So, maybe you’re not confident of getting the results you wanted, or perhaps your circumstances have changed and you’re no longer able to go to the university you planned to. Don’t be discouraged – every year, thousands of students go through Clearing, and it can lead to great and unexpected things. You might find a place on a course you’d never have considered before, but turns out to be perfect for you!
Clearing can seem like a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s tempting to assume all the best places are being snapped up by the minute, which can make you rush headlong into a decision you might regret. In reality, you’ve got ample time to weigh up all of your options – which isn’t to say you should put it off until last minute!
Clearing begins in mid-July, so you’ll already be able to look at some of the options available to you using the UCAS Search tool. You don’t have to decide just yet, as many more courses will become available on A-level results day (August 13th), but it doesn’t hurt to start looking early.
When results day comes, don’t immediately assume you haven’t got your preferred place if you didn’t quite make the required grades – many universities might still offer you a place on the course or a similar alternative, and it’s worth contacting them to make sure.
The week after results day can be a frantic one for students in Clearing, as this is when most applications will be made. Again, don’t get caught up in the rush – you can narrow down your search by ruling out any universities you definitely don’t want to attend, or courses that don’t have the content you want, for example. As a rule, you should prioritise the course over the place: remember, you’ll be doing this for the next few years if you’re successful, so make sure it’s something you’re passionate about.
You might want to focus on subjects that are in similar areas to your first choice, but some people use Clearing as an opportunity to go for something completely different. Perhaps you meant to study law, but you’ve always had a passion for business: this could be a good chance to give some serious thought to a different direction of study.
When you’ve chosen a course you’re happy with, it’s time to get in touch with your chosen institution, usually by phone. It’s best to do this yourself, rather than getting a parent to do it: you will need to provide information about your grades, and some unis might ask about your motivation, your other interests, and so on – it can turn into a mini-interview, so be prepared to sell yourself!
Once you’ve been accepted, congratulations – you’ve made it through Clearing. The fun doesn’t stop here though: you still need to arrange accommodation, buy your course literature, sort out your student loan… the list goes on. But for now, you can give yourself a pat on the back and start looking forward to an exciting new future.
For more information about the Clearing process, visit our website: gsm.org.uk/clearing
Or, if you still have question, we’d be happy to help: 020 3733 1855