A Guide to Clearing: Planning Ahead for A Level Results Day

We’ve always been told ‘prior preparation prevents poor performance’, so ahead of A Level results day on Thursday 15 August, here are our top tips on preparing for the big day, whatever the outcome.

If you miss the grades you need for university – or have done better than they expected – you may be able to apply for another through UCAS’ Clearing system. Clearing runs through UCAS between July and September, offering students the opportunity to fill vacant spaces at other universities. If you have already applied for a university through UCAS, you may be eligible to apply to others through clearing if you meet UCAS’ basic criteria.

Plan

Prior to getting your results, ensure you have a backup option you are happy with. Take the next few weeks to research other universities, campuses and programmes. Note that requirements may be slightly lower for Clearing, as universities are keen to fill spaces.

Research which courses you could see yourself doing well on should you not get your first or second choice options. 83% of students who apply through clearing report themselves to be satisfied with their decision.

Importantly, it will stand in your favour if, on the day, you call universities not sounding like this is a rushed or uninformed decision. Having a good idea of why you are suitable for a particular course will make the interview run much more smoothly and, crucially, make you a more desirable candidate than somebody who hasn’t really thought about their options.

Keep your details together

If you find yourself in the position of applying to universities through clearing on Results Day, come prepared with your UCAS Clearing Number, which you will find on your Track page. Keep a list of phone numbers for universities and call early to ensure you do not miss out on limited spaces.

You have until 22 October to sort everything out, but stand a better chance of getting onto the course you are most interested in if you waste no time phoning up Admissions and getting straight to the interview.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

When you get through to your preferred university, you will likely need to go through a 15-20 minute interview, talking about yourself and your eligibility for the course.

Aside from sharing your details, this is your opportunity to sell yourself as a strong and interesting prospective student. Ahead of results day, form an idea of who you are and what sets you apart: what courses do you like? What are you good at? What work experience have you done? In short—how has your experience so far prepared you for this course?

Own the situation and speak confidently about why you are still well-suited to the life and programme you are applying for.

Feel free to save and share our resource for interview planning ahead of Clearing in August:

Clearing Interview Flowchart

Talk to us

The college has professional careers advisors with one hundred success stories of helping match students with a happy alternative. On Results Day, you’ll find us walking around offering free advice. It’s our job to help you make informed decisions during times like these. Your teachers will also be on hand to offer advice on resits, should that be the best next step.

If you have done your research, called universities and still not found an option that suits you, speak to us in person and we will endeavour to help you find an option that you will be happy taking.

Don’t forget 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 advisors.

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