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Clearing Advice From Teachers

Worried about going through Clearing? We asked teachers, lecturers and other academics from across the UK how they feel about it and for their top tips to get you through this process.

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
22 Sep 2022

Need help with Clearing?


If you find yourself going through Clearing and are unsure what to do or who to turn to for help, then a great place to start is with your sixth-form or college teachers. They have lots of experience of helping students on A-level Results Day so can give advice and support.

Whatuni spoke to a number of teachers and lecturers for their top tips to help you out.

Teachers from Woodhouse College

Claire Granados, Principal at Business College, Quest Professional

Not getting the grades to get into the university of your choice can seem like the end of the world when you’re handed your envelope on results day.

The reality is this isn't the case. Many successful people haven’t been to university and there are also plenty of unsuccessful people that have! Degrees can of course be useful but they don’t guarantee a successful career.

If for whatever reason you decide against university or Clearing, I would advise you to research other options. There are plenty out there and many in areas you may not have previously considered, such as finance or property. Make sure that you’re aware of all your choices before coming to any final decisions. 

Jo Tyssen, HE Business Development Manager at Leeds City College’s University Centre

The first piece of advice we would give is to take a deep breath and don’t panic, it'll all work out.

If you have already applied but not met the conditions, don’t assume you’ve automatically lost your place. Call the university to check - they may still accept you.

If you haven't already applied, or have lost your place on your chosen course, take some time to do a little research so you know who you are phoning and for what course. 

Make notes to have next to you by the phone if you think you might forget something.

The type of questions we'd typically ask include:

  • Have you already got a UCAS application? If so what is your UCAS ID number?
  • What subject do you want to be considered for?
  • What grades have you just achieved in what subjects? We may also ask about GCSE results in maths, English and possibly science.
  • Why are you interested in this course and do you have any relevant experience?

In most cases, you'll be given a decision straight away during the phone call. If successful, you'll be given advice on what to do next. 

Yes, it can be stressful but try to keep calm and stay positive. Remember that we're all here to help you and that everything is going to be ok!

Hema Tank, Associate Dean of The London Institute of Banking & Finance

Do your homework and start your research now. Check out the websites of universities and courses you’re interested in and find out what others say about them. A great way of doing that is to look at their social media sites and any videos or comments from past or current students. And of course, see what Whatuni says about them!

Try to have a few options in mind. One way of getting started is by writing down the top 5 things you are looking for from a degree and the pros and cons of different course choices.

Think about career options and what they could lead to in the future, but also how much the course interests you now. You can do the same for universities, looking at location, facilities, ratings, culture, accommodation etc.

Siân Duffin, Student Support Manager at Arden University

Most students enter Clearing because they didn't get the grades they need in their A-levels.

If this is you, it's okay to feel sad, angry and the whole range of emotions that go along with that, but don’t let this stop you from getting what you want, as there are still lots of opportunities.

If you are certain about a particular part of the country you want to go to, are there other universities in the area offering the same course? Will the university you originally applied for offer a slightly different course, perhaps a joint honours programme?

If you are certain about the subject, research where else you might study that particular subject and consider all options including distance learning, which will allow you to stay at home.

Use your support system too. Do you know other people who previously went through Clearing? Have a chat with them about their experiences. Your school or college may be able to connect you to others as well. 

Talk about your options, there is nothing to be ashamed about if things work out differently from what you had originally planned. Surrounded by other people who got into their first choice university will feel hard, but so many people go on to have fun and have a fulfilling university experience, even after getting a place through Clearing.


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