How to prepare for A-Level results day and UCAS clearing

14 August, 2023Mutahara Gofur

students-career-financeUniversity is an exciting new chapter of your life, but things won’t always go according to plan. For various reasons, many students can find themselves going through UCAS clearing – a process that gives you a second chance at securing a place in university.

It may seem daunting, but clearing is a good way to find a university and degree that’s the right fit for you and can even present opportunities you may have previously overlooked.

So, how can you stay organised and prepared throughout the process?

Applying through clearing – be prepared

This year, clearing opens on 17 August, on results day, and the deadline for applications is 17 October. If you aren’t feeling confident about your results, or even if you are, there is no harm in having a back-up plan.

Ahead of results day, spend some time considering other universities and courses that you might be interested in. Explore their websites, prospectuses, and any virtual tours to get an idea of course content, entry requirements, and the campus environment. Also make a note of important contact numbers and websites that you might need on results day, so you have them on hand.

Having a shortlist of universities you like the look of will save time and help you make well-informed decisions if you do end up having to go through the clearing process.

When clearing opens, have all the necessary documents, such as your exam results, personal statement, and UCAS ID, readily available. Putting together a folder with all of your relevant documents means you can easily access them on the day.

Even if you meet the entry requirements for you firm and insurance choice, you might decide that you still want to explore a different university – so it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Contact universities sooner rather than later

As soon as you have your results and know you're eligible for clearing, start contacting universities on your shortlist. Be proactive and call all the university clearing hotlines to find out more about available courses.

It could be useful to prepare a list of questions to ask admissions staff, including course details, accommodation options, and any other concerns you might have. Remember that universities have limited clearing spaces, so contacting them early can increase your chances of securing a place!

A lot of universities hold clearing open days, which take place after results day. If possible, try to attend one. Open days give you the best chance to get a feel for the campus, meet faculty members, and connect with other potential students. You will also get a better understanding of whether the university is a good fit for you socially, as well as academically.

Looking for a course in clearing

During clearing, you may need to be flexible with your course choices. Although you might have an idea of what you want to study, be open to related courses or similar subjects that could also align with your interests and career goals. Keeping an open mind about different universities and locations can broaden your options and lead to exciting opportunities.

Although there are many benefits to in-person learning, online degrees could also be a path to consider. You would still receive the same quality of teaching and resources, but with additional flexibility and without the need to relocate. We currently offer a range of online degrees, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, so there is something for everyone. If you would prefer an in-person experience, we also offer full-time degrees on campus.

Seek advice and support

Going through clearing can be stressful and it's important to have people you can turn to for guidance. If you are unsure of what to do or feel overwhelmed by the whole process, speak to teachers and support staff at your college or sixth form. Talking about your options and concerns with others can help you see different perspectives and make more informed decisions.

Results day can be nerve-wracking, but it's important to remain calm and positive. If you don't receive the grades you were hoping for, clearing can allow you to explore other great options. It may not have been your initial plan, but it doesn't mean it's the end of your higher education journey – plenty of great universities have places in clearing. So, stay optimistic, make sure you’re prepared beforehand and… good luck!

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