Getting your teen into university can be stressful for you both.
Not only can it be daunting choosing the right course, but you also need to consider what will happen if they don’t get the A level results they were expecting on results day.
It may seem like the end of the world to them if this happens, but you need to remind them that there are still a lot of options available, including A level retakes and going through UCAS clearing.
What is UCAS clearing?
University or UCAS clearing runs from July to September and is the opportunity for a student to secure a place at university if they havn’t managed to up to this point. It is usually used by students who didn’t get the grades needed for their first choice of university, have decided against taking up an existing offer, or who didn’t get an offer in the first place. Using UCAS clearing, applicants without a university or college place can find a vacant university course.
It’s always worth seeing which courses are available through UCAS clearing and applying if your teen is still keen, as there’s a good chance that they’ll still find a course that suits them well. However, don’t forget to consider their other options – such as apprenticeships too.
How can my teen apply through university clearing?
If your teen knows their exam results they can apply for clearing from July, but the majority of people use clearing when they get their A level results on 18th August.
On results day, courses that are available through clearing are advertised in the national press and on the UCAS website. This is when your teen should start applying for their courses through clearing, and they’ll have needed to of submitted a UCAS application before they can enter into UCAS clearing to ensure they are eligible.
Official clearing vacancies are published on the UCAS website and The Telegraph. You don’t need to stick with your original choice of course, so this could be a chance for your child to change their mind on their subject. Talking to universities is encouraged, feel free to ring up a university you’re interested in and ask for more information. You can even get verbal offers over the phone from multiple universities and then pick which one you want to pursue.
If there’s a course they like, click the ‘Add Clearing Choice’ button. They will need to ring the admissions staff of the university and provide their clearing UCAS number. Universities are constantly updating places so if you don’t find what you’re looking for straight away keep refreshing and going back.
If they offer your teen a place and they accept, your teen simply has to fill in the details of the institution onto their UCAS page.
If your teen changes their mind or finds something else that interests them, they have to tell the institution that has offered them a place that they no longer wish to take up the offer.
The Direct Contact Service is another option you can take, this means that if you sign up, universities and colleges can contact you from 18th August 2016 (A level results day) until 9th September 2016, if they have places on courses that might be suitable for you.
How many places is my teen able to apply for through clearing?
Students may only apply for one place through clearing at a time, so your teen should be sure that they are making the right decision.
Make sure they’re certain it’s the course they want to do and not something they’ve chosen just for the simple reason of going to university. Three years is a long time to commit to something they don’t enjoy, so make sure it ticks all of their boxes before they commit to anything.
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Things they might want to consider when choosing a course and university include:
• Is it the right course for me?
• Will it be beneficial to my future?
• How far away from home is it?
• Is it a city university or a campus university?
Once the university has confirmed their place through clearing they have to be committed to taking up that place and cannot apply for a place elsewhere.