A levels: Only 1 in 10 parents understands clearing

Survey finds most parents lack confidence in advising children about the university clearing process

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Only one in 10 parents understands the university clearing process, which matches applicants to available places on A-level results day, a new survey has revealed.

Clearing is available to pupils who have made a Ucas undergraduate application and do not hold any offers from August 15 on A-level results day. It is used by candidates who have changed their mind about their place of study or course, last-minute applicants who have applied after 30 June, or applicants who haven’t met their offer.


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However, a survey by Leeds Beckett University of 2,000 parents of A-level students aged 16-18 found that nearly 9 in 10 – 88 per cent – of those surveyed did not know how the university clearing process works.

Furthermore, 86 per cent of parents were lacking in confidence about how to advise their child through the university clearing process, while half of parents felt unprepared in supporting their child through university clearing.

Tracey Lancaster, deputy vice chancellor at Leeds Beckett University, said: “A level results day is a huge milestone for students and their parents. As parents are much more invested in their children’s university education than ever before, emotions for everyone become heightened as we approach 15 August.”

“Eighty-eight per cent of parents acknowledged a lack of confidence in their ability to guide their child at this time. We are hoping we can help parents through this. With some preparation and research, parents can help make the clearing process a real opportunity for applicants.”

“There are plenty of practical things parents can do in advance of results day so they are able to support their child in making the best decision on the day.”

The survey also found that nervousness and anxiety were the top two emotions experienced by parents before A-level results day. Only 15 per cent of parents said they would feel confident to know where to look for guidance about university clearing on the day.

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