Missed your uni offer? Don’t panic!

If your exam results surprised you – and not in a good way – and mean you’ve missed your uni offer, then you might feel like escaping to a desert island where the word ‘UCAS’ is not in the vocabulary. And you can: dress it up as a gap year, re-take a few exams and you could successfully re-apply to uni next year.

But first – you’ve got some other options. Phone the admissions tutor at your expected uni – if you only just missed your grades then they could still let you in.

No? Still stick to feeling calm – Clearing is another option. It’s like Tinder for uni: uniting students who still need a place on a uni course with institutions that still have places available after A-level results have been issued. There are thousands of places out there. Here’s how to get one:

  • Check the UCAS Track website to see if you are eligible for Clearing. You’ll qualify if you missed the conditions of either your first or insurance choice, or if you applied this year but didn’t receive any offers. Note down your Clearing number.
  • Search at ucas.com for available Clearing courses; do your research (though act fast – it’s a race against other candidates) and find a few options that you like.
  • You might need to look beyond the subject you originally applied for – think laterally; you can often swap courses once you’re established at a uni.
  • Make some notes about what to say to convince the admissions tutor to pick you – so jot down why one or two of the modules particularly interest you, why you’d be a good fit – and have your personal statement to hand.
  • Sit somewhere quiet and start dialling… Your call will be answered by a Clearing hotline. You provide your personal details and the course you’re interested in, and you will then be transferred to an academic in your subject who will give you a mini-interview. They will usually start by asking questions like your grades, and then go into more in-depth/academic questions.
  • The tutor will normally tell you whether you’re going to be offered a place before the end of the phone call. Only accept if you’re definitely happy with it: you can accept only one offer.
  • Many unis hold later open days for Clearing students, so you can have a look around – your offer acceptance isn’t confirmed until you do so with the Track button on your online application.

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