Follow our five top tips to breeze through Clearing and get onto the right course for you.
Do your research
Start researching universities and courses before you get your results. Look for things like the course content, the university's location, student satisfaction, work experience opportunities and accommodation policies for Clearing applicants. Make a note of the Clearing phone numbers and opening times so you’re ready to start making calls on results day.
Use the Clearing 2018 listings
You'll want to get a copy of the Clearing listings as early as possible and will need to constantly check the listings as they change rapidly throughout Clearing. These are the best places for viewing Clearing listings:
- The UCAS website - You can view all Clearing vacancies from when Clearing opens on 5 July 2018. From A-level results day onwards, UCAS updates the vacancies constantly, so keep your eyes on the UCAS website
- University websites - From early August universities publish Clearing lists on their websites. If you have an idea which universities you want to apply to, be sure to check their websites regularly for courses you might be interested in. You can find university contact details on the Clearing contacts directory 2018 on The Student Room.
Be prepared for phoning universities
A call to a university is like a job interview, it's your chance to make a great impression by showing your suitability and enthusiasm for the course. Prepare yourself by following these steps:
- Call from a quiet and comfortable place where you have phone and internet access.
- Make the call yourself – don’t ask a parent, teacher or friend to call for you unless you absolutely must.
- Think about what useful questions you could ask to make yourself appear inquisitive and interested, such as what accommodation you’re entitled to, bursaries you could apply for, and open day dates.
- Have an idea of what to say to sell yourself, think about your qualities and experience. You may be looking at a different course from your original application, or exploring a new subject area. If this is the case try to call the univeristy before results day, to let them know what subject area you are interested in and why. They will then be able to tell you what courses they offer in this area.
- Have all your details ready. If you've applied through UCAS, you’ll need your UCAS Personal ID (if you haven't applied through UCAS, don't worry), details of all your qualifications and exam results to date (including A level, AS level, BTEC, GCSE or equivalent results) and login details for UCAS Track. You could also have some extra information ready such as notes on the course/university you’re applying for and any questions you want to ask. Some courses might require you to have a telephone interview with a lecturer, so having this information to hand will help you feel prepared for this.
- Have a notepad on hand to record notes from the conversation. You’ll want to record important information such as the person’s name, job title, deadlines and a summary of what you discussed.
- If you receive a verbal offer, ask for written confirmation via email and check how long the offer stands for.
If the first few universities you call don’t work out, stay positive and keep calling. If your first choice says no, give them another call later in the day as entry requirements can change during Clearing and you may get offered a place.
Enter your Clearing choice on UCAS Track within the specified time
Most universities will give you a window during which their offer is valid, usually 12-48 hours. Make sure you enter your Clearing choice before this time is up (UCAS Track will re-open at 5 pm on Thursday 16th August). You should only enter a Clearing choice on Track if you have spoken to the university or college and they have offered you a provisional place. If you have any difficulty adding your Clearing choice you should let the university know as soon as possible.
You can only enter one Clearing choice at a time, so only enter a course that you have been offered a place on and that you’re sure you want to accept. However, you can talk to as many universities as you want before you decide on a course.
You haven't applied through UCAS? No problem. You can still follow all of the same steps; contact the university about the course you are interested in and if they are able to make you an offer they will register your place with UCAS and let you know what you need to do.
You can use the form below to ask us a question, book a call back on results day, or sign up for one of our Clearing visit days