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Clearing: significant gender gap in expectations

Research by London South Bank University has revealed that male students are far more confident of meeting their expected A-level grades than females
11 August 2015

82% of male students did not anticipate going through Clearing, compared to 61% of females, according to a survey commissioned by London South Bank University (LSBU).

The survey, conducted by leading market research specialists Youthsight, asked previous Clearing entrants currently studying at UK universities questions about their experience of the Clearing process.

The survey revealed that male students are considerably more confident than female students of securing the grades they need for university. This indicates a potential gap between perception and reality. Data from the Joint Council for Qualifications in 2014 found that females outperformed males in their A-level results, with 54% achieving A* to B grades compared to 50% of males.

Other key findings include:

  • Overall, 69% of students who went through Clearing did not expect to go through the Clearing process
  • Only 9% of students felt they had been given adequate information and advice on Clearing prior to getting their results
  • Over 60% of students felt they were left unprepared when they did not get their expected grades at A-level
  • Students act quickly upon receiving their results, with 57% contacting a university within two hours of receiving their A-level results

Professor Shân Wareing, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience at LSBU, said: “The survey results indicate that a significant number of students were surprised to find themselves in Clearing.  Because things don’t always go to plan at this very important transition in students’ lives, it is important for everyone waiting for their A-level results to consider their options in case they do need to go down the Clearing route.

“Universities such as LSBU work hard to make the Clearing process as smooth as possible. From A-level results day we will have 130 trained staff available to guide applicants through their Clearing application.”

Eleanor Unsworth is studying Children's Nursing at LSBU and was surprised how easy and simple it was to secure her university place through Clearing. Eleanor said: "I was concerned about going through the Clearing process, but it was a lot simpler than I thought.

“When I opened my results I didn’t know what to do. After calming myself I got on the phone to my university and had secured a spot within a couple of hours. I haven’t looked back since.”

Clearing is the process that gives students a final chance to apply for a university course beginning that September. Many students who do not receive an offer of a university place can use the process to get on to a course. Universities receive the vast majority of Clearing enquiries on A-level results day, which this year is Thursday 13 August.