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Clearing 2022: Should you use an agent to study in the UK?

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Clearing is a useful option for students who are determined to get a placement in a UK university. Source: Christophe Archambault/AFP

UCAS Clearing opens tomorrow, and international students can use Clearing, just like home students. However, should you enlist the help of an education agent to help you obtain a place at a UK university?

If you’re unfamiliar with Clearing it is simply how universities and colleges fill up any vacancies they still have on any of their courses. UCAS notes that students can use Clearing if:

  • You’re applying for a course after June 30, 2022
  • Help you find courses you can enrol in if you did not meet the grades or requirements needed to get into your firm or insurance course choices
  • If you have not received a conditional offer — or none you wanted to accept — for any of the courses you’ve applied to through UCAS
  • You’ve paid the multiple-choice application fee of 26.50 pounds

Education agents can support students who are applying to study in the UK.

Consult an agent with UCAS Clearing

If you decide to enlist the help of an education agent for Clearing, you should ensure that they are officially registered as a UCAS registered centre. Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

Should you use an education agent?

First, it helps to understand that schools, colleges, advisers or agents can register with UCAS to become a centre.

There are a few things to consider if you choose to consult an education agent:

  • The agent you enlist the help of must be registered in the UCAS portal as a UCAS registered centre.
  • Ensure that the universities you apply to for Clearing must be an official partner of the agency. In other words, your agent must have a contract agreement with the university you apply to.
  • Securing a course placement at a university may be challenging if the university is not an official partner of the agency.

Opting to consult an agent to help you get a place at a UK university can be helpful, but it does not guarantee placement into a course.

It is important to note that there are limitations to what an agent can do with regard to your Clearing application, especially if the university you apply to is not an official partner with them. Here is a list of things an agent can do with student applications:

  • Manage your application
  • Give access to the latest information, advice, and services
  • Attach references and submit your application on your behalf
  • Inform you of other universities who are in partnership with them in case the university you apply to isn’t registered as their official partner

Can you check if your agent is a verified partner of your university?

The short answer is — yes. On most UK university websites, there is a set of information listed under “country-specific information”. An example of it can be accessed here.

What you can do if Clearing isn’t possible with the help of an agent?

On the rare occasion that you are unable to secure a university or course placement under the guidance of an agent, you can consider alternatives such as enrolling in an International Year One (IYO) programme.

An IYO at a UK university could help you fast-track to the second year of a bachelor’s degree programme. It is suitable for students who require more guidance with their English language proficiency and study skills to get accustomed to the UK higher education setting.

What’s the verdict?

There’s no harm in making an application through the UCAS centre as they have a suite of tools to help manage student applications, in addition to access to the latest information and advice services, and allows higher education (HE) providers to track where students have come from.

UCAS notes that students can withdraw their consent for an agency to manage their applications on their behalf at any time.