It’s distressing opening that envelope on A level results day to find you haven’t attained the grades you need to confirm your place on the #university course of your dreams. If you find yourself in this position on Thursday 13th August, try not to despair. There’s a chance you might still be accepted if your grades have only slipped a little and if not, as long as your grades are reasonable and you are prepared to be proactive and flexible, you should secure an alternative.
Here are our top tips to make the day as stress free as possible and to ensure the best possible outcome, whatever you’re faced with.
- Be available at exam results time. If you’ve only just missed out on your university offer grades, check your status in Track as your place may have been confirmed anyway. Congratulations!
- If your status is unchanged, there’s no need to panic yet. If not confirmed or rejected by mid-morning, pick up the phone to the university admissions team, as they may not have made a decision on your application as yet. Be calm and ask when you might hear and let them know you’re still really keen to study with them.
- If the answer is no but your grades have only been missed by one or two marks, so your school may be recommending a re-mark, call the university to explain. Be calm and polite. Places are very competitive so unless your school or adviser feels you have a strong case to ask the university to re-consider, it’s probably not worth the call.
- If your first choice university answer is no, consider your back-up offer carefully. Before accepting, ask yourself if this is a course you really want to study at a university you wish to attend. A minimum of three years study on the wrong course in a location you don’t enjoy will seem like a very long time.
- If you find yourself without a confirmed place at either of your course options, act quickly to find an alternative. It can be difficult to be motivated and enthusiastic at a time when you are experiencing disappointment, but the key to success is to get involved in the Clearing process as early as possible.
UCAS Clearing allows those who have not secured a place on their chosen course to research places on alternative courses. It can also be used by those who did not accept any offers received during the UCAS application process or applied too late for their application to be processed via UCAS.
- If you are eligible for Clearing, Track will say ‘you’re in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’. If it is taking a while, it may be your university choices are taking a while to decide on places.
- Look at the official Clearing vacancy list online via UCAS or via The Telegraph by clicking here http://clearing.telegraph.co.uk/
- Seek advice from your school or an education consultant. Their familiarity with the Clearing system will give you a head-start in using it effectively, as well as assist you to quickly find courses of interest. Vacancies get snapped up so it can be useful to have expertise to support you, in being effective and speedy to move forward with anything that interests you.
- Keep an open mind when viewing the course vacancy lists. You do not need to stick to your original course of study and may find alternative courses that did not occur to you previously.
- Keep an eye on the Clearing information on a regular basis. Courses that were full can sometimes have vacancies later, so always be up-to-date with the latest information.
- Contact universities with courses of interest as soon as possible. Have your exam results, your UCAS personal ID and Clearing number to hand. You will find your Clearing number will appear automatically in Track
- Once you have found some places on courses which interest you through the UCAS website, call your chosen universities. They will put you in touch with the admissions tutor and you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the course and to tell them a bit about yourself and why this course interests you. Prepare a few questions in advance such as will they provide accommodation and make sure that you have practised selling yourself over the phone. Try the lift test. If you had one minute in the lift to tell them why they should offer you a place, what would you say?
- It might be useful to have a copy of your personal statement to hand, just incase there are things in it that might be useful to highlight, in response to questions you are asked by the admissions tutor.
- Ideally you should visit the university campus before making a final decision, but be prepared to verbally accept or decline an offer on the spot. With this in mind, it is a good idea to telephone the universities in order of your preference for the courses they are offering.
- To accept an offer which has been made to you over the phone, you need to enter the course details on Track via the ‘Add a Clearing Choice’ button. If the university then formally accepts you, confirmation will appear in the ‘Choices’ of Track and UCAS will follow this up with an official confirmation letter in the post.
- If you are not formally accepted by the university the ‘Add a Clearing Choice’ button in Track will be re-activated and you can add another course form the Clearing list.
Some useful website links for step by step advice during Clearing.
Clearing explained by UCAS click here https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/apply-and-track/results/clearing-service-2015
Clearing places search tool click here http://search.ucas.com/