Applying for a university place through UCAS clearing? Read our top tips on how to approach Clearing 2017 & discover what other options are available to you.

UCAS Clearing Advice: Planning Ahead of A-Level Results Day

Anxious about your A-Level results? Clearing 2017 is just around the corner, and if you’re worried that your exams didn’t go to plan, we’re here to put your mind at rest. It’s important not to worry – even if things haven’t panned out as expected, there’s nothing stopping you getting a great university place.

Applying through clearing

Clearing is a system set up by UCAS that lets you apply for courses that still have places available.

It’s a great option for those who:

  • Haven’t received any offers
  • Haven’t received any offers they want to accept (hey, university is a big step, you have the right to change your mind!) OR
  • Haven’t met the conditions of the offer

If clearing is the path you decide to take, there are a few points to remember:

  • Be prepared – have a list of unis you are interested in and the clearing phone numbers at the ready. As soon as the lines open, start calling.
  • Be an early bird – places go like hotcakes so get on the phone as soon as you know you’re in clearing.
  • Keep an open mind – don’t rule out universities you aren’t familiar with. They might be great institutions, offering great opportunities.

Clearing isn’t your only option

Although clearing tries to secure degree courses for as many students as possible, it can’t feasibly cater for everyone. So, how could you do it differently? There are a lot of alternatives to choose from:

  • Study online - many of us think the traditional university route is the only way, but with the rise of modern technology there are new exciting options to be considered. According to the BBC, leading universities will offer fully accredited undergraduate courses online within five years. Online learning gives you the option to study flexibly, so you can learn while you earn – in the days of the all-important work experience, this is a considerable advantage in the graduate world. Online universities often have more than one intake a year (in case of Arden University, there are 4 for online & 2 for blended!), so if you need more time to decide, you can keep your options open.
  • Study via blended learning - some blended learning degrees include foundation years designed to prepare you for university level study. Perfect if you don’t have formal qualifications or any work experience.
  • Consider Access courses – if you don’t have the required A-levels, Access courses may also be an option. Just like a foundation year they prepare you for university level study. Many institutions will accept students with an Access qualification.
  • Get a job – if you planned to go to university, you might worry that starting a career without a degree might put you at a disadvantage. In reality, it is not that simple. For example, by the time your peers graduate, you’ll have three years of work experience under your belt, as well as valuable contacts you might not have had otherwise. And if you later decide that a degree is something that could push your career forward, you don’t have to give up on bringing that money back home – simply study online and keep earning while you learn.
  • Take a gap year – travelling broadens your mind. Universities (and employers), look at hundreds of applications, so having something that makes you stand out is an advantage -and a gap year can do just that. Explaining what you did with your time will not only catch their eye - it should also give you interesting examples to draw upon when applying for jobs or to universities.Or perhaps you’d like to gain a degree while sipping a cold drink on a hot beach? Yep, it’s possible - you can find out more here.
As you can see, there are several options available if you haven’t secured an offer or have simpy changed your mind about studying the conventional way. They may not be in line with your original plans, but in our experience, doing things differently can create exciting opportunities that take you on a journey to success!

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