A Level results day can be a rollercoaster of emotions, with those having gained their place at university overjoyed, and those who missed the cut, even if just by a mark or two, gutted and worried about what the next years will entail. But how do you survive the clearing process if you have to do it? How do you make a decision about which university and course to choose? And how do you stay calm throughout clearing so you have an enjoyable experience with a positive outcome? Here we give you some top clearing survival tips to help you come to a decision that is best for you!
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Finding out you didn’t get into your first or second university choice can be a gutting experience. However, a panic-driven mindset isn’t the best place from which to make a decision that could alter the next steps in your path of life. After finding out about your results, you should take a deep breath and feel all the emotions that bubble to the surface. It’s important to go through the process of feeling sad, angry, disappointed or whatever emotions arise, as this will allow you to let these feelings go before starting the clearing process.
Once you have calmed down you will be able to clearly work out the next steps, deciding what your priorities are and which universities and courses you want to consider.
Decide If You Definitely Want To Go To University
If you find out on results day that you didn’t get into your choice university, ask yourself this: ‘Do I definitely want to go to university?’.
This is a vital question you need to answer honestly. It might be that you only wanted to study a particular course at one set university. If that was the case, don’t rush into finding a second best but decide whether it would be better to wait a year and apply again.
Alternatively, you might be thinking, “actually, this is a bit of a relief as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to university anyway”. If you feel a sense of relief, it’s important not to feel pressured, either by family or friends, to quickly find a replacement university. This could be your chance to make a decision for yourself without the influence of parents, teachers or peers. It may be the case that you felt funnelled into applying to university since everyone else was doing, but maybe not getting into uni was the best thing to happen to you!
Phone The University
Once you’re set on going to university, it can be a good idea to call both your first and second choice university departments. Speaking to the university gives you a chance to find out first hand whether any spaces have become available on your chosen course, or what other options might be open to you.
Clearing is the process of universities offering out their set places on the courses they have available and seeing how many people accept their offers. As everybody has two choices, it’s inevitable that some of the places offered by universities will be turned down by those who opted for their first choice. This will mean that once the first wave of students have made a decision about university and course, there will be a new wave of openings that become available. Therefore, you shouldn’t make any rash decisions until you have spoken to the admissions departments.
While it may feel easier to ask a parent to call the university for you, it’s always best to speak to the Clearing Hotline staff yourself. Not only does this show confidence but it also allows you to make a good impression with the staff on the phone. If you build up a good rapport with the staff member then they might be more likely to give you a call should a space become available.
Calling around universities during the clearing process can be fairly nerve-wracking and overwhelming so it’s a good idea to jot down notes while on the phone to the admissions teams so that you don’t forget any important information. If you’d feel better about it you can have someone there with you to help you, perhaps putting the call on loudspeaker and asking a parent or friend to take notes.
It’s also a good idea to have some questions written down before calling so that you don’t miss anything out should you become flustered.
If it turns out that there are definitely no spaces available on your chosen courses, you might want to consider other universities or alternative courses. It’s essential to weigh up the options carefully as this decision could affect the majority of the next 3-4 years of your life.
Weigh up what the city is like, how big both the city and university are, the reputation of the university (particularly for the course you are studying) and other things like distance from home or module variations for your new course.
While clearing places do move quite fast, you don’t want to rush into anything you later regret.
If you have an inkling you may not get the grades required for your conditional offers, start researching alternative universities and courses prior to results day. The Clearing website is available from the beginning of July so you can have a look around to see what options are out there.
Make Sure Your Offer Is Official
If you are offered a clearing place over the phone it’s important to ask for email confirmation. This allows you to have proof of the offer in writing should you need it at a later date. You’ll also want to ask the admissions staff if there is an acceptance period for the offer so that you can enter your clearing choice within the valid time frame.
So, there you have it, our top clearing survival tips! When the day arrives and the results are in, don’t panic! Regardless of what grades you receive, there are options available for you to still have a fantastic experience at university on a course you love.