Limited 'clearing' places for students awaiting results

A recruitment agency gives advice for students who may gain a university place through the "clearing" system

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Exam candidates hoping to secure late places at university after receiving their results on Thursday, have only limited chance of success.

Admissions officers in Scotland say they have few or no spaces for "clearing", the official system which matches students with remaining places.

However, institutions have indicated that the situation is fluid.

Places may become available if applicants with conditional offers, fail to secure the right exam grades.

The clearing system is run by Ucas, the UK-wide university admissions service.

Universities Scotland, which represents the country's higher education institutions, said students should not be worried ahead of getting their results, as the vast majority of well-qualified applicants would get a place at university.

Figures show the rate of growth in applicants has slowed this year after a few years of sustained increasing pressure.

Scottish universities received 43,437 applications in 2011, compared with 43,234 last year.

In 2010 a total of 32,248 pupils gained university places.

On SQA results day applicants are advised to stay in direct touch with the colleges or universities they are keen on.

Occasionally some will accept a candidate with a conditional offer who has narrowly missed out on the required SQA exam grades.

Applications surge

A spokesman for Glasgow Caledonian University said: "Like other universities, we are at an early stage in our admissions cycle and we will be monitoring our position following the publication of exam results. At this point we do not expect to go into clearing. We did not recruit in clearing last year."

Dundee does not currently have spaces for the official clearing system.

For some years St Andrews and Edinburgh have offered no places in the clearing system.

Last year Glasgow admitted 56 students through clearing - around 1% of its intake. But this year it expects to have far less, and probably only at its Dumfries campus.

As last year, Strathclyde is unlikely to be in the clearing system.

Stirling and Robert Gordon universities do not anticipate going into the clearing system.

Edinburgh Napier University said: "We expect to have about 50 places available through clearing come 4 August.

"It will naturally depend on exam results, but we'd expect a handful of places to be available across Computing and some of our Creative Industries courses (Communications & Public Relations, Acting for Stage & Screen, etc), and possibly a small number in Law."

Reserve list

Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh says it has spaces in Human Biology, Applied Pharmacology, Nutrition, Podiatry, and Hospitality Management but less than 10 spaces in each department.

The University of the Highlands and Islands says despite a surge in applications this year 94 of its 120 courses are not completely full. Some are degree courses and some are for Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas - roughly equivalent to first and second year degree courses.

The Scottish Agricultural College has a few places left on almost half of its 71 courses.

Edinburgh College of Art says it is full and has a reserve list if any applicants drop out. The Royal Academy of Scottish Music and Drama has no spare places.

Abertay expects to have room in some courses but less than in previous years.

This time last year spare places were largely confined to the University of the Highlands and Islands, the Scottish Agricultural College, University of the West of Scotland in Paisley and Abertay in Dundee.

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