If you didn’t get the A Level results that you were hoping for, don’t worry – you still have options. We sat down with undergraduate student, Zoe Denham – who came to The London Institute of Banking and Finance through UCAS Clearing to tell us about her personal experience.
“I had to go through Clearing because I didn’t achieve the grades that I was supposed to get in order to get my first choice of university,” says Zoe. “And, I didn’t put a second choice of universities I applied to were looking for very similar grades.”
Thousands of uni applicants will be in the same boat this year. If you are one of them, you may find- like Zoe, that Clearing does not necessarily mean narrowing your choices.
We asked Zoe for her top tips to other students going through Clearing. Here they are.
Steady your nerves
Like many students, Zoe says that she was “nervous” about Clearing. “I didn’t have any back-up unis that I would have been happy to go to.”
Nevertheless, she persisted – looking on the UCAS site and visiting a couple of campuses with her mum.
“I remember calling all of the other universities that I had applied to, to see if they would accept lower grades but unfortunately, I had no luck.”
She couldn’t find anything that suited her and remembers “being in a rush trying to make a decision on a uni to go to for the next three years.”
Clearing does have a positive side
“The good thing about Clearing is that a lot of universities will get in contact with you if they want you, rather than you having to do all of the looking yourself,” explains Zoe. “Don’t just settle for the first university that gets in contact with you.”
More than 60,000 students were accepted through UCAS Clearing last year, and there are places waiting for the right applicants this year too. Essentially, Clearing is a way of matching universities with spaces to students without a university place.
How to make Clearing easier
“The important thing is to be organised so that you can take advantage of the system.”
- Do some research and check the UCAS listings.
- Rule out the unis that you don’t want. When you find one that you like, check their website directly. Remember, things move fast during Clearing and the UCAS site may not be full up-to-date.
- Find a quiet place phone the universities that you are interested in – away from younger siblings, noisy pets, televisions and radios. And, make sure you have all the information you need to hand, including your Clearing number from UCAS Track, your results and the personal statement from your UCAS application.
- Don’t forget to take notes during that call and don’t be afraid to ask questions – such as a request to confirm any offers by email.
“Weigh up all the pros and cons of each before you decide,” Zoe says. “I had a lot of calls from other universities who wanted me before being offered a place to study at The London Institute of Banking & Finance.”
How to apply through Clearing