The week before the A level results can be a scary time for teenagers and their parents. So, in the few days before the results are released - what can parents do to steady the ship?
Learning about the Clearing System can really help.
What I know, is that life has a habit of throwing out curve balls.
As a business woman I know all about the word 'contingency.'
Here are some pointers that will help you cope with the Clearing Process - if you find yourself needing to use it ...
BEFORE RESULTS DAY :
What Courses are available?
Using the UCAS website - establish on which courses the universities are still offering places : search.ucas.com
You can enter search using some / all the following criteria
- Course details
- University details
- Geographical Location.
Your search and be as narrow and wide as you like.
The search results will provide an alphabetical list of all universities with places still available for the course you have listed in your description.
Do you like the University?You can then click on the university offering that course and have a little look around.
- Look at their website
- Perhaps they have a virtual tour
- Visit their facebook page
- Just get a feel of the place and if you think you'll be happy there
- What are the Halls of residence like?
Do your homework and see what options suit you best.
Prioritise these options.
There will be a number of courses and universities that you like the look of.
Prioritise these - so that on results day you can phone the universities in your order of preference.
If you do like the look of the place - print off all the relevant details - you will need this on results day :
University Details : Phone Numbers, email address, website, UCAS Code, Course Code
Your Details : UCAS & Track ID, GCSE Grades, copy of personal statement,
THE NIGHT BEFORE :
Have your phones / laptops / devices charged up.
This is important - the video explains more about it.
But basically getting a clearing place is a numbers game - and the more universities that you can contact at any one time - the better.
It also helps to have some friends and family on board to help. They can man the phones and sort through some of the paper work ... and keep you calm.
When you phone, you will be placed in a long queue - so it stands to reason that the more phones you have making the calls the better your chances of getting through.
ON RESULTS DAY ITSELF :
Using your UCAS and Track ID - log onto the system.
If you have got the place that you were hoping for .... Hoorah ! Crack open the bubbly.
If you have not - you have a bit of work to do ... before you too can celebrate. You do not have the luxury of time to have a melt down right now; so stay focused.
( Chances are - that in a couple of hours time - you'll be celebrating anyway with a new offer under your belt )
Remember that the early bird catches the worm.
Remember - because you have already researched the clearing places that suit you best ( see above ) - you are ahead of the game.
UCAS says they open at 8am. When we were waiting for results - we managed to get on to the system at 6.30am!
Find your Clearing Number.
On your Track Home Page check under My Status in the top Left Hand Corner and you will find out how you have done.
If you have not met the criteria for your original university place - you will have been given a CLEARING Number. Make a note of this. You will have to use it in all your conversations with the universities you are about to contact.
They use your Clearing Number to access your records. They will be able to see your details including your A Level Results and your personal statement.
Using the your prioritised list ( prepared before ) start contacting the universities directly.
Once you get through - they will ask you for your clearing number.
Then the conversation will be a bit like a mini interview.
Remain calm and confident.
These universities want to fill their spaces
just as much as you want to have one!
If you meet the criteria for the course that you are enquiring about - they are likely to make you an offer; it is likely that this has a time limit on it. You should not be expected to make a decision there and then.
Ask the University how they expect you to communicate your choice : whether you choose to accept or decline their offer and by when.
Also ask for the accommodation phone number. It really helps to be ahead of the game - even if you haven't you accepted the offer - be front of the queue for room places.
So now it's entirely possible that you have more than one offer to consider.
Give yourself time and space to think.
1. Do you like the University? Look a the information about them.
2. Does the course sound like the sort of thing you are looking for?
3. Does it offer you the right work experience?
4. Does the course-work -v- exam ratio suit your way of studying?
5. Is the location suitable?
6. Do you still want to go to university? (Other options are available.)
It's important to understand that getting a clearing place is not a bad thing. It may indeed allow you to make different choices; ones that you had not considered when you were initially applying last Christmas.
Whatever you choose to do - this is just the next stage in your life. Another milestone.
It may not be a path that you had expected to take - but it can be filled with fun and different opportunities. So buckle up and enjoy yourselves.