Sandeep Sharma, Director-Student Recruitment and Partnerships South Asia, University of Essex

“Hindu College sets its cut off at a skyrocketing high score, of 99 per cent for their Political Science Honours course’’ that was a recent headline of a widely circulated newspaper. As a keen observer of education trends in India, I was intrigued by the reaction students had to the Delhi University (DU) cut offs, as the announcements of the cut-off lists kick off one of the biggest  admission recruitment cycles, with approximately 3.50 lakh students applying for admissions for just over 60,000 seats.

Ironically although DU is a much-coveted institution, par excellence within India it actually ranks between 601–800th on the QS World University Rankings 2019, and at 156th on the QS Asia University Rankings 2019. Of course, all the 56,000 seats at DU will soon be full, but it will surely leave a lot of aspiring and talented students disheartened, especially the ones in the 75-85 per cent aggregate bracket.

Over in the UK, there is a similar situation with the release of A levels and International Baccalaureate results, with students anxious about their results day and awaiting a process called ‘Clearing’ to kick off. The similarity between the two systems of education is unbelievable. UK universities happily accept CBSE, ISC and local boards from India and even waive off English language or ILETS criteria if you have good grades in English. This makes UK an excellent alternative for those who can afford it.

So, not scoring a 90% aggregate grade and being unable to get a place at DU is not the end of the road, there are a plethora of college options available for students if they are ready to step outside their comfort zone. The UK has been a top choice for students as they can apply for September 2019 entry, after results announcements in June as most UK universities accept late cycle admissions via Clearing, which starts in early July and universities like Essex offers a GBP 4,000 scholarship in Clearing.

So, what is Clearing and why should Indian students be interested in it?

Clearing is how UK universities and colleges fill any places they still have on their courses. It’s an ideal way for you to find another course or apply after receiving your results. You find courses (with vacancies) that interest you, and contact universities or colleges directly, to see if they will offer you a place.

If you are already an applicant, Clearing also gives you the opportunity to change your mind and secure a place at the university of your dreams if your grades turn out better than you expected. Clearing officially opens on 5 July 2019 and is available to all students (UK, EU and international students). You can make a Clearing application once you have received all of your results and you don’t need to have a UCAS application to use it. Universities will publish their vacancies on their websites, and you can use to help you find places you might be interested in. Once you’ve found a course you want to apply for you’ll need to get in touch with the university to make an application. In most cases this will be online or over the phone.

How do I apply through Clearing?

If you’d like to apply through Clearing, you can apply using our webform which will be available once Clearing opens in July. Essex has a Clearing hotline which opens in August and through this service, you’ll even be able to make applications over the phone.

Make sure you have your grades to hand when you call. And \if you’ve already made a UCAS application have your UCAS number ready too.

What happens if I’m offered a different course in Clearing?

This could be a possibility as universities might not be able to offer you a place on the course you originally applied for. This is because the course might be full or you may not be eligible. However, the good news is that most universities should be able to offer you an alternative course.

When is the Clearing deadline?

There’s no specific closing date for Clearing as it depends on how many vacancies there are for the course you’re interested in. As some courses can fill up in August, it’s best not to leave it too late, although we do still accept Clearing applications throughout September.

Clearing allows you to change to a better university if you have an existing offer

If you’re reconsidering your options and you’re interested in studying at a better ranked institution, you can get in touch with the university and find out if they’d be able to offer you a place on your chosen course. You won’t be able to add Essex as your Clearing choice through UCAS while you’re holding an offer at another university, but making this change is very straightforward.

So, don’t panic as every year thousands of applicants find the right university place for them through Clearing, you’re not alone.

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