What you need to know about 2023 University admissions, UCAS clearing and university career options

Welcome to our feature highlighting what you need to know about

  • UCAS clearing 2022 and
  • 2022 University admissions ,
  • University career options

University clearing 2022

What was the UK Government intending to happen to University clearing 2022?

Well universities were expected to adjust accordingly to the 2022 change in A-Level results. We detial the effectc below.
For many unlucky srudents, this meant they had to resort to their back-up Plan B. Either to go to another university and / or degree course through clearing.

2022 University admissions

  • A-level pupils are less likely to get into top universities through clearing. There was both a:
    • Surge in demand for University places. See reasons below.
    • Restriction of places offered. See reasons below.
  • Over 20,000 A-level student results meant they had missed out on their university offer with insufficient A-Level grades. This was 46% higher than 2021’s Clearing numbers. And this was despite the actual number of available clearing places (approx. 27,000) remaining the same.
  • The 2022 results were for the first sitdown exams in two years. The Government had made clear that 2020 and 2021’s widespread grade inflation due to internal A-Level grade assessment, was being addressed in the allocaiton of 2022 A-Level grades.

2022 Clearing differences for top universities (Russell Group and Oxbridge places)

Education experts said that top universities had sought to be more cautious with offers and clearing slots this year after a bumper year in 2021.

In 2022 UCAS Clearing:

  • There were more mature students applying for University places. Most probably because of taking a new career direction requiring further education. A lot of people switched out of unhappy or underpaid professions during the 2020 and 2021 Covid pandemics.
  • Universities were courting the much higher fee paying overseas students this year.
  • The % of 18-year-olds went up around 3%.
  • The Russell Group universities were overwhelmed with applicants. So in 2022, there remained those students who:
    • Got good A-Level grades during Covid and
    • Then postponed their university entry in order to have a more normal university education.
  • To counteract the above effect, the Russell Group universities held back with their 2022 offers and clearing places. This was their attempt to rectify the imbalance of the 2021 Covid year’s ‘lower than normal’ admissions.


What about my university career plans?

In fact, University career options 2022 differ from one university to another. For example, the admission test syllabus and rules in Cambridge will be different from the ones at Oxford. One will have to register for the UCAS application process, where the deadlines will be different. As per the UK time, the deadline for the UCAS application is by 15th October, 18:00.

School Entrance Tests’ clearing updates August 2022

The ‘vast majority’ of students should get their first-choice university course this summer, say Universities UK, which is seeking to reassure teenagers ahead of A-level results

So, on A-levels results day,

When does Ucas Track update?

For any reader who doesn’t already know, Ucas Track:

– is the online service simply tells you whether your specific university applications have been successful (although this can often give a strong indictation of your precise grades).
– usually opens between 8 -8.30 on A- level results day.

– Ucas Track doesn’t show you the exact A-Level grades you received, which students can only receive from their school or college.

Exploring university Career Options 2022 based upon degree courses

Here are the top sites for exploring University career options.

  • UCAS ‘What & Where’
  • FutureLearn ‘Exploring Your Options’
  • The UniGuide course-finder
  • Uni Direct
  • Informed Choices (What you can do with your A-Levels)


What you need to know about 2022 University Admissions 

UCAT tips and UCAT test practice, BMAT University entrance guides and TMUA University Admissions Guide.

Our recommended LNAT test practice and Law University Admissions LNAT.


COVID Uni admissions

Covid-19 disruptions resulted in the use of centre assessed grades (CAGs) in 2020 and teacher assessed grades (TAGs) 2021.



University admissions 2022’s regional differences in A-Level results

There are disparities in absence rates for the current GCSE exam cohort. Year 11 students in the northern regions missed around 15 per cent of school sessions compared with around 11 per cent in the South.

Some schools leaders have already said they will be wary of promoting their overall results too loudly, given the fact that every school will have experienced the pandemic differently.


The 2022 University admissions disadvantage gap is increasing

Furthermore, although 2020 saw a “shrinkage” of the disadvantage gap when CAGs were used, last year, the gap widened again when TAGs were used.

The widening has been attributed to the fact that disadvantaged families were more likely to have faced difficulties when trying to learn from home during lockdown.

So, what can we expect this year? Unfortunately, more of the same.

Exam-year cohorts have experienced more disruption to their schooling with disadvantaged pupils have faced adversity for a longer period.

Online learning forms part of that disruption but data shows that disadvantaged pupils have also had higher levels of absence.

In May, data from FFT Education Datalab revealed that since the start of Year 11, pupils missed 11.1 per cent of sessions but it was disadvantaged pupils who were more likely to be absent.

Disadvantaged pupils missed 17.1 per cent of morning and afternoon registration sessions compared with 9.6 per cent of non-disadvantaged.

This equates to approximately 12 extra lost days across the whole year.

It’s a similar story when we look at persistent absence, with a shockingly high 9.9 per cent of disadvantaged pupils missing more school than they attended, compared with 3.7 per cent of their peers.


More Girls took more A-Level Stem subjects in 2022

There has been a continuous push for more girls to join their male counterparts in A-level Stem classrooms for some years now, and the success of this can be seen in the increased numbers of girls taking Stem subjects at A level.

However, analysis of the 2021 results reveals that although broadly looking at all Stem subjects, we seem to be reaching equal entry – with girls accounting for 50.3 per cent of entries in biology, chemistry and physics in 2021 – a closer look at the data tells us we still have some way to go before we can consider that gap to be entirely closed.

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) wrote about this gap in its blog on the topic last year, saying that despite girls outnumbering boys in biology, chemistry and physics since 2019, a “subject-by-subject approach reveals a very different picture”.

“Computing (15 per cent), physics (23 per cent) and further maths (29 per cent) have the lowest proportion of female students of all A-level subjects, with psychology (74 per cent) and biology (64 per cent) doing the heavy lifting in rebalancing the divide,” it says.


English literature A-Level and A-Level language A level numbers declined in 2022

Last year, we reported on the slow decline of entrants to English-based A-level subjects. It looks likely that the trend will continue for 2022.

There are several reasons for this: there is still a big push for Stem subjects and the perception that earnings are lower for those who study humanities remains. The “unpopular” new-style English GCSE is still in place and the same funding rules are in place that result in students being encouraged to do three, instead of four, A levels.

Although the news that several universities will be dropping their English degrees won’t have affected the subject choices for this year’s A-level students, it is an indicator that the study of English is losing popularity.


2022 Clearing Pressure for universities

As noted earlier, A-level students hoping to continue their studies at university this September could find themselves competing with more students than usual.

There has been concern that the combination of a record breaking number of applicants to university, plus the increased number of deferrals in 2021, might mean that competition for places, particularly for popular courses, is particularly fierce.

In The Sutton Trust report, it quoted data released by Ucas that showed not just a drop in the offer rate but that, in competitive subjects like medicine and dentistry, only 16 per cent of applicants received an offer this year compared with 20.4 per cent in 2021.

When it comes to finding a place through clearing, Hillman warns that students might need to be open minded when considering courses.