Ahead of A-level results day on 14 August, more than half of students (54 per cent) say they have not thought about what they will do if they fail to gain the marks needed for their first or second choice university, according to a poll by Which? University, the consumer group’s higher education website.
Seven in 10 students say they have not researched the process for clearing, which was used by 57,100 students to gain places in higher education last year, roughly one in nine of all full-time undergraduate entrants.
The survey, which polled 1,012 university applicants, also shows many students are highly focused on gaining entry into their first-choice university, giving little thought to their other options.
Forty per cent of students said they did not want to go to the university where they held their insurance offer.
About a quarter (23 per cent) said their insurance offer had the same or higher entry requirements as their first-choice offer, which may mean they have to enter clearing if they fail to gain their required grades next week.
Just over half of applicants (54 per cent) also wrongly think that if they do not get the grades for their first choice, but do get into their insurance choice, they can still also apply for an alternative course in clearing.
In fact, students must seek permission from their insurance choice to be released from their insurance offer and enter clearing.
Sonia Sodha, head of public services and consumer rights at Which?, said the survey shows the lack of knowledge about clearing.
“Hopefully they won’t need a back-up plan, but we advise they research all their options just in case,” she said.