How Clearing can mean you're ready for anything on results day 2024

Thoughtful student

Use the time before results day wisely and you'll be ready for anything

Once you've finished the last of your exams, it might feel like there's nothing left to do but wait for your results.

But if you're applying to university this year, the period in between exams and results day is the ideal time to hatch a back-up plan.

You might not need it - but working out a plan B now can really help if the results you get in August don't quite match what you need for your firm choice. 

Get busy with the research

If you're waiting on the results of your A-level exams, you'll already have Thursday 15 August circled on your calendar: it's A-level results day.

But here's another date for your diary: Friday 5 July. This is when Clearing opens for 2024 entrants, so it's when you can start looking through all the course spaces that are available.

If you end up getting the grades you need for your firm choice uni, this will just end up being a bit of window shopping.

But if one or two of your grades chuck a spanner in the works on results day, the time you've spent looking through Clearing now will mean you know exactly who you want to call.

Check the Clearing listings on Ucas for courses that interest you. Dig deeper into these by checking the course listings over on The Uni Guide

You can also find student discussion on The Student Room about specific universities or particular university courses.

"Keep an open mind. Look at courses you might not have considered before and don't be put off by unfamiliar degree titles!"

Kate Jones, student recruitment officer, Liverpool Hope University

Refresh your memory of your personal statement

You probably spent hours perfecting your personal statement. 

If you do find yourself in Clearing, that hard work will be even more worthwhile. Print off a copy now and highlight the key points - you can use these as a reference in any Clearing phone calls.

It's a bit different if you've decided to go for a different course. If you’ve suddenly decided you want to be a journalist as opposed to a nurse, make sure you can be clear about the reasons behind your decision.

Make some notes as a reference – why the sudden change and why the new course is definitely the right one for you.

Get yourself organised

It's easy to go into panic mode in Clearing; so don’t add to your stress by having to look up numbers.

Once you've got a list of courses that interest you, save the university contact details for each so you can be all set for results day. 

Make sure any related documents are easily accessible: GCSE results, your application, your personal statement - all that kind of thing. 

"Research as much as you can beforehand and make a shortlist of your top clearing choices.

"The more prepared you can be, the calmer and less stressful results day will be, whatever it throws at you."

Nathan Brown, conversion manager, Liverpool Hope University

Get prepped for mini-interviews

You might get made an offer in Clearing based on your grades alone, but there’s a good chance that you’ll have a phone interview – or even a face-to-face one.

Jot down some prepared answers to questions might come up on the Clearing call; that way you can feel more confident when you're on the phone.

If you had any interviews as part of your original application, think back to the questions that came up and try to improve on the answers you gave.

Want to know how well you'd do on a Clearing call? Take our quiz below...

Top tips for finding a university place in Clearing

1.  Don't leave it all until results day
For most people, it's a bit of a shock to find out you've missed your offers and have gone into Clearing. If it happens to you, you'll be able to stay more calm if you're prepared.

2.  Treat it like a second application
Look up the course opportunities on Ucas Clearing, then thoroughly research the ones you like. Imagine you're starting a brand-new application, and choose your preferred courses in the same way as you did before.

3.  Ask questions on The Student Room
If you're unsure about anything, take a look through Applications, Clearing & Ucas for answers to all sorts of application questions. You can also ask your own questions to get personalised advice.

4.  Take your time on results day
If you do find yourself in Clearing on results day, try to stay calm. You have lots of time to ring round the universities you've researched - no-one can put a Clearing choice into Ucas Hub until 1pm on results day.

5.  Be available
You might not get an offer straight away or a university may ring you back with questions or offer an interview. Make sure you’re reachable.

For more Clearing advice head over to The Student Room's Clearing section

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