YOUNG VOICES

A Guide Through Clearing And UCAS Track: Tips And Advice If You Don't Get The A-Level Grades

05/08/2014 10:20 BST | Updated 05/08/2014 10:59 BST
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So, results day is looming, and you’re anxiously waiting to find out whether all your hard work has paid off. If you’re worried you may not make the grades you need, then it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for the possibility that you may have to go through clearing.

Take a look at some alternative options or have a think about what else you might like to do. A little preparation can help keep you calm in what could potentially be a stressful situation.

On the other hand, if it gets to results day and things don’t turn out how you expected, the most important thing to remember is to not panic. Thousands of students go through clearing every year, so you’re definitely not on your own!

Although it might be tough, it’s important to try and keep a level head when making your decisions.

Check out this infographic from Middlesex University - and make sure to read the advice below.

middlesex university

The first step is to log in to UCAS Track, a page you may have become familiar with throughout the application process. Here you’ll find your clearing number. Make a note of this as you’ll need it later on. The next step is to start contacting universities. UCAS will publish a list of the courses available through clearing, so you can call up the selected university to begin the process.

When calling, the prospective universities will need certain information from you, such as your grades, clearing number and your UCAS ID. Keep at the front of your mind the reasons why you want to be on the course and why you want to go to university, as some universities may ask you interview-style questions whereas others may just want to know your grades.

Try and find some peace and quiet whilst making these calls; results day can be stressful for your friends and family too, but only you can provide your information and speak to the university due to laws around data protection. One way in which your parents can help you is for them to do a little background research on your university options. You may feel like you’re short on time, so the advice and information they’ll come across could be a big help, plus it’ll help them to feel useful in an otherwise stressful situation.

Although going through clearing can be hard, consider advice from your parents, friends and teachers but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. Think about the practicalities of your options too, not just the course. Think about what was important to you when you applied to university. Does it have good accommodation? Are there lots of societies? How far away from home will you be? Although moving to a brand new city has its perks, you may need to find a compromise. Calling universities also provides you with the opportunity to ask them questions, so if there’s something you’d like to know, don’t be afraid to ask.

Once you’ve contacted your chosen universities, been offered a place and received your confirmation, you can enter the details onto UCAS Track for processing. And most importantly at this stage – well done! You’ve made it, and can begin to look forward to university living.