Five top tips for UCAS Clearing

UCAS Clearing can seem like a stressful process, with students and families feeling as if they must panic buy to find a place. However, by approaching the process calmly and logically, some good outcomes can be had. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Don’t assume that because you missed the offer you were holding that the university won’t still take you. UCAS Track can give you more information, but if things are still unclear then get on the phone and find out what the situation is. Universities know that taking a student who has just missed their offer is likely to lead to a better outcome for the student (who has, after all, researched and possibly visited that university already) than if they took a student through Clearing who is trying to find something last-minute.

  2. There might be reasons why you didn’t get the offer which your school can help you with. Were the grade boundaries different from previous years? Does the school see a trend with marking? Were you close to a boundary up? Speak to your adviser at school and possibly the relevant subject Heads of Department about whether any of these apply.

  3. Understand how things might work with your insurance offer; if you missed the firm choice, did you meet their conditions? If so, are you happy to go to your insurance? If so, then away you go!

  4. If you find yourself looking around in clearing, then take your time on the Thursday of A Level Results to go through the process methodically. What criteria will you set for subject, location and style of university? When you have those, look through the various clearing lists online or on paper and note down universities and courses that meet those. Then, start contacting the universities, with the aim being to get a number of offers on the table that day. That evening, sit down and go through the information about each university and put them in your order of preference. Look at online reviews, YouTube videos, Q&A on Quora (“what’s it like to study at X university?”) and then make your choice, ready to action it the next day.

  5. Remember that the process doesn’t have to be over in one day, or one week. You can take longer if you need to, and if your results are really not what you (and your school) think you are really capable of, then look into the options of retakes and a reapplication as part of a Gap Year.

As ever, we are here to help with all aspects of clearing and UK applications. If you’d like some guidance, please get in touch!

UKDavid Hawkins