News summary

Principals from 5 CIFE colleges report their impressions of how flexible universities have been in making and confirming offers during UCAS Clearing 2018

In detail

CIFE colleges, which specialise in courses preparing students for university entrance, including a wide range of one-year resit A-level courses, comment as follows about the impact of UCAS Clearing in 2018.

These comments are based on the results of hundreds of interviews conducted in the past two weeks with students attempting to gain university places through Clearing.

Although Clearing was a profitable place for many students this year, it did not seem to be for those who narrowly missed their grades at the top end, since there was no leniency from their chosen university, indicating that the top courses – History, Law, Medicine etc. – continue to apply the same rules they always have.  This was not evident in media reports which understandably focussed on the unprecedented strength of the general buyers’ market for students. James Barton, Director of Recruitment, MPW College, London

We have attracted resit enquiries from students with very strong A-level grades, e.g. BBB.  These candidates have been offered courses at very highly-ranked institutions but not necessarily for the course nor institution for which they held a firm offer, typically requiring A*AA.  Rather than accept second best, these high-calibre candidates have the self-belief to invest in a retake year, even though the Clearing offer was notionally very good.  Their view is that these top universities are opening their doors wide almost too readily and devaluing the quality of the place. Fiona Pocock, Principal, Bosworth College, Northampton

We have noticed a distinct ‘fragmentation’ within Russell Group universities this year: some ‘sticking to their guns’ and not moving to take students with one or two grades below offer, whilst others have done so.  This fragmentation relates closely to degree subject. Mark Love, Principal, Oxford Tutorial College

Universities seemed to be dragging their feet in rejecting students this year before releasing them into Clearing. Craig Wilson, Principal, CATS College, Cambridge

Our experience this year accords with the general media coverage: more unconditional offers and, despite receiving high initial offers, students being accepted with much lower grades for the same courses. Chris Drew, Principal, Cambridge Tutors College, Croydon