TEENAGERS who fall just short of their predicted A-level grades next week are set to face a scramble for the last top university places.
Many leading universities have already declared they are full, and will not be entering clearing this summer, while others expect to have just a handful of places available, a new survey suggests.
But changes to admissions means students who get higher than predicted grades, and score at least two As and a B, may find they have more choice.
There is now no limit on the numbers of AAB students universities can recruit, allowing them potentially to offer last-minute places to youngsters who do better than expected.
It means universities are likely to have less flexibility to admit students who just miss this standard, as there is still a strict cap on those who score less than AAB. New figures show that a number of the leading Russell Group universities have no free places and will not be entering clearing again this year.
Clearing is the process that matches students who have not received offers, or who have been turned down by their original choices because they failed to meet the required grades, with available courses. Oxford, Bristol, University College London (UCL), Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Birmingham and King’s College London, will not be entering clearing again this year.
However Russell Group universities Sheffield and York will be entering the system.
Sheffield Hallam will also be in clearing and expects to have “a few hundred” places available, similar to 2010. Last year there were just 30 places.
Deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Cliff Allan, said: “We have received approximately 41,780 applications for university places by the June 2012 UCAS deadline. This figure is roughly in line with 2010 and is very encouraging.
“Last year was an exceptional year for applications with students looking to secure a place before the changes to the fee regime, therefore to make comparisons with 2011 alone would be misleading.”