More than 60,000 students secured their university places through Clearing last year. As Clearing begins, we look at how you can plan ahead and keep your options open.
“I really didn’t want to do UCAS,” says Charlie Garrett-Holmes, “I didn’t want to go to uni at all at first.”
Charlie knew he wanted to work in financial services but was put off by the debt associated with taking a university degree. “I wanted to do an apprenticeship with an accountancy firm. That would have been ideal,” he says.
He applied to the ‘big four’ accountancy firms in the City and progressed through the highly competitive applications process. “I was dropped out of those apprenticeships at Christmas time.”
Returning to sixth form in January, Charlie talked to his Business Studies teacher who told him about The London Institute of Banking & Finance.
“I wanted to do accountancy, banking or finance – anything in that field,” says Charlie. But he had missed the UCAS deadline.
His only option now was to apply through Clearing.
Preparing for results day
It’s important to be organised. A’level results come out in mid-August – or in the first week of August for students in Scotland. But you don’t have to wait that long to start making enquiries.
Charlie used his initiative. He phoned to find out whether there were likely to be any spare places and was told that there always had been a few in previous years.
“That was really good for me, because I thought hopefully this year they’ll have the same situation. And then they’ll take me under their wing through clearing.”
This quieter period before results day is a good time to contact the universities you’re interested in. They will have more time to talk to you and give you advice before the post-results rush.
“I’d say always call up the uni first and ask, ‘How many positions do you have? And how likely is it for me to apply through clearing and actually get in?’” says Charlie. “I’d say that’s definitely a must.”
So, when results day came last summer, Charlie was ready.
“I called up, told them my grades. I had to send proof of grades and just like that, I was offered a place.”
He believes it’s all in the planning.
“Have a plan, and another plan. And have a plan just in case that plan fails. Honestly, going through clearing isn’t as stressful as people think. It’s not as bad as people imagine.”
Find out more about Clearing