A Levels are over and you’re probably enjoying your long summer break. Among the holidays, summer jobs and general relaxation, I imagine the thought of getting your results is often at the back of your mind. What if I don’t get the results I need? What if my first choice doesn’t accept me? You may have already heard about Clearing, but you’re not sure what it is.
Clearing is a process that allows you to research other universities when things don’t quite go to plan or when you have a change of heart. It’s not much different to going through the usual UCAS application route and it allows universities to offer any spaces they may have available on their coruses. This means you can still study the subject you’d like to, but just at another university. Or you can study a different subject at either your chosen university or a different university. There are lots of options! However, you might feel like it’s a bit of a minefield and a bit of a stressful experience so close to university start dates. That’s why we’ve come up with some tips for navigating the Clearing process.
Call your first-choice university
If you’ve missed out on one grade to go to your first choice university, still call them up to ask if they will consider you. Chances are, they’ll understand that things didn’t go quite as you expected and they might allow you onto the course. If they can’t, they’ll try to find you a similar course. For example, instead of taking Psychology and Sociology as you applied for, you could do just Psychology or Sociology.
Research other universities
If your first choice university isn’t able to let you onto a course, find somewhere that’s close to the area or somewhere offering a similar course. You might find somewhere new that appeals to you or a university that you didn’t think of before. UCAS will be able to help you find a new course or university in the area that you would like to live in.
Make sure you have your grades to hand and your UCAS ID, as you'll be asked for these when you ring up. Also, make a note of any questions you have about the course, university or student services, such as finance and accommodation.
Before you ring round, make some notes about the subject/course you want to study, any particular modules you're interested in and which areas of the country you would be happy to relocate to. This will give you an idea of which universities to look at before you start ringing them.
You don’t have to decide there and then on results day where you want to go. Stay calm, do a bit of research and talk to friends, family and teachers. The day of results will seem a bit of a blur, so give yourself some time to make an informed decision.
Sign up for a Clearing open day
If you’re choosing a new university to go to, visit it on an open day. Many universities will have a Clearing Open Day and it’s a perfect chance for you to check out what they have to offer and how you feel about potentially studying there.
You’re not alone
Going through Clearing? You are definitely not alone. Clearing is a process many students take each year, whether they’ve changed their mind about uni, decided last minute to go or things haven't gone to plan.