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How To Get A Place At University Through UCAS Clearing

Jun 13, 2008
If you don't achieve the grades you needed for the course you wanted to study at university it can feel like the end of the world. You have a number of options, you can take a year out and reapply to university with the grades that you have, you could go back to college and give it another go or you could apply for a place at university in the current year through clearing courses.

So what do you do if you don't make the grades? The first thing to do is to phone the institution and ask to speak to the admissions tutor to see if they will still take you. They may still need to fill spaces on the course and since they have invested time in you and your application, they may prefer to take you rather than a new applicant. If this is unsuccessful, try the same with your insurance offer. If you are unlucky with them, then is the time to look into clearing.

Clearing is widely used and over 30,000 students find their places at university through it each year. You are eligible for clearing if; you don't hold any offers, you have not achieved the grades needed to be confirmed on the course you applied for, you have declined your offers or not responded by the date due or you applied after June 30th (or June 12th for route B applications).

University clearing starts in mid July. It is a very efficient service supported by a good team of advisors who are incredibly helpful in assisting the process to make it easier and less stressful for you.

You may not have made the grades you need to get into your first choices but if you can be more flexible with your course or choice of university, clearing can offer you lots more choice and you can find something that will suit you.

UCAS know the A level results slightly ahead of their release to students so that they can advice universities and they can start to prepare their clearing lists. This means that most universities can release their places for clearing on the day of your results. The Independent newspaper publishes the list of spaces for clearing and you can also find it on the UCAS website.

Try not to feel too panicked, it is stressful to have things up in the air so close to the start of university but try to keep a cool head so that you don't rush into something that could be wrong. There are lots of things to consider and you need to be calm and collected.

If you are eligible for clearing then you will automatically receive your clearing passport from UCAS. If you think you are eligible for clearing and haven't been sent a clearing passport then you should contact UCAS.

You do not need to wait for your clearing passport to contact universities. Have a look at the clearing listings, research the courses available and make a note of ones you are interested in and contact them via telephone. Have your UCAS number, clearing number (if you have it yet) and exam results available for when you are speaking to them and be enthusiastic about the course. If the admissions tutor is interested in offering you a place they will ask you to send your clearing passport to them.

Once the university have received the clearing passport and if they decide that they will offer you a place, they will inform UCAS. UCAS will then send you a confirmation letter automatically.

Don't be hasty. Make sure that you have done enough research on the courses available and aren't just rushing in. If you can, go to the institution and have a look around, the decision you are about to make is a very important one and shouldn't be done blindly.

You can only send your clearing passport to one institution at a time. When you are asked by a university to send your passport to them, they are in effect, offering you a place. If you do not feel convinced that you want to take up a place on their course, don't fill your forms in. Keep looking at other options and when you feel sure, send your clearing passport then.

Clearing doesn't have to be stressful and you can still get on to a great course at a good university. So don't worry if things don't pan out the way you had first hoped, life is an adventure after all!
About the Author
Student Book is a website for prospective and current students. It offers a university comparison tool and a wealth of information on the ins and outs of applying to university. The site is also a guide to student life with advice on finance, welfare, study skills, accommodation and a lot more. These are helpful, relevant and entertaining articles aimed at students and future students.
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