Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Clearing – making the call

If your results were not what you expected, you may have found yourself in Clearing. If so, there’s no need to panic. Last year, over 61,000 applicants secured a place through Clearing.

By now you’ve probably had a look at our search tool for Clearing vacancies. If you’ve found the ideal course for you, that’s great news! But you shouldn’t rush your decision and add the choice in Track. You should call the uni first to make sure they still have vacancies, discuss your application, and also to check whether they can accept you.

Making that call may appear daunting but we’ve got some words of advice from three universities on what to expect.

1) Laura Howells, Admissions Officer at Cardiff Metropolitan University

‘Clearing can seem like a confusing and stressful time for students but with some careful research and preparation, it doesn’t have to be!

Firstly, make sure you know which programme you want to apply for and check if there are vacancies. Most universities will publish a list of course vacancies on their website but you can also check the UCAS search tool.

Know what qualifications and results you’ve achieved. If you’re made an offer, it’s likely that we’ll ask you to send in copies of your qualifications – so it might be worth digging out those GCSE certificates!

When contacting universities, it’s best to be as clear as possible about your situation so that we can give you the best possible options. Universities will normally want to know what you’ve studied and what you want to study, as well as some personal details. For some courses you may be put through to a lecturer to have an informal chat about the course. However, our advisers will talk you through your options and what to do next if you want to accept an offer.

Remember that it’s your chance to ask some questions too! Find out about work placements, sports facilities, and assessment methods to make sure the course and university suits you. It’s also worth finding out if the university offers any Clearing open days.

However, the most important tip we can share with you is not to panic! Although Clearing can seem like a race to find a place, your university will be your home for the next three to four years so make sure that you take your time to make the right decision.

Have a look at these inspirational Clearing stories from Cardiff Met.’

2) Louise Carr, Student Recruitment Officer at Liverpool University

‘We appreciate that calling a university during Clearing can be pretty stressful, so here are our top five tips to help you prepare for making that call, and to help you find the right university for you:

1. Research: Admissions requirements vary greatly at different institutions. Before and during results day, look at websites to find universities that suit your academic profile and make a list of these to contact. If you are likely to achieve B grades, you don’t want to sell yourself short by accepting a course that requires D grades, and vice versa.

2. Qualifications: Universities make offers based on your results, so make sure you know exactly what qualifications you have completed, and your full results. For example, if you have a BTEC, what type of BTEC is it? Be prepared to talk about any relevant work experience you might have, particularly for more vocational courses. It’s also helpful to think about why you want to study your particular subject and why it interests you.

3. In person: On results day, you’ll need access to the internet and a telephone to make enquiries yourself. University staff can really only discuss your application and your results with you.

4. Ask: Selecting a course and university is a big decision so make a list of questions that will help you make an informed choice. Ask about the modules that make up your course, any study abroad opportunities, scholarships, accommodation, etc. Also, remember to find out what you need to do next if you want to accept the Clearing offer, and if there is a deadline to do that by.

5. Who to contact: The UCAS website is a good starting point for advice, and don’t forget your teachers as they have helped many students before you. Universities will have information about any remaining course vacancies on their homepages, for example at Liverpool, is updated with all our latest information.

Finally, try to keep calm and call upon your support network both at home and at school.’

3) Helen Wright, Undergraduate Admissions Manager at Swansea University

‘Finding out that your best laid plans haven’t worked out and realising that you are in Clearing can be a really scary moment, but the best advice I can give you is don't panic! Easier said than done, I know, but the majority of universities these days take a large proportion of applicants through Clearing, have a wide range of vacancies, and are ready to take your phone call.

What will happen when I phone a university in Clearing?

When you call our Helpline Team, you will be asked for:
1. Your UCAS number (if you are already in the UCAS system for this cycle)
2. The name of the course (or type of course) you're interested in
3. Details of your qualifications
4. A valid email address as you will be sent an email if you are offered a place

Make sure you have all of the above information in front of you before you call – even if you know your UCAS ID inside out and upside down, it’s amazing how many people’s minds go blank when they ring up! Also make the call yourself – once you start chatting, you might find you have lots of questions that pop in to your head.

University phone lines can get very busy so be patient and keep trying. Alternatively, many universities have online Clearing application forms so you can also submit your application via that method too. Admissions Tutors will be constantly checking applications so you should get a decision quickly.

Once you have secured an offer, take a breather and research a bit more about the course and university you might like to go to. You can’t add a Clearing choice until 17:00 on Thursday 13 August so there is plenty of time to ponder.

Good luck!’

Got any questions about Clearing? Put your questions to our helpful advisers on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, check out our video wall for lots of advice on how to use Clearing.

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