The University Clearing can be a daunting and emotional experience, particularly as it may feel like being in limbo without knowing what lies around the corner, but following these top tips should help with understanding the process and making it a less stressful experience.
1. Ring universities as soon as possible
You will need your clearing number for this, something which UCAS will automatically assign to you if you have been unsuccessful with your firm and insurance offers. This can be found on UCAS Track, something which all applicants use to track their entire application process.
Phoning universities as soon as possible after getting results is advisable as there will be thousands of people hoping to get a place, and phoning early could make a huge difference. Providing your Clearing number also means that admissions tutors at universities can view your full application and could quickly make a verbal offer over the phone.
Also, your first choice university may still accept you if your grades are not far off what they were asking for. It is certainly well worth giving the admissions officer a call.
2. Keep calm and think carefully before accepting an offer
Don’t think that just because you are in the Clearing process means that you are obliged to accept the offer that a university provides. Most university courses are 3 years long, and regardless of how you get there in the end, this is a long amount of time to invest in your studies. Whichever place you choose should be one that you feel happy to go to.
3. Do your research on the universities and courses
Whichever university and course you choose to undertake, it is well worth finding out more about them. Ask if you can visit the university before accepting an offer through Clearing; some will say yes whilst still holding the offer open. Check out official data on universities and courses on Unistats, and make sure that you look into the finer details of courses; the same course code at a different university does not mean that you will be covering the exact same topics.
4. Don’t be afraid to change courses
Clearing presents a great opportunity to try expand your horizons and try something new. For instance, joint honours courses present a great opportunity to combine the subject that you want to study with another subject. There are a surprising number of combinations available, from Geography with Chinese to Business Studies with Travel and Tourism. Slightly different variations of your course may also be available, so there is no need to deviate too far from your goal if you don’t want to.
5. Be calm on results day and think about what you want from your university experience
Above all, remember what you personally wanted from your university experience when you first applied and keep this in mind. Things to consider include how far you want to be away from home and the kind of university campus you want to study at. If you were set on studying in London then a university in Wales is unlikely to enable you to get what you wanted from your 3-year studies.