Words by: Sam Duthie

Though missing your offer is daunting, you are well within your ability to still go to university this year.

In 2013, more than 57,000 students accepted a uni place through UCAS Clearing. There are plenty of high-quality courses available within Clearing, it is up to you to make the most out of it.

If you’re looking for a course in Clearing, you’re going to be making a lot of phone calls to uni admissions. How you present yourself in these phone calls will be key to whether the university makes you an offer.

To help you do your best in your UCAS Clearing phone calls, we asked the admissions teams from the University of Bolton and Kaplan Holborn College to share their advice. Read on for expert inside info on making your Clearing phone calls.

How to be organised for a Clearing phone call

Make sure you have your UCAS Personal ID and your Clearing ID ready. You might be on the phone for a while so make sure you have your details in order before you call. Having your phone fully charged will mean it won’t cut out in the middle of a phone call. Kaplan college suggest that you phone from a relaxed and quiet place such as your bedroom. If you are calling a few universities it will be worth making notes on what they can offer you.

Our guide on UCAS Clearing will answer pivotal questions that you may have about it

Stay calm during the Clearing process

University call centre staff are very sympathetic to your situation and the university is there to help you! Remember that they are on your side and want to help you find a place. Don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed at this time! Most students will be feeling the same way.

Know what you’re calling up about

Make sure you have looked at the particular university website or prospectus you are calling. Does that university offer the particular course you are interested in? Remember the criteria you used when choosing your original university. Do you care more about getting the best course possible? Going to an esteemed university? The location? Try to make sure you know where the university is in the country and don't choose unis that you think may be too far away from home.

How to cope with Clearing 2015

Ask as many questions as you can

Jot down a few questions about areas your interested in. Think about what the university can offer you and what you're a bit puzzled about. University of Bolton admissions have suggested some things to think about that will really help you get the information you need.

What courses can the university offer you?

Do you have any scholarships or bursaries that Clearing students are eligible for?

Does your university have any open days or visiting opportunities available for students? Would you be able to look around?

Are there any spaces left in halls? – If so, how do I apply/visit/reserve a place? If not, can they help you find accommodation?

Will any adjustments need to be made to suit your stay at the uni? If you have a disability how will that be accommodated?

Take your time

it is a big decision, try not to get carried away and take a place with the first university you get through to. You should think very carefully about your decision and make sure that you are comfortable with your choice.

Sign up to Clearing emails

Contact your favourite universities quickly

Don’t take too long to ring up your first choice universities, phoning up early will mean that there is a greater chance that the university still have courses that you would like to enrol onto. Don’t leave it too long as places fill up quickly. It may seem like universities are asking lots of questions but there are specific procedures universities must follow which may entail some waiting. Patience and resolve will work wonders while going through UCAS Clearing.

Privacy and parents

Be mindful that, unless you give explicit permission, universities cannot discuss your application with anyone other than yourself. If you would like someone else to ring on your behalf then you must be sitting with them to give permission before handing the phone call over.

Wrap it up

If you realise the call isn't going well or you don't really fancy the course too much, don't be afraid to just wrap it up. Thank whoever you're talking to on the phone and politely hang up. Do not accept a course offer that you doesn't suit you. This is your future you're working on, you need to build the best possible chances for yourself!

More on TSR:

Your guide to A-level results day

More information about A-level results day

Help and advice about Clearing and Adjustment