UK A Level Results 2018: What to do if your grades aren't what you need
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Today’s the big day for UK further education students. It’s time to collect that big brown envelope and unveil the grades your future depends on.

As you look down on the paper with bated breath, your results might be better or worse than you predicted…

If the latter is the case, there’s a chance you may have just missed the boat for getting into your top choice institutions.

But please don’t think this is the end of the line!

Clearing is a convenient digital system that helps students find a place at UK universities with availability on certain courses. From July to September, applicants can look for alternative programmes that interest them and deal with course providers directly to negotiate an offer.

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

Trust us when we say it’s worth it in the end. Here are our tips on what to do next:

1. Stay calm

It’s easy to feel flustered and frustrated when you think the limited positions are diminishing by the minute.

Here’s an information nugget to rest the weary student mind: universities want to offer as many places as possible to prospective students through Clearing, keen to ensure that applications from UK school-leavers and EU undergraduates don’t fall short. Keep calm, think positive and read the next tip.

2. Know yourself

Choosing a programme that’s perfect for you is the hardest part of the process. Since you just missed out on your top picks, you may have to find alternative courses, but that doesn’t mean you should compromise your future goals.

Most subjects cross boundaries of multiple disciplines, while courses can be called different things across each university you consider. If you were looking at Finance, for example, perhaps a programme in Accounting could be pretty much ideal; or those considering Media Studies could find everything they need in a Communications programme.

Have a long, hard, honest talk with yourself and be as realistic as possible. After all, the course you choose could wind up dictating your future.

3. Start researching

Now you truly understand yourself and your needs, it’s time to delve into the Clearing process and navigate the UK universities and courses that still have applicant openings. The UCAS page itself is a treasure trove of information on how to tackle Clearing, while Which? University’s Survival Guide to Clearing is another invaluable source.

To find out more about universities and their respective courses, check the list of available universities on UCAS and pick up the phone to discuss whether the institution will accept though you didn’t quite make the grades. If possible, try and speak to alumni or visit the university to get an authentic feel of the place. And for all the news about universities and international education, Study International News has everything covered!

4. Act fast

Done with self-searching and research on unis? Now it’s time for the sprint. Clearing places get snapped up quickly by hosts of anxious students. If you can, try and get your chosen university to give you an informal offer over the phone, receiving permission from the institution before officially registering your Clearing choice through UCAS.

5. Focus on the future

Sure, you had to do a little more work than your friends who secured a place earlier on, but now you feel all the better for it!

Next step: wait for your official acceptance letter and roll on September! Whether you found it a challenge or not, Clearing has brought you closer to achieving your dreams and you really can’t put a price on that. With a little grit, determination and an open mind, these next three years will be the best of your life and a step on the stairs to success!

Looking for more help and advice after receiving your results? Our education partner, the University of East Anglia (UEA), can offer support and guidance on all things to do with Clearing. This world-leading research institution still has a range of courses open to applicants. Click here for more information.

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