University Clearing: let’s remove the stigma and rebrand

Writing in the Guardian, the University of Bedford’s vice chancellor Bill Rammell asks if it’s time to shake up the process and make it less intimidating and more meaningful to students.

…More courses and places are now on offer during Clearing than ever before – not just the leftovers – and students are savvy to the shift. They know they can make choices and changes much later. Many students are ignoring the January application deadline altogether, preferring instead to exercise the greater flexibility that Clearing offers them, well aware they will be the ones in the driving seat…

Clearing is no longer the higher education equivalent of the bargain basement. As the stigma of Clearing fades, should it not be rebranded? Is now the time to look again at the issue of when we ask school students to make their university and course choices? If they can change their minds completely once they receive their A-level results and Clearing opens in August, what is the point in forcing them into a choice back in January? Perhaps we should revisit the Schwartz report and go for fully fledged post-qualification applications?

But we also need to communicate to students that Clearing is much more than an easy or last-minute way of securing a university place. Whether they apply in January or in August, the proper research and consideration still needs to be done, and while the very concept empowers the student, making an informed decision will further serve to do so.

By rebranding the changing recruitment cycle, supporting and encouraging the message of student empowerment and choice, championing a diverse student and graduate body, providing disadvantaged students with financial support through bursaries, scholarships and paid internships and treating students as partners in our educational community, we can enhance the experience of all our students and help them to meet their aspirations…

More at: University Clearing: let’s remove the stigma and rebrand


I have already suggested on this site that Clearing appears to be turning into post-qualification application by stealth so it is interesting to hear Bill Rammell echo similar sentiments.

He is arguing for it to be re-branded but should we go further and expand the clearing process so all students choose their courses after they’ve got their results? 

I know there would be some practical issues, but it seems to have numerous benefits over trying to do it mid A-level as is done at the moment.

What do you think?


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