It’s that time of year where college students are buzzing with excitement about getting ready for university, but it’s not always as simple as logging onto UCAS and confirming your first choice, and then packing.
In fact, thousands of students each year are left without university places for one reason or another, whether it’s because they missed the deadline or haven’t had any offers that take their fancy. Instead of having a mad panic and worrying about what you’re going to do instead, there’s always the option of clearing, which is becoming more and more popular as it’s really useful.
What is clearing?
Clearing is a UCAS service that helps people without a university or college place to find suitable vacancies on higher education courses. In fact, it helps to find places for more than 35,000 people during clearing every year. If your results weren’t quite what you were hoping for, clearing can be the perfect option as universities will put forward their courses with empty spaces that they will be willing to fill, often for slightly less high results than previously agreed.
So how does it work?
The idea is you identify courses (with vacancies) that interest you and contact the course providers directly to see if they will offer you a place. You’ll know you’re in Clearing if your Track status says ‘You are in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’.
- If your Track doesn’t say either of these yet, it might just be waiting for your results to update – get in touch with the universities/colleges if it’s taking a while – they might still be considering you, even if your results are a bit lower than required.
- If you originally only applied for one course (for the reduced fee of £12) you’ll have to pay an additional £11 to enable you to apply for multiple courses.
(Info above was taken from the UCAS website).
Advice for going through clearing
If this does sound like a good option for you – great! Clearing can be a real life line, and when you do go to uni, you’ll be amazed at how many of your course mates or friends in your student accommodation have gone through it too. We’ve put a few tips together for making the whole process easier for you:
- Be patient but persistent. Clearing may involve hours on the phone to often very little luck, so you need to stick with it if you do want to be one of the lucky ones.
- Don’t use it as a last resort. Don’t apply for courses that don’t interest you just because you haven’t quite got onto the course you wanted to – remember that course spaces are limited and someone would kill for the space you could have been given without really wanting it.
- Likewise, if you are given a shot on the phone, remember that the person on the line has the power to say yes or no to you, so be polite, enthusiastic and confident. Remember to take it seriously.
- Be prepared. Have your details near you when you are phoning, including your UCAS details, contact details and results. You will be asked for this info and will need to show how organised you are.
- Don’t panic! You’ll definitely end up with something whether you go to university or not – so don’t worry.