5 tips on how to use Clearing to get the university place you want
Clearing can be chill. Read our guide to find out how. Source: Shutterstock.

You’ve got your A-level results and it’s either better or worse than you predicted.

There’s a chance you didn’t get your top university choices with those grades.

If you did, congratulations! But if not, there’s Clearing – a system that finds you a place at a university with availability on courses. From July to September, applicants can look for alternative universities and courses that interest them and deal with course providers directly to negotiate an offer.

It can be stressful, especially when your friends are out celebrating their results and don’t have think about finding suitable placement.

Here are our tips to make the process less painful:

1. Stay calm

It’s easy to get flustered when you think the number of positions left are limited and diminishing by the minute.


But here’s a piece of good news. Universities want to offer as many places as possible to students through Clearing as applications from UK school-leavers and EU undergraduates this year fall. So keep calm, think positive and read the next tip.

2. Know yourself

Choosing which course to take is a big step but there’s no escaping it. You may now have to consider alternative courses, despite having already gone through the process earlier and feeling resolute about them then. Have a good hard talk with yourself and be as realistic as possible – your selected course may well dictate your future.

Check out these videos by the School of Life – a project to promote better emotional intelligence – on how to find meaningful and fulfilling work to find a course and career path you will love and respect.

3. Start researching

Now that you’ve gotten acquainted with yourself, start researching on both the Clearing process as well as the universities and courses. UCAS’ page alone is a treasure trove of information on how to navigate the Clearing process, so does Which? University’s survivor’s guide to clearing.

To find out more about unis and courses, always check the list of available universities on UCAS and pick up the phone to call them to discuss whether they will accept you even if you didn’t get the grades. If it’s possible, try to speak to alumni or visit your choices of universities too to get a feel of the place. And for all the news about universities, read Study International News.

4. Act fast

Done with your self-searching and research on unis? Then it’s time to start running. Clearing places get snapped up quickly by anxious students. If you can, try to get your chosen university to give you an informal offer on the phone and their permission before putting in your Clearing choice on UCAS.

5. Focus on the future

Sure, you had to do a little more work than your friends who already secured a place earlier. But trust us, you’ll be all the better for it after.

As 19-year-old Kai Newton, who went through clearing last year to study biomedical sciences at the University of Hull told The Guardianshe found out all the different routes to reach her goals – something she wouldn’t have known had she not gone through Clearing.

“I think I’m now more determined and independent,” Newton said.

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