Thinking about applying through clearing? You’re in great company! Thousands of students, myself included, have successfully gained university places from clearing or adjustment year after year. Just to recap, clearing might be for you if:
- You’re making a UCAS application after 30 June
- You don’t have any offers (or any offers that you’d like to accept) from universities that you’ve applied for.
- Your university place is not confirmed after you’ve received your exam results.
There are plenty of opportunities to study at top universities through clearing. However, applying to universities that you may not know much about, or have not been able to visit, can be pretty daunting. Here are some top tips for how to prepare for university if you think you might go through clearing:
Do your research
Read up on courses that you might be interested in and make a list of the universities you’d like to contact. Remember to consider things like grade requirements, course content, location and student life. I would advise you not to pick a course out of panic; make sure that the course and university feel right for you! If you can’t find a place that feels like a good fit, you could always consider taking a break and reapplying.
Reach out for advice
Your teachers and loved ones are on your side. Is there anyone in your life that might be able to advise you? An ex-student with clearing experience? Talk through your options with someone you trust.
Have some contact details ready
Once you’ve made your list of universities you’d like to contact, write down their clearing contact details. This will save you time when phoning universities on results day. You should also have the following information to hand:
- Your UCAS clearing number
- Your exam results
Prepare to answer some interview-style questions
Some calls with universities are speedy and straightforward. They may only ask for your basic information (grades, ID, etc.) before making you an informal offer. However, some advisors might ask you a few more questions. This is nothing to be nervous about! Think of this as a chance to solidify your reasons for wanting to study. Even though you might not be asked much, I’d say it’s best to prepare some short answers to the following questions just in case:
- Why do you want to study on this course?
- Why do you want to study at this university?
- What made you decide to apply for a different course?
Jot down any questions you might have
Contacting universities is a good opportunity to get the information you need to make the right choice. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, jot down some questions and be ready to ask them. Here are a few examples:
- What accommodation can I apply for?
- How do I apply for a bursary/am I eligible to apply?
- What sort of pastoral and/or learning support is available at the university?
Try to visit the university before you’re due to start
You can learn a lot about a university through browsing through their websites, following their social media pages, and chatting to student ambassadors. However, if you choose to accept a place through clearing, it’s really useful to try to visit the university before you’re due to start.
A university tour will give you a richer sense of the place and (hopefully) get you even more excited to start your next chapter! Have a look at the visiting options your prospective university offers. If in-person visits are not available, are there any virtual tours or open days that you could join?
Sort out your student finance
If you’ve already applied for a student loan and switch courses via clearing, don’t forget to update your finance application. If you haven’t applied yet, don’t worry, there is still time!
Stay calm and stay positive!
Although applying for university is bound to feel at least a little bit nerve-wracking, as we’ve covered, there are lots of things you can still do to prepare. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you might find it helpful to check out these top tips for managing stress around clearing. Otherwise, trust that you will end up in the right place for you. By doing this prep, you’re setting yourself up for an exciting future!
Remember: if your plans change, nothing is un-figure-out-able, and it is not the end of the world. You’ve got this. Good luck!
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