Clearing advice

Unfortunately, not all students will secure the grades that they were hoping for, or they may have done better than they expected and are now re-evaluating their options. Either way results day can quickly turn to panic. Try and support your young person through this by keeping them as calm as possible.

They should listen to advice from their teachers and not make any rash decisions. Clearing is a UCAS process that works for thousands of students, most of whom will find an alternative university option and go on to have a fantastic experience.

If eligible, their Clearing number will appear on UCAS. They will need to quote this throughout the course of the day so encourage them to write it down, along with their UCAS ID, and results (A level or equivalent and GCSE English Language and Maths).

How can you support your young person?

Sit with your young person and look through all the options available. See if the alternative universities you have shortlisted prior to results day have any vacancies for courses your young person is interested in.
When you come across one that you feel has potential then the young person should call the university and discuss the course in further detail. Encourage them to ask any questions that they might have about the course, university or student experience as a whole. If the student’s grades match the university’s criteria the university will likely make a verbal offer. Students can hold as many of these as they want so do not be afraid to ring lots of institutions.
Once all the research and phone calls have been made it is time to decide if one is a good match and formally accept it on UCAS. If not, your young person should consider alternative options, such as a gap year and reapplying the year after; Higher Education is a major investment of time and finances so it must be right and somewhere where they can be happy and succeed.

For A level students, the earliest they can accept an offer is 3pm on results day so there is plenty of time to consider all options and no pressure to make an immediate decision. Just be aware that verbal offers do expire (sometimes 24 hours after they are made), so check with the university how long your young person has to make their decision. If your young person has all their grades before A level results day, they are eligible for early Clearing.

Once a place has been accepted it is time to make final arrangements, including securing accommodation if they’re moving away from home and notifying Student Finance that the university destination has changed. The university should provide you with information about next steps with their follow up communications.