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Clearing 2012: All cleared-up?

13 August 2012

As thousands of A-level students anxiously await their results the University’s Head of Undergraduate Recruitment, Dave Roylance answers Blas’ questions on this year’s Clearing activities.


Are there still places available at Cardiff University? Yes. As in previous years Cardiff University is entering Clearing to recruit additional high calibre students. This is excellent news for well-qualified students seeking a university place for this autumn.

How many clearing places are available? We are collating this information now and vacancies will be advertised on our website at from late afternoon on Wednesday 15th August.

Will there be more vacancies than last year? Yes. The University has around 300 more undergraduate places to fill this year compared to last year. In addition, we have 300 fewer students deferring from last year. It was less attractive for students to defer last year than is normally the case because those who did now face higher tuition fees. These factors allied with a more challenging recruitment environment mean there will be more places available this year.    

Does this mean that the University has struggled to fill its places this year? In a nutshell, no but it is has certainly been tougher and for some academic schools there will be a greater reliance on clearing this year than is the norm. The advent of higher tuition fees and the AAB+ student number controls in England means there is increasingly fierce competition for the most able students. These factors together with the University having more places and fewer deferred students present a challenge.

However, it is encouraging that there continues to be strong interest in Cardiff University. The University has received more than 30,000 UCAS applications this year and we have out-performed our key competitors, including most of the Russell Group, in terms of the percentage change in applications received this year. Cardiff continues to be a popular choice.

How has Cardiff responded to the increased competition? We anticipated last summer that we faced an increasingly challenging recruitment environment following the introduction of higher fees and the lifting of the AAB "quality cap" in England. As a result we increased significantly our schools and colleges liaison work and opportunities for potential students and their advisors to visit the University. 

The Thrive marketing campaign was also introduced to encourage greater numbers of able and motivated students to make Cardiff their first choice university. A steering group headed by Professor George Boyne, Dean of the Business School, was established to coordinate this important work and huge efforts have been made by staff both in academic schools and the directorates to respond to the external challenges. 

I’ve received an enquiry about Clearing, where should I direct them? Calls can be directed to the Clearing Enquiry Centre on: Tel 029 2087 6000 or to the dedicated Clearing pages on the University’s website.

What are the opening times for the Clearing Enquiry Centre? We are expecting a higher volume of calls this year and the number of staff handling inbound calls to the University will be more than doubled to 30. Our Enquiry Centre will also be open for longer hours. Special thanks must go to all those staff involved in recruitment and admissions who face a busy week.  The opening hours of the Clearing Enquiry Centre are:

Thursday 16th August: 7.00am - 8.00pm

Friday 17th August: 8.00am - 8.00pm

Saturday 18th August: 10.00am - 2.00pm

Sunday 19th August: 10.00am - 2.00pm

What can academic schools do to maximise their chances of recruiting good students in clearing? It sounds simple but making sure telephone enquiries are answered as quickly as possible. Students will be anxious to secure a place as soon as possible. They will phone around the universities until they can secure a suitable vacancy. If they can’t get through to Cardiff University we will lose them to another university.

It is really important that academic schools put in place measures to answer as many calls as possible to maximise their recruitment opportunities. Some schools are bringing together key staff in a single location to aid fast decision making and speed of response to enquirers. They are establishing telephone "hunt groups" to reduce the chance of callers receiving an engaged tone. They are deploying more staff and training them appropriately. Many staff have attended centrally run training sessions and further advice is available from student recruitment and registry teams.

And after clearing? We are already working hard on the 2013 THRIVE recruitment campaign. We are working on direct mail initiatives, upgrading the website, and working with academic schools to develop new marketing brochures. We are also making preparations for the 14th September Visit Day for which we already have more than 2000 bookings. There is no let up...