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How to prepare for UCAS Clearing

Most students will wait until they’ve received their exam results before they consider Clearing, but there are plenty of ways to help prepare for that day, no matter your results.

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Check out these steps to ensure your journey through Clearing is as smooth as possible.


Plan for different outcomes

It is impossible to predict the future, but it is possible to make plans depending on whether you received different results from your exams.

Note down a few scenarios you can use to base your Clearing preparation around. Some scenarios could include receiving improved grade results in comparison to what you were expecting, or scenarios where you didn’t quite do as well as you had hoped.

For each scenario, note down the possible grades you will need to match them to course entry requirements.


Research courses and universities before you get your grades

A key date to note down for Clearing 2023 is 5 July, as this is the date most universities publish their Clearing vacancies, although some may publish later.

This gives you just over a month to research courses and universities based on the exam results you noted down in the previous step.


Starting your research

Approach your research as if you’re applying to university for the first time and consider all possible courses you’re interested in, even if you didn’t apply for them the first time round.

You may have picked up new interests since initially applying or found a new focus. For example, you may have chosen to focus on Forensic Psychology as opposed to your original choice of Psychology. You could even pick a totally new subject, such as Sport and Exercise Sciences, if you wanted to change directions. Check out our full range of undergraduate courses to get an idea on what you could apply for.


Building a shortlist

It’s important to write down a shortlist of all possible course options and bookmarks or save the course web pages for quick referencing.

You don’t have to rank your possible courses and universities on entry requirements alone. You can rate them on other factors, such as teaching quality, scholarship availability, course content, location, accommodation, facilities, sports clubs and societies, anything that’s important to you.

Keep in mind that entry requirements can change during Clearing, so don’t rule out a course if you just don’t quite meet the entry requirements.


Don’t rush into anything

You could even consider a gap year if your results surprise you.

A gap year provides you with additional time to make the best choice that suits you. You can gain valuable work experience in your chosen field, or simply take some time to consider your options and once you know your exam results, you can re-apply.


Prepare for a busy few days

You could even consider a gap year if your results surprise you.

Clearing is a very competitive time of the year, ensure you’re free on the day you receive your exam results, as well as a few days afterward. So you don’t miss out, we recommend applying early as spaces do fill out quickly.


Write down university Clearing contact details

Once you’ve shortlisted your universities, write down their contact details in the order you’d like to contact them when you get your results. This will stop you from wasting any time finding the correct details on the day and potentially losing out.


Sort out your finances

Ensure you have your student finance sorted as soon as you possibly can. You don’t have to wait until you receive an offer from a university before applying for student loan or other student finance.

When you’re filling out your finance form, simply put down the university and course that you wish to join and once you have an offer, you can simply go back into your student loan account and correct the details.


Prepare for questions during Clearing

When you contact universities during Clearing, they will likely ask you a few common questions as a formality to make sure your chosen course is the right one for you.

Here are a few common questions they may ask:

  • What qualifications do you have and where did you get them?
  • Why are you interested in this course?
  • Why are you interested in the university?
  • Why do you think you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for?
  • Why are you applying for a different course?

There may be a lot to do during Clearing but preparing for the day will boost your chances of getting a place that you want. Take your time when researching and make as many notes as possible.

Just remember, if you’ve started preparing before the date then you’re well on your way to your perfect course.

All the best. We hope to see you soon!

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