You’ve done the hard work, survived the stress and applied to a few unis, but if you don’t get the grades you’re hoping for on Results Day, don’t panic! You’ve got options.
First things first. Visit the UCAS website as soon as possible to check your status. Even if your grades just missed the mark, there’s still a chance your chosen university will accept you, so it’s a good idea to follow up with them.
The good news is there’s still a chance to enrol for an undergrad course, even if you’ve left your application a little late or haven’t got the grades you’d hoped for, thanks to the UK’s university Clearing process.
According to Siân Duffin, Student Support Manager at Arden University, one in six students get a place through Clearing, which means you can still find a great course at a university you like.
What is Clearing?
Clearing is a way of matching university applicants to available places, helping universities fill up any vacancies they may have and giving students the chance to find the most suitable course.
Clearing happens every year between July and September after exam results have been released. You can participate in Clearing If you’ve already applied through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and one of these situations applies to you:
- You received no offers from a university.
- Your exam results aren’t as expected, and you aren’t accepted by your current choices.
- You didn’t meet the conditions or offers you received.
- You rejected an offer because you changed your mind about your chosen course or location.
- You want a place at a university but haven’t applied yet.
When Does University Clearing Start?
30th June 2020 – any applications received after this date are automatically entered into Clearing.
Clearing Hit a Record High Last Year
Historically, students have had to compete for a limited number of places at top universities. In recent years, this setup has shifted, and universities are now competing to attract students. This means Clearing has started to play a bigger role in the admissions cycle. Students have more choices and more freedom to undertake the kind of learning journey that works best for them.
According to UCAS, 2019 set a new record for the number of students accepted through Clearing, with 58,240 being accepted, 5,250 more than the year before. Of those, 11,990 applied directly to Clearing compared to 11,080 in 2018.
How to Get Through Clearing
Siân advises: “Make a Clearing kit to take with you to “results day”. A mobile phone and charger, a notepad and pen, water and some snacks. Being prepared to do some research and make some calls will benefit you when you are looking for a course. Make sure you have the correct phone numbers for your first choice and insurance choice at hand. It is also worth having the number for any university you think you might want to approach in Clearing if you don’t get into one of your choices”.
Before Results Day:
- Ideally, it helps to prepare yourself before your results come out by researching alternative options.
- If you’re worried about your grades, put a ‘plan B’ in place. Research which other unis offer the same (or similar) course as your current choice and see if there are any with slightly lower grade requirements.
- Make sure you’ve got all your info and documents handy before you make any calls. Be prepared to make notes on the calls as well.
- Be prepared for a mini-admissions interview over the phone. Don’t forget to write down your answers beforehand.
- If you don’t get time to prep, don’t panic – you can still make it through Clearing on results day.
On Results Day:
Siân says, “Call your first choice and insurance choice before you do anything else. A conversation with an admissions tutor can sometimes mean they’ll accept you or offer you an alternative, maybe a joint honours course that you hadn’t considered before. If you can, visit the university before Clearing and speak to their staff. They can advise on any steps to take if you miss your grades and have picked them as one of your choices”.
- Once exam results are released, the pace of the Clearing process picks up dramatically and every second counts. This is the day you need to be prepared to go, go, go!
- Check the UCAS Track site as early as possible to see your application status. If you’re eligible for Clearing, you’ll be given a Clearing number.
- Now you can start calling your preferred universities through their special Clearing phone lines to speak to an adviser about the course you’re interested in.
- Again, be prepared for a mini-interview over the phone. Have all your information ready and take notes.
- The adviser will confirm whether you’re accepted right there on the phone. After that, you’ll typically have 24 hours to confirm the offer or find another one.
- Once you have an offer you’re happy to accept, confirm your place on UCAS Track.
- If you’re unsure about the status of your uni place, contact the university directly to get confirmation (but be prepared to hold the line for a while – it’s a busy day).
- UCAS will also provide live updates of all courses available through Clearing.
Once you’ve secured a place, it’s time to start thinking about the next steps.
- Look into student accommodation in your chosen city.
- Update your student finance body on where you’ll be studying.
- Start familiarising yourself with your new university.
- Breathe – you did it!
Which Universities Take Clearing Students?
As Clearing becomes more widespread, more top-ranked Russell Group universities have started offering Clearing vacancies to hopeful students. For example, Queen Mary’s University of London have 317 courses available for Clearing this year, while University of Leeds have 276.
If you’ve made it through Clearing and you’re searching for somewhere awesome to live, Fresh has a choice of stylish student accommodation available across the UK.
“Year on year, we are seeing an increase in students applying for last minute accommodation schemes, indicating that current views on the Clearing process have shifted and play an important role in the admissions cycle. At this time of year, students may have to make quick decisions on where they will study and live.
The Fresh Residents’ Teams can assist with advice on living options and help students find their perfect room. Our accommodations offer first years a real home away from home, with a packed welcome calendar, friendly on-site accommodation teams, and all-inclusive bills, meaning that moving in is as stress-free as possible.” – Jane Crouch, Fresh Property Group COO
Speak to the friendly, professional staff at Fresh about your new accommodation today. Then settle in and enjoy your studies as you take on the next phase of your learning experience in style.