How to survive clearing

Posted in: News, Student Careers, University Life

Your clearing guide for results day

Its results day, your palms are sweaty as you greet your teachers at the front doors. The room is crowded as you make your way to the desk. Your brown envelope falls victim to your shaking hands. You open it.

What next?

If you haven’t got the grades that you needed to get into your first choice your offer will have been rejected on UCAS Track; do not panic. If university is still your path there are several things that you can do.Don’t be afraid of clearing. According to UCAS, 67,000 students found their university place through clearing in 2017, that’s over 10% of applicants so you will be in good company.

Why choose clearing?

If you change your mind about your firm and insurance choices, and wish to apply to a different course or university then you are able to enquire through clearing which opens first thing on results day. Universities all over the country have extra teams working who are able to coach you through the process. You may end up with a better offer than you had from your original choices.

If you applied before 30 June but don’t have any offers then clearing will be a perfect option for you. Similarly if you applied late (after 30th June) you will automatically be entered into clearing once you apply.

If you applied after 30 June – you’ll be automatically entered into Clearing once you apply

UCAS have made the clearing process as easy as possible with the website displaying live updates from universities about the courses and their availability for clearing.

How long does clearing take?

When you call the universities they may take your grades and make a decision there and then. For medical, science, or arts courses you may be invited to an interview or portfolio showing to ensure that you meet the requirements of the course. You usually have two days to accept an offer however some universities keep their clearing open until Freshers week. This is a question for the individual universities.

Top tips for the clearing process:

  1.       Do not panic. If you are disappointed with your grades it is important to remember that you are not alone and this isn’t the end of your journey.
  2.      Have a plan. If you come out of an exam with that feeling that we all know so well, start preparing for the worst. Keep the information of other courses and universities on hand for when the big day comes. At least then when you open your envelope you have a plan of action.
  3.      Don’t rush your decision. If you have an offer from somewhere that you really did not like, are you going to take it just because it has been sent? You have many options. Call your first and insurance choices, often they may reconsider if you demonstrate your passion. If that is unsuccessful you are always able to retake your year, either at your college or a nearby sixth form. Don’t go to a university that isn’t right for you.

Let’s talk about adjustment

If you get your big brown envelope and the grades surpass your expectations, you may be able to ‘upgrade’ your offer to a university with a more appropriate course. I remember one of my friends from sixth form needed BBC for a Dental Nursing Degree. When results day came around she actually came out with A*A*A. Within an hour of receiving her results she was on the way to London for a Dental school interview.

Adjustment is almost the opposite of clearing; if your grades are higher than you originally planned then you can choose to attend a different university or simply change courses.

Don’t forget!

If you have changed university do not forget that your accommodation provider will need to be told that you are no longer living there.

Don’t be put off by the clearing process!

  • Have a plan
  • Be positive
  • Don’t be panicked
  • And don’t forget adjustment

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash