11 Tips to Prepare You For Clearing

Kirsty Mason on 24 July 2018
11 Tips to Prepare You For Clearing

Clearing isn't as scary as it sounds. Here are our top tips to make sure you stroll through clearing like you're "adulting" already...

1. Stay calm

Going through clearing is not as scary as you think it is. Just because you haven’t got into the university you thought you’d be going to, doesn’t mean that you won’t be going and having the experience you always dreamed of (it may even turn out to be for the best). To calm your nerves, read these tips from Anglia Ruskin University on how to bust feelings of stress when you’re going through the clearing process.

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2. Be prepared

If you think you’re probably going to use clearing to apply to uni, then try and prepare ahead of results day. Decide on the course that you want to focus on and then make a list of the best universities offering that course including their ranking, the location and what their Halls of Residence are like. For help with picking universities, check out our league tables, on all things from nightlife to Freshers’ Week.

3. Have numbers and course codes ready

Once you’ve made your list of the universities you want to reach out to, note down all of their phone numbers, along with course codes. Don’t forget to make sure your phone is fully charged before results day.

4. Make use of university hotlines

A lot of universities have clearing hotlines which can offer advice on individual courses. If you have any questions at all, don’t be afraid to ring up and ask. That’s what they’re there for!

5. Treat the phone call like an interview

For some people, the clearing process is very straightforward and it’s just a matter of confirming your grades and that there’s still a place on the course you want to study. For others, the phone call is like a mini interview so be prepared for this. You need to be able to answer questions such as why you want to go to that particular university and why you want to study the subject you’ve chosen. Do your research on what’s offered on the course and pick out any specific modules you’d be excited to study. They need to know that you aren’t settling and that you want to study your course in order to fulfil your future career prospects. This is why it’s important that you only apply to universities that you have a genuine interest in.

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6. Emphasise your positives

Grades aren’t everything and if you have a good excuse as to why some of your grades weren’t as good as you expected, then explain this to them. If you didn’t do very well in two of your subjects but got an A in your other subject then point out to them how well you did and how hard you worked for that grade. You need to convince them that you’ll be able to achieve good grades at uni. You can also point out any work experience of extracurricular activities you’ve done which would help you with your particular course.

7. Call up the university admissions department

Once you’ve fully prepared your list of universities, the phone numbers and what you’re going to say, it’s time to call up the admissions department. It can be a daunting process and you might not be used to speaking on the phone but remember that universities do want to give you a place, you just have to show them that you deserve it. Don’t be nervous - everyone you’ll speak to on the phone is friendly and have been trained to make you feel better at a stressful time.

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8. Make sure you’re certain before accepting

Once you’ve received a formal offer and have accepted it, you can’t accept offers from any other institutions. So make sure you’re completely happy before accepting.

9. Check what help your school/ college provides

You shouldn’t feel alone when you go through this process. Most school/ colleges will provide you with help and support. There are sometimes areas dedicated to students that are going through clearing. Speak to your teachers as they will have seen hundreds of students go through clearing and will be able to provide you with some advice.

10. Consider a gap year

If your heart’s set on a particular university then you might want to consider retaking some of your exams and applying again next year. Alternatively, taking a gap year is likely to open up new opportunities for you. You may find you end up doing something you hadn’t considered before.

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11. Decide whether uni is right for you

Just because everyone’s going, doesn’t necessarily mean university is the right path for you. There are plenty of other options out there and a degree isn’t necessary for many career paths. Plus, if you decide you want to go to university in the future, then you’ll always have that option.

Final thoughts from Paige at Student Hut...

When I found out I was going to have to go through clearing, I was devastated and felt like I wasn’t going to have the experience I’d been hoping for. Looking back, it actually turned out for the best and (at the risk of making you cringe) I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else. The university that accepted me through clearing opened up so many opportunities for me which my first choice university probably wouldn’t have. Have faith in your future - you never know what great things are to come!


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Here are some ways you can avoid letting the panic take over when it comes to clearing:

Kirsty Mason
Kirsty Mason on 24 July 2018