Clearing 2019: Why It Isn’t the Be-All and End-All of Getting into University
Ahh, do you hear that? That’s right. It’s the sound of sweaty palms, pounding hearts and shattered dreams as it sinks in for many young people around the country that their A-level grades won’t cut it. It’s Clearing time. However, it’s not just the pimply and the fresh-faced who are dreading Clearing. Mature students returning to education are also dragging their heels on the process – but that’s only because they don’t yet know of the alternatives!
Mature students don’t always have it easy; at least not to begin with. The challenges faced by many often go unacknowledged by society, their family members and very often universities and their unbending admissions procedures. Unlike the aforementioned fresh-faced, naively optimistic youth, by the time mature students decide to take the university plunge, life has probably added a few extra hoops for them to jump through before they can officially enrol. Amongst other stressors, the universally dreaded Clearing process can often magnify their existing difficulties.
What Are Mature Students?
UCAS defines mature students as ‘anyone over the age of 21 who didn’t go to university after school or college’ for reasons that vary from person to person. For some, their education hiatus may have been a result of their yearning to explore the great abroad, while for others, it may have been volunteering for a noble cause during their gap year. However, for countless mature students out there, their decision to discontinue their studies was motivated by anything from the pressure to enter full-time employment quickly and taking care of their families to little support, poor educational experiences and the subsequent waning of self-confidence.
The Challenges of Returning
Despite how exciting the idea of university is to many, the decision to start studying again isn’t always an easy one. For many who return after a considerable length of time, their lives look drastically different to those who are entering university at a young age. Things like children, spouses, long-term careers, financial commitments as well as their age can often seem like insurmountable barriers to not just navigating the often-tricky admissions process but also excelling post enrollment.
Internet forums such as The Student Room, Quora and Reddit are filled with questions by people on the brink of deciding to return to university who, while excited by the prospect, voice concerns about whether a degree is a feasible goal for them. One Reddit user ‘Madyakker’, who eventually took the plunge, expressed how they worried about how they were ‘going to cope with the work as [they] they’d not been in a classroom for 18 years’.
These are just some of the reservations mature students experience, which can often be made harder by university admissions procedures and UCAS’s annual Clearing. Given that, a lot of the time, returning students apply to university independently, they often find themselves missing out on the type of support that school-leaving applicants receive from their sixth forms or colleges.
The Problem with Clearing as a Mature Student
The UCAS Clearing system is often seen as the thing everyone hopes they won’t have to go through and yet as many as 60,100 people got into university through Clearing last year. Though these numbers are great news for the people who got their places despite some odds, the picture can often look somewhat different for older people. For many, such as ‘returnmigrant’, a member of The Student Room’s Mature forum, the Clearing process is a ‘mad scramble for the courses no-one else wanted […] and without recent study, you’ll just get endless knockbacks’. This view is supported by others who call Clearing a ‘horrible process’ for which the ‘universities are […] not well equipped enough to deal with’.
While websites crashing due to high traffic and university phone lines being perpetually jammed as your life seems to hinge on a single moment don’t sound like much fun at all, this experience is made worse for mature students who don’t receive anything like the level of support school leavers do at the application stage. Things like personal statements, navigating the UCAS website and understanding what universities need from them are something mature students have to figure out and deal with on their own, very often alongside their other responsibilities and sometimes lack of familial support.
They do the above, all the while unaware that there is an easier and significantly less stressful way of securing their place at university. There are numerous education providers that offer a wide range of courses whilst also committing to providing students with all the help and support they need, thus removing a lot of the pressure that everyone believes to be a hallmark of the university admission process.
Below, we list some higher education providers and the various services they offer to help you enrol as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Online Business School
Whatever your career or personal goals, Online Business School’s learning pathways can help you achieve them. Offering a wide spectrum of courses at various levels, Online Business School also subscribes to the no-nonsense approach to enrolment.
The application process is almost completely online-based and only requires you to provide some details before a representative gets in touch to talk you through every aspect. Should you require help at any stage of the application process, Online Business School also prides itself on being easily contactable and responsive.
To view Online Business School’s courses, click here.
QA is an education provider offering a wide range of courses through its partnership with Middlesex University, Northumbria University, Ulster University, University of Roehampton and Solent University.
QA prides itself on the lengths to which it goes in ensuring every potential student has an easy and supportive experience when going through the admissions process. From helping students identify the right course and talking them through what they can expect, to providing help filling out applications and completing personal statements; QA will be there at every stage and you’ll feel like it’s where you belong.
QA also recently launched the UK’s first ‘clearing line’ for people seeking apprenticeships where they continue to support people in securing their future and their career prospects.
Click links below to see what courses are on offer:
University of Essex Online
University of Essex Online provides flexible and cost-effective way of getting your degree and fulfilling your career goals. Its emphasis on online-based, flexible learning allows you the chance to study on your own terms and according to the demands of your other responsibilities.
When applying, the university will assign you an adviser from its admissions team who will then be the only member of staff you’ll have to communicate with during the course of your admission process. This means you’ll never have to explain your circumstances or needs more than once and to various individuals.
Essex University aims to provide you with a tailored, personalised and stress-free experience to get you enrolled as swiftly as possible. For this reason, you won’t be asked to submit your application via a third party and your adviser will be at hand and happy to guide you through every stage of the enrolment journey.
Check out their courses here.
As you can see, UCAS Clearing isn’t the be-all and end-all of last-minute university admissions. The above providers all believe in doing away with the stress and uncertainty that typically define the university application process and can help you secure your place today. This is a welcome surprise to returning students who are often tackling a number of other responsibilities and otherwise dread jumping through university admissions hoops.
However, should you find that your existing qualifications aren’t enough to get you a place at university, head over to our site and check out some of our foundation courses to help you get there as fast as possible!