August marks one of the most significant and long-awaited months in the student calendar: A-level results month. Many students across the UK will be collecting their results on Thursday 17th August; with lots anxiously waiting to discover if they have achieved the grades required for their dream university and course.
But, what do you do if your results don’t go to plan? Well, you may choose to go through Clearing; the process by which students find another uni or course, and institutions fill any remaining spaces that they have. We know that for many, this can be one of the most stressful times in a student’s life. So, we have put together 10 easy steps for you to follow to survive Clearing…
1. Don’t panic!
Take a deep breath and keep calm. Thousands of students find university places through Clearing every year – so don’t worry, it is possible and you can do it!
2. Get some expert advice.
If you aren’t sure what to do next, seek some free and independent advice from an experienced careers advisor. Maybe you have an advisor on-hand at your school or college. If not, you can call the UCAS Exam Results Helpline and chat to someone about all of the options available to you.
3. See what courses and uni places are available.
Have a look at all of the courses and university places which are available and (more importantly) which fit your criteria. The Telegraph has a handy Clearing 2017 Course Search which you can use to browse the latest clearing vacancies. Draw up a top 5 list of the options you are most interested in – including the course name, code, length and start date, as well as the contact telephone numbers of the universities.
4. Call any universities that you are interested in.
Once you have drawn up your list, give the universities you are interested in a call. Their advisors will be able to tell you more about the course, uni and requirements. Make sure you have a notepad and pen handy to take notes you can refer to later. Have a look at the Which? website for some useful tips and advice on how to call universities.
5. Weigh up your options.
Once you have chatted to your top 5 university options, gathered all of the extra information you need, and hopefully got a couple of verbal offers, take some time to jot down some pros and cons of each option. Ask yourself some key questions. How far are the universities from home? What modules are included on each course? What are the course costs? What are the university rankings…?
6. Chat to your family and friends.
Talk to your peers, parents, siblings and friends. Chat to them about your options – your worries, hopes, concerns. They will give you that extra support you need in making your decision.
7. Make the right decision for you.
Remember – it is your decision! Don’t rush in to a choice which is not right for you. And don’t forget – university isn’t the only path available. You could go on a gap year, find an internship or apprenticeship or start full-time employment. Find out more about options other than university.
8. Add your Clearing choice in UCAS.
If you decide that university is definitely for you, and you have received a verbal offer from the university you want to go to, login to UCAS and add in your Clearing choice. There is more information on this available on the UCAS website.
9. Sort out your student accommodation.
You’ve confirmed your place! The next step now is to find somewhere to live. Some university halls of residence will be booked up at this point, so it is a good idea to explore private accommodation options. Some student accommodation sites, such as Accommodation for Students, will be running Clearing Hotlines, which you can use to get direct help from accommodation support teams. Others, such as CRM Students, will have lists of available student accommodation which you can browse and book online.
10. Celebrate…you’re off to uni!
Congratulations, it’s official! Celebrate with your family and friends, and let everyone know your exciting news!