Paperclip Student Brand Ambassador Louisa gives us an insight into the university Clearing process...
It’s been a tough few months for us all.
With so much disruption to our studies (not to mention everything else), thousands of us didn’t get the grades we wanted this summer. For those of us already at university, this has meant a summer of resits, or in many cases, having to start from the beginning again next time around.
For those moving from Sixth Form or college into university, this could mean missing out on your firm/insurance choices or even being left with no offers altogether.
For those left in this unenviable position, fear not, for all is not lost...
Truth bomb incoming…
This time last year, I was stuck with only one offer. After banking on getting into my firm choice, I ended up missing out by one grade. That meant I was stuck with my insurance option. To be honest, I hadn’t done my research and when I found out more about the course (and how difficult it would be for me to travel home and back), I knew I needed to make a change.
Full disclosure: it was a really stressful and uncertain few days. Thankfully, I had both my parents and a sister (who had also been through Clearing herself) to walk me through the process. I ended up enrolling at a great course at a fab uni, made a load of friends and honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Hopefully this blog can make the process a little less scary and help you find the course you want…
The next steps
So if you’ve checked back on your UCAS application since results were released, you may have seen an alert notifying you that either ‘you are in Clearing’ or simply ‘Clearing has started’.
The term Clearing, put simply, is the process where universities look to fill vacancies on courses which are not fully subscribed. It gives you an opportunity to take a look through available places on the UCAS website, learn more about the courses and institutions that interest you, and enquire as to whether or not they can offer you a place.
My advice: research, research and research some more. Trust me, you’ll be doing a lot of it at uni so you might as well get used to it!
Each year, there are thousands of vacancies at universities up and down the country. That being said, you need to make sure the course, the syllabus and the uni itself, is the right fit for you. Rushing into a course at a university you know nothing about is a recipe for disaster.
Once you’ve written up your shortlist, and weighed up the pros and cons of each option, you need to prepare yourself for contacting the universities. Don’t worry, it isn’t as scary as it sounds…
Start off by making sure you get the contact details of the right person or department (you can usually find this on the UCAS website) and prepare a few lines about why you’re interested in the course and why you think it will be a good fit for yourself. The staff at the university won’t ask you any personal questions, or grill you as to why you didn’t get the grades you wanted, they just want to know that you are serious about the course and succeeding at the uni.
As I mentioned earlier, there are thousands of empty spaces at uni courses all over the UK. That being said, not all universities are available in Clearing – but most are. Likewise, not every course will have vacancies. It’s important to keep an open mind, but also not to rush into a course just because it’s there.
Once you’ve made your decision, head back to the UCAS portal and add your new choice. This should become an offer in the next couple of days. You can then accept it and guess what, you’re on your way to Higher Education!
Things to bear in mind…
- There are loads of free resources available online providing further info and tips for contacting unis (check out: TUG’s Guide to Clearing).
- Be patient! Universities are super busy this time of year and you may have to wait on hold for a while before speaking to your uni rep.
- Remember the deadline. Clearing is due to close on 19th October – but I really don’t recommend you leave it that late! Clearing process works on a first come, first serve basis. Don’t panic and rush into something, but make sure you don’t let this deadline pass you by.
- Have a good think about where you are living. Quite often, the university halls are fully booked way before results are released. My advice would be to check out private accommodation like Student Roost. They have locations near most of the big unis and they have a great reputation. The buildings are safe and secure and the booking process is super easy.
- Don’t stress. Though it’s really important to get organised and for you to do your research, don’t worry – you still have a few weeks to find the course, uni and accommodation of your dreams!
Published by: Laurence in Perspective