Understanding Clearing in Your Course Selection

As we all know, not everybody is a straight A student and when exam results come in, many people discover to their horror, that they have not achieved the grades they had anticipated, and worse, which their chosen university was demanding. This does not have to be the end of the world though, as much as one door closes, another one opens, so it is with University courses and there is probably a course out there that you will be accepted for. This is where the process known as clearing comes into play.

How Clearing Operates

Quite simply clearing involves connecting potential students, with courses that still have vacancies and is available to anyone who has made a Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), undergraduate application, but has not yet received any offers. If you had a conditional offer, but your results were not satisfactory, you can start to use clearing from the moment you receive your results, while clearing 2018 will commence from July onwards, if you have your results but no offers, or none that you are happy with. It is worth mentioning that if you had a provisional offer, but your grades were only slightly below what you had been looking for, it is not necessarily the case that you have automatically been refused. It is always worth checking with the University, because you might still have just made it.

Preparation for Clearing

It is advisable to have thought in advance what you plan to do if your grades fall short, or your chosen course is not available, so preparing for clearing should really begin early. Make a list of 5-10 options for different universities or courses that interest you and make sure you have those universities contact details easily to hand. The admissions team at each place will want to know why you are so interested in them and their course, so make sure you have some answers written down and ready, and be sure to have some questions ready for them too.

Finding Course Vacancies

University courses available are released on the same day that A level results are announced and can be found on the UCAS website and the Daily Telegraph, who run a clearing special on results day. While you are able to contact as many universities as you like, you can only actually apply for one at a time on the UCAS clearing system. Hence, think long and hard before accepting the first offer you receive, as a bit more research and a few more calls might find you the course and location that will really work for you. Once you have decided you will need to go to the UCAS Track page and click “enter clearing choice” and enter the course details you were given by your intended university, which will act as confirmation that you have accepted the offer. The University will confirm your acceptance, which will be immediately visible on the Track page and will be followed with an official letter through the post. Remember, a lot of people will be hunting for limited spaces, so get off the mark early, confirm the course you want swiftly, and be prepared to start the process again if your chosen course falls through.

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