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How to Prepare for Clearing

How to Prepare for Clearing

How to Prepare for Clearing

Hopefully, you will receive the grades that you need to get into your firm or insurance university choice. However, there is always a small chance that this won’t happen and it is important to prepare as much as possible for what could happen if you don’t get the results that you need. If this is the case, you may choose to apply for a new university or a new course through Clearing. Don’t feel like Clearing is a rejection option, thousands of people gain their university place through this route every single year and will have no impact in your university life or future career.

When and where are you receiving your results?

This may sound obvious, but make sure you know the date and time that you will be receiving your A Level results and when your A Level Results Day is. There is nothing worse than waiting on the wrong day and panicking that your results have not yet arrived. You should be expecting your A-Level results on 17th August 2017, nearer to the time you can check how and at what time you will be receiving your results.

You will need to log onto UCAS Track on the morning of results day to see if you have been successful in either your firm or insurance choice or whether you have been put into Clearing. You can check your status first thing on the morning of results, even before you have received your physical results, so it is best to check this as soon as you wake up. As soon as you log in, you will know if you need to go through Clearing, if you have checked UCAS Track before getting your results, it is best that you wait to get your full results before contacting universities through Clearing as potential universities will want to know your A Level results.

What are you expecting?

Make sure you know what results you are expecting, what university you have selected as both firm and insurance choices and know what you need to get into these university choices. By refreshing your memory, hopefully, results day won’t come as any shock. Make sure that you look at universities that suit your needs too, just because you’re going through Clearing, doesn’t mean that you can’t still look for things you want when searching for universities

What should I have prepared

There is not too much you need to prepare for the potential of Clearing, but make sure you have your UCAS personal ID written down and print off your full application. Make sure you have your UCAS offer letters and any correspondence in regards to universities and offers, basically, everything that appeared in your UCAS Application. Lastly, it may sound obvious but make sure you have a notepad and pen and a fully charged phone on loud with enough credit to make numerous phone calls. Place everything you need in an easy to locate space, or set up a dining room table or desk as an office to use on results day. A calm and quiet space is perfect if you are phoning around universities. 

How to Prepare for Clearing - Filling out a form.

Know where to look for vacancies

University places available through Clearing are updated from 5th July 2017 right the way through until September. Vacancies are shown on UCAS as well as being printed in The Telegraph newspaper. If you are worried that you will not be accepted into your firm or insurance choices you could make a note of vacancies that you may be interested in ahead of results day.

Make a list of requirements and potential universities

Ahead of the day have a look through the different universities and think about what you want to get from your time there. It is worth thinking about courses you may have considered in the past and what type of university you want to go to. It could be a particular area of the UK that may be of interest to you, check out our city guides and our interactive university map for some ideas. If you are concerned that your results may be a little low, have a look through UCAS Search for the universities that currently have course vacancies, bear in mind that these change and do get updated regularly. Write down any that catch your eye on a piece of paper for the first point of call should you be going through Clearing.

Changing course

If you are having doubts about the course or university you have applied for, it may be that even ahead of results day you know that regardless of your results and regardless if you have got into your firm choice you are going to be using Clearing. Rather than making the decision to change course and/or university in a rushed decision on results day, it is best to put some thought into it in advance. In this case, you should talk to a career adviser or college tutor to advise you of other possible routes or courses available to you. If you know what course you want to change to, you can keep an eye on the Clearing choices that open from July 5th on the UCAS Vacancy Search and note down contact details and course specifics of any that sound appealing. You can then research the course and university in advance so that by the time results day comes around you already have a shortlist of universities that you can phone. By doing this, you can wake up early on results day and get straight on the phone.


Before the day, also think about what you want to do should you achieve much better results than you had hoped for. If this is the case, you can go through Adjustment to apply for a potentially better university that may have been unachievable with your predicted grades.

How to Prepare for Clearing - Working in a lab.

Consider other options

It is important to consider what you might do if you don’t get into university. You may not find a university or course choice to suit you through Clearing, and it is important not to get swept up in the day and just take any university that has spaces. Studying at university is likely to be at least the next three years of your life, so it is important that you make the right choice. If you are not getting anywhere through Clearing, don’t feel like it is the end of the world. It might be worth considering some retakes. You may only need to retake a few units to improve your overall grade, and you could do these over the year while working or travelling and re-apply for university for the following year. You could also apply for alternative study options or for an apprenticeship, not being successful in securing your university place might open up a whole variety of other options that you had never considered! Of course, if you are considering an apprenticeship, you need to be aware of the various types of apprenticeships that are available such as a PJEA Apprenticeship, Government backed apprenticeships, apprenticeships abroad and also how to apply for an apprenticeship

Is there anything I should do the night before?

The night before receiving your results can be a restless night of sleep as you are worried about potential results, so it is important you have a relaxing evening and an early night to prepare for the big day. As prepared as you may feel, it is bound to be a hectic and stressful day, and you will need to feel on the ball, so the night before, put on your favourite film, soak in the bath and have a good dinner. You will need a fully charged phone, so plug your phone in and set an early alarm to check your UCAS Track, but then move your phone away from your bed, you don’t want to become panicked by talking to friends who may be stressing. By putting your phone away and opting to read a book or magazine instead, you will be relaxing your mind. When you wake up, make sure you have a good breakfast ready to ensure your energy levels are high for the day.

Hopefully, all your preparing will have been for nothing and you will get accepted into your firm or insurance choice and can plan for your departure to university. However being prepared will help you so much if you do need to use the route of Clearing and will allow you to think with a clear head. Sometimes the process can seem overwhelming, so always talk through any concerns that you may have about the process or about your university choices with a personal tutor or career adviser. Most of all don’t be influenced by friends in your decision, and if you are certain about a choice that has come up through Clearing – act on it, they won’t hold the place open for you forever! Good luck!

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