Found yourself in Clearing? Here's what to do next
If you're one of the thousands of students who have woken up this morning to find yourself in Clearing – and perhaps you’re a little surprised to be there – what should your next steps be? We have all the advice to guide you through the next few hours.
Step #1 - Don’t panic
Clearing is full of great universities and interesting courses, in fact some of the UK’s most prestigious universities had courses on offer last year. So, take a few deep breaths and approach this calmly.
By now you should have logged on to your UCAS Track and seen the status of your offers. If you missed both your first choice and your insurance offer, then you will automatically be placed in Clearing. If you missed your first choice but got your insurance place, and have now decided that you no longer want it, then you will have to contact the university that made you the offer and ask to be officially released into Clearing.
Once Track shows that you are in Clearing you can start looking at what’s available. UCAS has a really useful search tool for all the courses available, and you can also look directly at the universities you are interested in. Most should have Clearing pages on their website where you can search by subject and course, so take some time to read through thoroughly, look at the different modules each course includes and make sure that they fit with your interests. Once you have seen a course you like the look of, it is time to give the university a call - they will have dedicated phone lines for Clearing, and the numbers will be published online.
Jade Cameron, an Events Management student at Leeds Beckett, ended up attaining her place through Clearing. She says: “I realised not getting your predicted grades isn't the end of the world. There was still the option of Clearing, something which I hadn't given much thought to before. I was so happy when I realised I could still go to university!
“Being in Clearing actually gave me the chance to think properly about my choice of course. Was media studies what I was really passionate about? I wasn't sure. I knew I was passionate about events, and in particular weddings, so decided this was my chance to change course and do something I love. So, as well as changing my choice of universities, I changed my choice of course to Events Management.
“I spent time ringing around different universities that ran an Events Management course, seeing what my options were. I kept being put on hold and waiting in queues, but I finally spoke to the kindest lady at Leeds Beckett. She instantly made me feel relaxed and calm. I had a feeling then that this university was the one. I told her my grades, and she gave me the news I’d been hoping for – I had an acceptance into Leeds Beckett University! To say I was overjoyed is an understatement – I was over the moon.
“If you’re reading this and you’re in a similar position, faced with no offers, or if you're worried about results day - please don’t panic! Even if things don’t work out exactly as you planned, that’s okay. Remaining positive and open-minded is key. If you're going through Clearing, be sure to consider options you may not have before, as I did this and it worked out so well for me."
Step #2 - Pick up the phone
Picking up the telephone and calling is by far the most common way to get a place through Clearing. However, there are other options – Leeds Beckett University, for example, can also make offers 24/7 through their Chatbot, Becky, meaning that you can get the right advice at a time that suits you.
If you do decide to go down the traditional calling route, you'll also need to check if places are still available on the course you want and that you meet the entry requirements. But these calls aren’t the terrifying on-the-spot interviews that you might imagine. Rather it is a two-way conversation where you can check that the course is right for you, as much as they are checking that you are right for the course. A great piece of advice is to have your UCAS personal statement handy during your phone call, as it can be a useful prompt if you are asked any open questions about why you are interested in the course and what value you could add.
At the end of this phone conversation you might be given a provisional offer, and if so, it would be a good idea to ask the university to follow up that verbal offer with confirmation of it on email. It may come with a deadline, which can vary according to the popularity of the course and the university, so make sure you are clear on when that is. Then you are free you call as many other universities as you would like, and get as many offers as you would like. Start stacking them up so you have a number of options to choose from.
Denise Dixon-Smith, Head of Admissions at Leeds Beckett University, says: “If your results aren't what you expected, don’t worry - help is at hand, and you can still find a course that's right for you.
“It’s important to take the time to take stock of your situation and start making calls to universities when you’re ready. Courses don’t all disappear in that first hour of Clearing and a little preparation can make the whole process a lot easier for you. At Leeds Beckett you can call us on the day, but our Chatbot Becky is also able to make offers 24/7 so that you can get in touch when you feel ready. That can be straight away, or when you’ve had time to do a little more research.
“Our team know that Clearing can be a scary time so we'll do everything we can to help you on the day. One of the best things you can do is to jot down your essential information, such as your UCAS ID, Clearing ID – if it has been released – and any notes about the course you want to study, including any questions – this is your chance to get the answers you need. And remember to take notes when you're speaking with universities too. It will help you weigh up your options and make a decision that’s right for you.”
Step #3 - Decision time
From 3pm on A-level results day, you will be able to go on to Track and accept your choice. When you are happy with your decision then log on and you will be given the option to add your course, and this acts as your formal acceptance of the offer. UCAS will then send that to the university where it will be verified.
Finally, it's time to relax. Over the following days you will receive written confirmation and probably information about an open day. If not, then you could ask to arrange your own informal visit. If you are living away from home, you will also need to research your accommodation options, read through your course information and at last you can start feeling excited.
About our sponsor
Leeds Beckett offers a range of courses in Clearing and you're able to contact the university at a time that best suits you. As well as opportunities to get in touch via the phone and live chat during extended office hours in Clearing, Becky the Chatbot is available at all times and is able to make offers, as well as answer your Clearing questions. The university has a fantastic employability rate - 94.2% of all UK graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating. Find out more here.