Clearing is not as scary as it may seem. Yes, it's daunting for that short period of time where you aren't sure where you're going. But, make that clearing phone call and you can speak to those people who can give you a place.

1. Stay calm

The automatic reaction in this situation is to panic. But, it is the worst thing that you can do. Remaining calm and following the process will help you to work more efficiently and swiftly. Some tips for staying calm are:

  1. Breathe
  2. Do some exercise
  3. Do not over think the situation
  4. Think of the positives
  5. Make sure to eat.

Stay calm both when researching your other options through university clearing and when it comes to that all important phone call.

2. Research

Research the universities and courses that you might like to go to as an alternative and note down all of the numbers and course codes of those universities so that you are ready to go when it comes to that all important call. Think of reasons why you might like to go to those universities and what has attracted you to them.
scrabble tiles and smartphone
Photo by William Iven / Unsplash

3. Have codes and numbers ready

Once you’ve made your list of the universities you want to reach out to, note down all of their phone numbers, along with course codes. Don’t forget to make sure your phone is fully charged before you make the call.

4. Make use of university hotlines

A lot of universities have applicant advisors and admissions team who can answer questions and offer support about specific courses. They are there for a reason so ring them up and ask them about any of the courses that you have an interest in. Don't be shy!
Berkeley Communications phone call
Photo by Berkeley Communications / Unsplash

5. Treat the call like an interview

Practice your phone etiquette and interview technique with a parent or guardian prior to making that call and make sure that you treat the call itself like an interview.

You need to be able to answer questions such as why you want to go to that particular university and why you want to study that subject. Do your research on what’s offered on the course and pick out any specific modules you’d be excited to study. They need to know that you want to study their course in order to fulfil your future career prospects.

6. Emphasise your positives

If your grades do not showcase your true talents, tell the person on the other end of that phone about your strengths and how the skills you are good at are transferrable to the course that they are offering.

For example, if you performed well in Business A-Level and achieved an A, but you also studied English and Spanish and didn't do very well in them, talk to them about Business and why you think you performed well. If you are looking to study a Business Degree, you might have a good shot at persuading them.

6. Make sure you’re certain before accepting

The way that the UCAS system works is that once you have accepted an offer from the university that you have chosen, you cannot accept any other offers from any other institutions. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are 100% sure about that university and course in particular so that you don't have complications after accepting.