Robert McGowan, director of admissions and recruitment at Coventry University Clearing, says this reflects the changing profile of students looking to enter university. “What they’re asking for and demanding around flexibility and multiple intakes is very different from that traditional model, which is an undergraduate degree starting in September,” he says.
“Universities really need to respond to a changing student, and exactly what the requirements and needs are of different groups. I think that will be one of the most significant things that changes over the next few years.”
Coventr offers multiple start times across the year through its CU Coventry spin-off, and Davies says he has seen growing demand for these. He has also seen a growth in the number of students applying to the university direct, rather than through Ucas.
At London Metropolitan University, 65% of acceptances are from students who waited until the summer to apply. “Clearing is a defunct term because it focuses on people who have missed their grades,” says Gary Davies, its pro vice-chancellor for student recruitment.
“I don’t think the system is particularly good for students. We force specialism in our education system much earlier than in other countries and we also ask them to make a choice of uni 18 months before – that’s a long time for a 16- to 17-year-old in terms of their taste.”