If you have not already received your A Level results then chances are you are a shaking, sweating messy knot of nerves. Is there anything in life more stressful?
As someone who did not get her first choice of university but called clearing anyway I know exactly how you feel. In a strange twist of fate I now know the other side of the process. I work for a university and have dealt with the new batch of students desperate for a place. So listen to my sage advice.
Holding your breath
At the moment you are either still holding your breath as UCAS still has not been updated or you have been unsuccessful. Firstly, keep refreshing the UCAS Track page and be patient. If you received the results you needed then it probably means your application is still being processed but your UCAS should update itself soon.
If, however, you did not quite get the results you needed and the entire day goes by and still you have not heard anything it means you have probably been placed in Clearing automatically. Unfortunately this means you just have to wait. However if at any point you think there is something wrong with your status or you have a chance at an appeal then contact the university to let them know.
I would not change a thing
For those who did not get their desired place or into university at all, I’m sorry. I don’t know you but I do know how it feels and for that I am sorry. I would never have believed anyone who told me at the time but do not worry, everything will work out.
I did not get into my first choice university and I was heartbroken. But looking back, I would not change a thing as I ended up going to a bigger and, in my opinion, better university. I would not know the people and friends I know and might not be where I am now. If you are going to apply for Clearing please have a quick look at the do’s and don’ts at the bottom of the page.
A notoriously busy and frustrating time
Clearing is a notoriously busy and frustrating time. Check the university website to see if they have a list of courses available, you can also check UCAS for all university openings at once. There is no point in calling if the course you want to study is not listed. If you see it great, call the Clearing number but make sure it is from a landline or another cheap network as it is likely you will be on the phone for a while.
Try to remain calm when on the phone and make a list before you call them so you can remember what it is you need to ask. Maybe family members can help with this. Either way you could ask for advice on what to do next whether or not you get a place.
Some do’s and don’ts:
Don’t just apply for any course for the sake of going to university.
Don’t assume you can transfer courses or universities to get your desired place.
Don’t take your frustration/grief out on university staff they will try to help you as best they can.
Don’t run away. While travelling is great experience let the dust settle before making any big decisions.
Do be open to your second choice as long as the course is what you want to do.
Do consider taking a year out to further your grades.
Do talk it out with family and friends on what to do next.
Do ask the university for advice.
For advice on transition to university life, read this piece by Sarah located here.