Not getting the results you need to get into your first choice university can be disappointing – but it doesn’t need to be the end of the world. The “Clearing” vacancy search opens on the same day and is the UCAS process of matching students without university places to universities with course vacancies.
In 2021 you’ll have from A Level results day, 10 August, until the 19 October to apply to alternative universities through UCAS. If you haven’t found a place by then you’ll need to contact universities about vacancies directly.
Make a plan – have a list of courses and universities ready before you open your results so you know who you’ll need to phone if you enter the Clearing process.
Start early – popular courses will fill up within hours so don’t waste any time being miserable that you haven’t gotten the right results.
Phone yourself – this might sound obvious but universities won’t be impressed by family members calling on your behalf. This also means that going on holiday around results time isn’t a good idea because you’ll need to be available to phone universities.
Think about alternatives – consider changing your course slightly or doing a combined degree to give you more options. For example, apply for English and History rather than just English.
If in doubt, phone anyway – if you have your heart set on a certain university but they aren’t listed on the official Clearing listings call them anyway and see if they can help you.
No answer? Keeping trying and also send them a polite email with your Clearing questions.
Keep calm and carry on phoning – don’t give up if the first place you phone doesn’t accept you.
Check for open days – once you get offered a place find out when their Clearing open days are and go along before you commit to studying there.
Don’t panic – Clearing can be stressful if you don’t get into the university you want but stay calm and be polite to everyone you talk to.