Clearing Portsmouth: How to apply to University via Clearing and the clearing process on A-level results day 2021

With results day fast approaching, it’s important to have a back-up plan in case your grades didn’t work out how you planned.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 10:07 am
A Level Results Day. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Applying for university and the thought of getting your exams back can be really stressful for students.

With many university applicants anxiously counting down to results day, we have pulled together a guide on what to do if it doesn’t go as planned.

Here is all you need to know:

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What is Clearing?

Once your exam results have been published, many universities will have places open should you decide against your first and second choice universities or not meet the entry requirements.

This means universities can fill up any spare places on their courses. Clearing can also give you the opportunity to choose a different course at the same (or entirely new) university.

UCAS Clearing is the best way to find a course or university that is more suited to you in the UK. There is also the option of applying directly through the chosen university’s Clearing helplines.

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Why choose Clearing?

When choosing a university, it’s very important to choose one that’s right for you. It’s not just the course that determines your time at university; it’s the location, the social aspects and what’s right for you.

Clearing can be an option if:

-You decide against your firm (first choice) and insurance (second choice) universities.

-You decide to change course.

-You applied before 30th June, yet haven’t received any offers.

-You applied after 30th June and are automatically put through clearing.

-You were unsuccessful with getting into your first or second choice.

In some cases, you may have missed out on your first or second choice university by a few marks. It’s important to check with the university whether they will still accept you despite this. For example, the course requirement may have been ABB and you received ABC. The university may still accept your place because you narrowly missed out!

If you are unhappy with the grades you’ve received, you can try to appeal it through your school or college.

How to prepare for clearing.

If you’re not confident that you’ll get into your chosen university, here’s some ways to prepare for the big day.

-Search for similar courses in what you’d like to do that have lower entry requirements or universities that were not in your original top 5 UCAS choices.

- UCAS list Clearing vacancies from early July to see what universities have potential spaces.

-Prepare important information and documents. You’ll need these when you start applying through Clearing (e.g. numbers for potential universities, your UCAS number and your a-level/ GCSE grades). Have a pen at the ready to jot down any important information during the calling process!

- Prepare for the phone calls. The phone calls are an important part of the Clearing process, you want to make the right impression!

-Revisit your personal statement. Universities look at your personal statement to see if you’re the right fit for them and could ask about what you’d written.

-Follow UCAS and your Clearing choices on social media. The UCAS twitter page is @ucas_online and is great for finding updates on Clearing and where you can receive any help or Clearing advice should you need it.

Clearing on results day:

Clearing is fast paced and often hectic on results day.

Be sure to check UCAS Track first thing to see whether you got into your chosen university.

This site will not post your A-Level grades, so make sure to pick them up from your school or college! If you’re eligible for Clearing, UCAS Track will supply you with a Clearing number which you can use for calling other universities.

UCAS also has a Clearing Plus tool on their website, which can match your track information to other courses. Alternatively, UCAS has a search tool where you can search for other courses and universities.

Lastly, prepare yourself for a lot of waiting on results day. Universities will be very busy trying to cater for every student and the earlier you are, the more successful you could be!

Universities will tell you straight away whether they wish to accept your application or not and you will have 24 hours to accept or decline their offer.

How many universities can you apply to?

During the clearing process, you may reach out to as many universities as you like but you may only add your top Clearing choice into UCAS Track. It’s so important to pick the right university for you, so be sure to ring up as many as possible to get the best offer.

Some universities can also accept lower grades so be sure to be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the course when speaking to the admissions colleague if you do not match the entry requirements.

What happens after the clearing process?

After you’ve accepted a university place, it’s time to prepare for university! Make sure to sort out accommodation, the right documents needed for your first few weeks and update student finance on where you’ll be studying.

Universities have procedures in place to help find the best living accommodation for you even though their university wasn’t your first choice. This information will be on their website.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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