a place. In short, it’s the last chance for universities to fill their vacancies for the upcoming year, so somewhat similar to a DU final cut off list. Most British universities accept the Indian CBSE, ISC and state boards and universities do not charge an application fee (UCAS, however, charges a minimal application fee).

If you are already an applicant, clearing also gives you the opportunity to change your mind and secure a place at the university of your dreams if your grades turn out better than you expected. Clearing officially opens on 5 July 2019 and is available to all students (UK, EU and international students). You can make a Clearing application once you have received all of your results and you don’t need to have a UCAS application to use it. Universities will publish their vacancies on their websites and you can use UCAS.com to help you find places you might be interested in. Once you’ve found a course you want to apply for you’ll need to get in touch with the university to make an application. In most cases, this will be online or over the phone. 

This year at Essex Business School, the largest department of the University of Essex, you can make a Clearing application to any of our undergraduate courses.  These include courses in international business and entrepreneurship, marketing, accounting, finance, and business management. The University of Essex was awarded the prestigious title of University of the Year 2018 by the Times Higher Education Awards and is Top 15 among mainstream English universities for overall student satisfaction.     

How Can You Apply Through Clearing?

If you’d like to apply through Clearing, you can apply using our webform which will be available once Clearing opens in July. Essex has a clearing hotline which opens in August and through this service, you’ll even be able to make applications over the phone. 

Make sure you have your grades to hand when you call. And if you’ve already made a UCAS application have your UCAS number ready too.

What Else to Expect? (Option of Being Offered a Different Course in Clearing)

This could be a possibility, and universities might not be able to offer you a place on the course you originally applied for, this is because the course might be full or you may not be eligible. However, the good news is that most universities should be able to offer you an alternative course.

Deadline for Clearing

There’s no specific closing date for Clearing as it depends on how many vacancies there are for the course, you’re interested in. As some courses can fill up in August, it’s best not to leave it too late, although we do still accept Clearing applications throughout September. 

Change to a Better University If You Have an Existing Offer 

If you’re reconsidering your options and you’re interested in studying at a better-ranked institution, you can get in touch with the university and find out if they’d be able to offer you a place on your chosen course. However, you won’t be able to add Essex as your Clearing choice through UCAS while you’re holding an offer at another university, but making this change is very straightforward.

Things to Keep in Mind While Applying Through Clearing

1. Do Your Research

You must do your research well before the whole process starts. The research includes your target university, courses, and whether the chosen universities have a clearing process. You can shortlist universities on the basis of your predictive score so that you can target the right universities. You should take external help for this process as timing is extremely essential in Clearing. We at Leverage Edu have many experts who can help you out choose your right fit.

2. Be Quick

You have to be fast as there are only a few seats that are left in each course. You should start early in July as admission is given on a first-come basis. That is they will give admission to an applicant meeting their criteria and will not wait for all the applications as Clearing has no deadline. You should act fast, target the right university, and should have all the documents ready.

3. Do not Panic

There may be a situation that you have two offers in hand and have to decide quickly as they give you only 24 hours to accept the offer. Do not make any haphazard decisions and always weigh the university and the course before accepting any offer. Do take external expert advice as a college is a big career decision to make.

So, don’t panic as every year thousands of applicants find the right university place for them through Clearing, you’re not alone.

Co-authored by: University of Essex

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