Clearing: What to Do If You Don’t Get Into Uni

By on August 18th, 2016


A-Level results day is inevitably a stressful time, particularly if you don’t manage to get into your first choice university. If you happen to miss out on the grades you need, don’t panic! There are plenty of options available that will put your mind at rest, one of which is of course, clearing.

What is Clearing?

Ucas Clearing is for students who have missed the conditions of their offers; did not receive any offers or have decided to reject their offers. Even if you happen to get into your firm or insurance choice, you still have the option to be released into clearing and apply for a different course elsewhere. (This process takes 10 days and you cannot apply for a course until the university releases you).

Clearing often gets a bad reputation as a ‘last resort’ or otherwise undesirable outcome for students. However, many who use the system (which is over 60,000 each year) end up feeling that things couldn’t have worked out better.

If you’ve already done your research and have a list of back-up unis at the ready, then this will make clearing a pretty straightforward process. If not though, don’t worry – clearing is open till late September, giving you a decent length of time to figure out what you’d like to do.

How to navigate through Clearing

Clearing might seem like a bit of a scary process, but it’s actually very simple and you’ll get lots of support along the way from tutors and universities. Read on for Downing’s step-by-step process of what to expect when you go through clearing.

1. Check your Status on UCAS Track

After 8am on Results Day, you’ll be able to see if you’re eligible for Clearing via Ucas Track. Although it’s possible to do research and enquire about courses ahead of Results Day, you cannot actually apply through Clearing until Ucas enters you into the process.

2. Pick up your Grades from your School or College

Once you know you’ve been entered into Clearing, you’ll need to pick up your results from your college or university, so you can tell the admissions officers you speak to.

3. Search for Courses you’re Interested in. Create a Shortlist.

It’s true that Clearing allows you to apply for any course, but be careful not to make a snap decision without thinking it over fully first. You ideally want to choose something you’ll be happy studying for the next three years, so try to look for courses similar to the one you originally picked, or even one that you prefer.

You can use Ucas to search for courses, or an app like the Telegraph Clearing app.
Remember that you will need to keep an open mind, and may need to consider a uni you haven’t thought of before.

4. Once you Have your List, Call up the Individual Universities

Call up each of your back-up universities and ask to be put through to the Clearing helpline. (It’s really important to do this yourself rather than letting someone else call for you.)

You’ll need your Clearing number and Personal ID, both of which can be found on Track. You should also have ready a list of your grades and their Ucas points value.

5. Prepare to Say Why You Want that Course

Once the admissions officer is sure you meet the requirements for a place on the course, they’ll put through to the Course Administrator for a friendly ‘mini interview’. This is your chance to sell yourself and explain why you’d like to do that course, so be ready and maybe have some answers prepared beforehand.

The Course Administrator may then give you a verbal offer, which stands for 24 hours so you have some time to think over your decision.

It might be helpful to make notes during each call you make so you can remember what different universities have said, as well as any contact details you might need later on.

6. Accept your Offer on UCAS Track

You can phone up however many unis you like on Results Day – some will give you a verbal offer, others may not. Once you have an offer you’re happy with 100%, you can add your choice on Ucas Track. (Be aware that you can only add one course at a time, so you can’t add another unless the uni rejects you.)

Some unis might also ask for scans of your qualification certificates too, so make sure you can provide these on the day.

Remember: When it comes to revising your plan for university. It’s important not to rush, and don’t stress. If there are too many options and you really can’t decide, you can consider taking a gap year to work, volunteer or even resit your exams and apply again.

Contact Downing Students

Whatever happens, Downing wishes all of our future students the best of luck with their results. If you have a question about accommodation after clearing, don’t hesitate to get in touch or check our availability.

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