Surviving Clearing – it’s not too late!

Charlotte Hoets

Surviving Clearing – it’s not too late!

By Charlotte Hoets, Careers and Progression Lead at Westminster Kingsway College

If you’ve missed the grades you need for university, you can still apply for another course through UCAS’ Clearing system. You can also apply for a new course after you receive your results if your grades exceed the conditions set in your firm offer – use UCAS Adjustment for this and you don’t lose your original place while you consider new options.

Clearing officially continues until 22 October, but many courses fill up rapidly as available places are allocated from results day onwards. Referring back to your original research into potential options can help speed things up, but it’s also a good time to keep an open mind and speak to someone about other pathways to your goals.

You can use Clearing if:

  • you didn’t receive any offers (or none that you wanted to accept)
  • you didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
  • you’ve declined your firm place using the ‘decline my place’ button in UCAS Track

Keep your details together and apply ASAP

Although in theory, you have until 22 October to secure a place, you will stand a better chance of getting onto the course you want if you act quickly. Don’t wait as each day more course places will be taken by other students.

When speaking to universities about a place through Clearing, you’ll need your UCAS Clearing Number in addition to your UCAS ID number. You will find this on your Track page. You’ll need the full title of the course(s) you’re interested in, and its course code ideally (from UCAS or the university course information page). Make sure you tell the university all of your grades, Level 3 (A Level, BTEC/UAL/City & Guilds vocational course, etc.) and your GCSEs. Every piece of information can make a difference.

Know how you’re suited to this new course

For your own confidence in making this big decision, you should know why this new course is a good match for you. Make sure you read all the course information thoroughly and don’t just rely on a course title to choose it. When phoning universities during Clearing you may have to justify your Clearing application over the phone, so be ready in that phone call to give a clear reason for your new choice. Courses in a few subject areas will also need you to be interviewed in advance – Nursing and Social Work, for example – so you need to be well prepared and available at short notice.

Your next steps

If you are a WestKing student, our team of Careers and Employability Advisers are on hand to support you through the process of applying to university. They supported a lot of our A Level students on results day and they can help you too. 

There are also a lot of useful resources and information, as well as on the Clearing process, at UCAS.

Finally, don’t forget to consider alternatives to the traditional full-time degree at a university. Many colleges, including WestKing, offer higher education courses, including Foundation Degrees, HNDs and even full Bachelor’s Degrees. You can pursue higher education through the workplace too, part-time or through an apprenticeship. A change in direction can really open up new opportunities. Good luck!

Capital City College Group offers a range of Higher Education qualifications that could be just right for you. Our career-focused courses have lower tuition fees than university and offer highly supportive, expert teaching with small groups and one-to-one support. Take a look here or speak to the college’s Careers and Employability Advisers.

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