UCAS Webinar: 2018 Clearing


12 Jul 2018

UCAS Webinar: 2018 Clearing

The Penna Education Team recently sat in on the UCAS Clearing Seminar and we have put together a summary of the session. We’ve split it into three topics; the 2018 Clearing forecast, Influencing factors and Clearing behaviour.

2018 Clearing forecast

  • 5% fall in 2017 applicants. This is in part is due to a 2.5% fall in 18 year olds in the UK population.
  • We have seen significant growth in International (11%) and EU (3%) applications.
  • There has been a significant shift to combined courses (15% increase) due to students not wanting to narrow future career options at such an early stage in their education process.
  • 91% of all applicants are receiving an offer (the highest on record).
  • 60% of applicants have a conditional firm (the lowest on record). Applicants are becoming savvier, realising their value in the market grows later in the process.
  • 134,000 applicants have already been placed (22% of applicants), which is the highest on record, resulting from a rise in unconditional offers being made.


Influencing Factors

  • Fall in BTECs- this is having a significant impact on low tariff universities that have a smaller pool to select from.
  • Apprenticeship popularity- there is growing competition in the form of apprenticeships; 80,000 of the 670,000 applicants are known to be considering some form of apprenticeship.
  • Unconditional offer making- 58% of unconditional offers were firmed in 2017. We are also seeing an increase in unconditional insurance choices.
  • Incentivising action- Universities offering lower entry levels were an incentive for 60% of applicants, and 50% of applicants stated that conditional offers being changed into unconditional offers attracting them to a university.


Clearing Behaviour

  • The Clearing period is more competitive than ever, with higher tariff universities starting to focus more of their recruitment strategies on the Clearing period.
  • We are seeing more people applying directly to clearing (increase of 14%). These applicants are hard to reach as they may not be visible before the Clearing process.  60% of these direct applicants are living within 45 minutes of the universities they are applying for through Clearing; putting greater influence on local marketing campaigns.
  • The clearing process is getting faster each year with most applicants being placed on day one. However, applicants are being placed later with nearly 30% of applicants placed after week 4, creating a longer tail in the Clearing process. There is a need to stay more active as a university throughout the process for a longer period of time. 


Andy Collins, Client Partner and Cultural Correspondent