Guiding Students Through the Steps of Clearing
If one or more of your students missed out on the grades they needed for a university place they will look to their careers advisor for advice and support on what to do next. One of the most popular options for students looking to study at higher education is to go through the process of Clearing.
Clearing can be a complicated and stressful process for you the teacher, the student in question and the parents or guardians involved. To make the Clearing journey as easy as possible for all we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to ensure you are fully prepared to help your students and their families onto the next stage of their lives.
There will be tears of joy, sadness, anger and some hard-to-read faces come results day, so look out for the students who are struggling and may need you to lead them to a quiet place, away from their peers, to discuss their options. You will be the first person they want to talk to if they haven’t received the grades they’d hoped for so prepare yourself to answer all the questions they may have.
During the lead up to results day, check the UCAS website regularly and sign up to the monthly email. This contains vital information to keep you up-to-date on all things higher education and is designed to keep advisors informed on how Confirmation, Clearing and Adjustment will work.
Preparation is Key
Preparation for Clearing should begin even before results day comes around. If you or your student is worried that they may not obtain the grades they need to get onto their chosen course, encourage them to research other options to prepare for the worst case scenario.
Having a shortlist of potential backup universities and degree courses will give them one less thing to worry about once results day is here. By thoroughly researching a variety of universities and degree subjects they will have a clearer mind and will be able to make informed decisions once Clearing has started.
According to UCAS over 60,000 students applied through Clearing in 2015, proving it is a competitive process with popular courses getting snapped up fast. By preparing for the worst they will have a head start against other students and will have a wider choice of the universities and courses that are available.
Build their confidence
After the build up of anticipation throughout the summer, students can feel disheartened if they didn’t receive the grades they were hoping for. Before you discuss the option of Clearing with them, ensure they know that according to UCAS over 64,300 students found a place at university through Clearing in 2015 which means that one in eight of all university places were found through the system they will be using.
A common misconception amongst other students is that Clearing is the only route for the underachieving sixth form and college leaver. By building your student’s confidence back up and assuring them they are still ready for university, regardless of their grades, they will be better equipped to make the important decision of where they will spend the next three years of their life.
Revisiting previous applications
So you have students that are going through Clearing, where do you begin?
As a well-prepared careers advisor you will have already told them to research other universities and degree subjects before results day, keeping them one step ahead of other students going through Clearing and enabling them to go straight into phoning prospective universities.
Once they have been given their Clearing number through UCAS, it’s important to revisit their original application and re-read their personal statement with them. This will help them to remember exactly what sets them apart from other students and will help them to see that they’d be an asset to their chosen course.
They will need to be fully prepared to make the phone calls to the universities. Ensure they have their UCAS Clearing number, the course code and name of the degree that are enquiring about as well as their personal statement and A Level results fresh in their mind.
Before make that all-important phone call to the university, discuss with them the possibility that they may be asked some difficult questions. Some universities may simply ask the student for their grades and make a decision based on this, however some institutions may also want to test their suitability for the course by asking a series of thought-provoking questions.
Once your student has been offered a place they will usually have 24 hours to accept or they will need to look elsewhere. Ensure your student is aware of the pros and cons of each of their choices, and help them to make an informed decision based on their personal abilities.
Essential Clearing Tools
These websites and helplines are essential for your students in this uncertain time.
University Compare’s Clearing Guide
A comprehensive collection of top tips and informative articles, our Clearing Guide at University Compare will help your students with any Clearing questions they may have from applying for student finance during Clearing to finding last minute accommodation.
All of the information you or your student will need can be found on the UCAS website, from information on how to apply through Clearing to finding their Clearing number and adding their choices. They also include handy videos, key dates and FAQs to help guide them through the process.
The Telegraph’s live Clearing finder tool
If your students cannot find what they’re looking for on UCAS, The Telegraph has a handy Clearing Place Finder Tool online which allows them to search for available places by university or subject. As well as the website they have an app available to download, however ensure they are aware that they will need to finish their Clearing application on UCAS regardless if they found the course via The Telegraph.
As well as The Telegraph, a number of newspapers and media outlets will be covering Clearing so there will be no shortage of information for you or your students.
The Student Room
Home to the largest student community in the world with over 1.8 million members, The Student Room is a great place for those who are feeling lost following results day. Offering information on which uni to choose, relationships and health, careers and jobs advice as well as a thriving forum to discuss issues, it will be a helpful tool for your students on results day and throughout their entire university life.
Especially helpful for those who are going through Clearing, the forum on The Student Room will help to build your student’s confidence as they realise they are not alone during this stressful time.
Two key numbers to note down so you are fully prepared for results day.
Exam Results Helpline; 0808 100 8000
The Department of Education joins forces with UCAS and the BBC each year to offer a fantastic free helpline for students who are unsure of what to do next following results day. They offer free advice and go through all of their options including Clearing, gap years, employment, apprenticeships and many more.
UCAS: 0371 468 0468
As you can imagine UCAS will be incredibly busy during the weeks leading up to and beyond results day, so although they will not advise on course choice, they will answer any queries your students may have on the process of Clearing.
For more information on Clearing visit the University Compare Clearing Guide.