The Bright Side of Clearing…

It’s this time of the year that all of you, who are now applying to universities, probably are a bit worried about your results – whether you’ve made it, or you didn’t perform that well… You are probably thinking What am I going to do if I don’t get the grades… will my life be over.. will mum still love me… will I become a good person… If you are not freaking out this way, there’s still hope for you – sounds a bit too dramatic.. All I really want to say is that you will be fine and everything will be sorted out in the best possible way! If you are freaking out – chill and just put your thoughts together. 🙂

Now that you’ve seen Rachael’s story and you know how she felt when she was going through Clearing, I hope you are a bit more relaxed about it. I’ve got a number of tips for you, which hopefully will help you make up your mind and get ready with an action plan in advance.

Step 1 – Prepare early!

First of all, why would you go in Clearing?

  • You don’t want to accept any of the offers
  • You haven’t received any offers
  • You applied late – after 30th June
  • You don’t match the conditional offers in terms of grades

If you recognize yourself in one of these situations, what you can do first is talk to your parents about what you want to do and seek advice from your school’s careers services. Don’t take Clearing as a failure, but as a fantastic opportunity to pick up the best place and course that will develop your abilities to their full potential. This is why the Careers Adviser can help you find out which is the course that will fit with what you want and the skills you posses. Once you’ve done this, you can talk to your parents, who just as you are somehow nervous about what will happen next. Tell them what you want to do, discuss different options, listen to their advice – it is up to you to take their advice, it won’t do any harm if you just see what they think. More importantly, parents can help you research new study options, assign them a task – they can be your little helpers. Let them research and summarize information about the Universities you may have to contact and their courses, as well as entry requirements. Show them that you know what you are doing – if you don’t actually know what you are doing, share this with them. Just as a result of talking about it, you will feel better. : )

2. Keep your head up!

If your UCAS Track says ‘Clearing’ – don’t let yourself down. Remember – there are over 100 universities and colleges that offer thousands of courses – that’s thousands of options for you to select from, all you need to do is select a couple – this makes things look better, doesn’t it?

Be quick with exploring the available courses, as there are other students out there in the same situation – you are not alone (just for your information – last year more than 55,000 students got a place at university through Clearing) 😉 It would help a lot if you can go and attend the Clearing Open Day at the Universities you consider applying for (I believe most of them will have an Open Day just after the 15th August – check out the websites). You may not know, but some students say that Clearing is one of the best things that happened to them, as they had the chance to pick up a better option for themselves.

Just a quick advice from some of my course fellows – don’t ignore the foundation courses – HND (Higher National Diploma) or HNC (Higher National Certificate). What’s the difference – the HNC lasts a year, it is modular and part-time. The HNC can be seen as the equivalent to the first year of a full-time undergraduate course. The benefits of it are that as it is part-time, meaning that you will have the time to get a job and save up some money. It can be topped up to an HND, which is the equivalent of the second year of a usual undergraduate course. As a result of completing the HND, you can top it up further with a year or two and graduate with a BA or BSc, depending on the course. It is an opportunity for you to study something that you really want but you didn’t get the results you wanted or you did not study the relevant subjects in the past. I actually fancy this option, think of its flexibility, which opens new ‘horizons’ 🙂

3. If you are a geek…

If you are a bit geeky like me and you are addicted to all the apps on your smartphone, that make your life easier and way more organised, make sure you have downloaded The Telegraph’s Clearing app – this way you will up-to-date will all vacancies and Clearing updates. : )

Here’s a link to the Android app and the iTunes app. Here’s a simple guide on how it works.

4. Time to pick up the phone and try to ‘catch the fish’

Now that you’ve got the selection of universities and courses you would like to check, it’s time for you to prepare the following list: your UCAS ID, course codes, contact information and university research. Dial the Clearing hotlines – you can find the numbers of the universities websites.

Don’t be scared – the people on the other side of the wire know how important it is for you to get a place on a course. Moreover, they are experienced and will do their best to help you. Make sure you sound confident, you know the information from the research – this way you will make a good impression on why you want to study there. It will be useful to keep a copy of your personal statement in front of you – this will help you highlight what a great candidate you are. Don’t be shy and tell them how amazing you are!

Don’t feel that you have to accept the very first offer that you receive. Don’t rush it – at the end of the day, you will be spending at least three years at the university, sooo….  make sure you like the course and the place, because you have to enjoy your time being there and learning all the new and exciting things.

Remember, to ask the questions related to accommodation – what is the process and what’s left available? what financial support is there for you, for example scholarships and loans?

Sit back, relax and make the most of the call.

In terms of the steps you need to do in your UCAS Track portal, here’s a by UCAS, which will tell you where you need to click.

In terms of which are the most popular courses at Clearing, here’s The Telegraph’s Top 12 Clearing courses. It’s worth to get an idea on which courses are the ‘hot potatoes’.

I hope I managed to make you feel less stressed about getting into Clearing. Let me know if you have any questions on what you need to do or how you can cope with the stress by posting your questions in the comments box below. Just relax and remember that it is a possibility for you to rediscover your interests and strengths.

Good luck!