A Parent's Guide to Clearing

A Parent's Guide to Clearing

Posted in Applying, Clearing Help and Advice, Courses on Aug 06, 2021 by

University Finder

Results Day is a stressful time of year for all students. As a parent, your first instinct will be to try to help in any way possible. Unfortunately, it can be hard knowing exactly how to support your child through the process, and ensuring they are happy with their decisions. If you still have some questions about the Clearing process and would like to learn more about it, read below for some useful information to ensure your child is supported on Results Day.

As you are probably aware, A-Level Results (and SQA Results for Scottish students) will be released on Tuesday 10 August 2021. Once results have been released, they will be sent to universities to check if the conditions of their offer have been met. If all has gone to plan, and your child has achieved the required grades then there is nothing to worry about! The university will confirm the offer and this confirmed offer will be shown clearly in UCAS Track.

If your child has not achieved the required grades, it is important to check UCAS Track. Universities can take a while to confirm their offers, and you may have to wait longer for some universities than others. Sometimes it can take a university a little longer to decide as there is a chance they are still considering the application if some students have just narrowly missed out. If, however, both the firm and insurance universities have not confirmed their places, your child will be eligible for Clearing. If your child’s Track has not yet updated, it is worth your child calling the university to speak to them directly about their offer. If your child has been automatically entered into Clearing, it will state this clearly on their Track.

Some Important Things to Know:

  • Exam results are not shown on Track. Track will only show if applications have been successful/unsuccessful. Students will receive their exam results from their school or exam centre. Due to the pandemic, students should check if there are any social distancing guidelines or requirements in place, and the best way to collect them.
  • Browse “My Matches” in UCAS Track. If students have been entered into Clearing, there is a “My Matches” button in Track that matches students to a variety of other courses based on their application. If students are interested in any of these options, they can select “Interested”, which will pass their details onto these universities. If the university has places available, they will be in touch.
  • Check that your child’s contact details are updated in Track. This is where they can receive important updates and potentially offers - so it is crucial to ensure everything is up to date.
  • Browse alternative Clearing courses with the UCAS Search Tool. It is the only official vacancy list and is regularly updated.
  • Contact universities easily via our Clearing Directory. Your child will have to call universities directly to discuss their Clearing options. Our Clearing Directory has the link to university Clearing pages as well as Clearing Hotline numbers. Having this information easily to hand will save your child valuable time.
  • Staying calm is key. Clearing hotlines are likely to be busy and so it can involve a lot of waiting to be put through to someone. Students can find this stressful and feel pressurized by the time. As a parent it is important to try and keep your child as calm as you can to ensure they are able to review all of their options and not rush into any decisions.
  • Students in Clearing do not have to apply for the same course. If they applied for History and now, for example, wish to change to English Literature then they can do this. Students should research their new course options fully to ensure they would be happy studying the new course, and ensure they are passionate about their new potential course. Universities will want to know why your child is interested in their course when speaking to them via the Clearing hotline, so they should note down key points about the course and its modules.
  • Students do not have to accept the first offer you get. Students can feel a sense of urgency and may want to just go with the first offer they receive. With verbal offers, some universities may give a deadline to confirm this offer. During this time, it is worth students calling other universities that they may wish to go to to see if they can get any more verbal offers. There is no limit to the number of verbal offers you can receive, however you are only able to add one to UCAS Track, so students will need to decide which offer they wish to go with.

From a practical point of view, if your child is going through Clearing they will likely spend a large majority of the day on the phone with various universities. Try to ensure they have a fully charged phone and a quiet area to make their phone calls. During the stress of the day, it can be easy to forget to take a break or check you are drinking and eating enough. The last thing anyone wants on Results Day is a stressed and ‘hangry’ student! Offering a bottle of water and a snack, as small as it may seem, will be a practical way to ensure your child is well taken care of.

It can also be easy for students to feel overwhelmed. With our handy Clearing Directory, you will have easy access to university hotlines and clearing websites, to take the hassle out of finding these numbers on the day. Consider going through this together before Results Day, to make sure they are familiar with the process and how to navigate the directory. This will not only save valuable minutes on the day, it can also help to relieve any anxieties before the day.

Clearing can be a long process, so it is important students are prepared for any eventuality. It can also be a hard time for parents, as you may feel helpless while watching your child go through potentially stressful situations while trying to find a new university place. As a parent, your main superpower to offer on the day will be a calm and level head. Students will be weighing up lots of different options and can feel either dejected, overwhelmed or completely uncertain. Some reassuring words from their parents could make the world of difference - as much as they may hate to admit it!

Hear from students who have gone through Clearing here to hear a first hand account of the Clearing process.