Reality check, maybe you haven’t been having the best summer ever. Maybe you feel like you’ve got tight knots in your stomach every time you think about the future. Maybe butterflies flutter in your stomach every time somebody mentions ‘grades’, ‘apprenticeship’ or ‘university’. Results day is August 10th and it couldn’t have been further away. It’s hard for this empty time in the no man’s land of uncertainty to be liberating or enjoyable to anybody.
Unless you’ve managed to live in a blissful oblivion in a great summer of forgetting results day, you’ll probably be finding it hard to distract yourself from this dawning anxiety… how can the outcome of two hard years of work be all over in less than a month? Will I even be ready to move on? How do I trust my grades will be right?
And, the big one.
What will I do if I don’t get what I need?
First things first, it can be easy to overthink everything and you’re not alone in doing so! The best thing is to be logical and reasonable with yourself so thoughts of ‘I’m going to have to retake everything’ whirring at 60mph will start to slow down. If you tend to always think of the worst case scenario, try and take it step by step (whilst also reminding yourself that it’s probably not going to happen). If the worst does come to worst, and you don’t get into the course or university that you’ve been hoping to go to, there’s always the option of clearing.
Clearing is an option when you’ve either changed your mind about going ahead with your firm university option (your number one option) or if you didn’t manage to get a place with the grades that you got in your A-levels/ Btecs. You can also use clearing if you didn’t get any offers in the first place or if you decide you want to go to university. It can be quite a short and stressful period of time, but don’t let that scare you. It’s always possible that there are spaces available on university courses, so don’t assume you won’t get in- communication is key!
So, how do you get a place at university through clearing? It may seem that accepting an offer for a course or university through clearing that you’ve either never really heard of before or haven’t done much research on is a little strange, but these are things you can easily fix! If you’re uncertain that you’ll make the grades for or may not even want to do the course you were planning to start in September, have a browse at some alternative plans. As always, if you do some research beforehand you’ll be well prepared for anything that comes your way! This could be the same course at a different university, as modules may differ.
Alternatively, if you’re set on one particular university but unsure about the course, have a look if they offer a flexible degree structure (where you can switch and swap modules) or if they have other subjects. Although it may seem like you’re back at square one, remember you’ve been through this cherry-picking experience before, so you’ll know what to look out for in a course or university. If you’re struggling with where to start, here’s a list of top 15 universities who accept students through clearing, but it’s certainly not an exclusive list!
Right, so, you’ve done your research with where you’d be happy to go if things don’t go to plan. But what will happen on the day? Considering the lengthy UCAS process of writing personal statements, possible interviews and then waiting until the paint dried for any offers, getting a place at university in less than a day seems a little strange. Once you’ve written a list of courses you’re interested in, take down the universities’ number as you’ll need to ring them to ask for any places. Make sure this is clear and ordered (for some sense of stability within the chaos of results day)!
As soon as you have your grades and have decided to go through clearing, call the university directly (and keep an eye out on their social media where they may be making offers). Have your personal details and UCAS ID number ready, with a pen and paper to note down anything important. Sometimes you may be required to take an interview (and it could be right at that moment) so stay calm, and be yourself! You could even go over your personal statement for some refreshing inspiration before if there’s time. It’s a speedy process so they’ll tell you then and there if you’ve got a place and you’ll have to accept or decline this within a day on UCAS Track.
Good luck for results day and remember to breathe!
ANISHA MINOCHA is a sixth form student from Manchester, hoping to study English Literature and Spanish at university. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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