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Education liaison

Helping students to prepare for Clearing and Adjustment

With A-level results day approaching on Thursday 13 August, many students will be considering what to do if they don’t get the results they expect. Here are our top five tips to consider when supporting your students, child, or ward.

Understand the process

Clearing and Adjustment can sound daunting, but they provide opportunities for students to find the best course for them in a range of scenarios, including:

  • when their exam results are better than anticipated
  • when they do not hold any offers to study at university
  • when they change their mind about their course
  • when new applicants have decided they now want to apply to university starting this September.

Our online clearing and adjustment course is a great resource to help students understand the process for each of these scenarios, and include preparations for a range of different scenarios on results day.

Research universities and courses before results day

Most universities have now published their Clearing vacancies, which means students can actively research courses and universities ahead of results day. When evaluating the courses available, it is important to keep a shortlist with key contact details for each institution as a reference point on results day.

Students entering Clearing can also utilise Clearing Plus: a brand new service developed by UCAS. Clearing Plus matches students with a personalised list of available programmes, which they can use alongside their research.

If grades achieved are better than expected, the option to enter adjustment may become available. There's no vacancy list for Adjustment: students will need to check course contact details and enquire directly with the university on results day.

Once a shortlist is determined, it’s worth following university social media channels including Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. This will provide students with additional content to help with any final decisions.

Plan your diary

Clearing and adjustment can move rapidly so students must keep a clear and well-planned diary during this period. On the morning of A-level results day, students may elect to receive results directly from exam boards or collect them from their school.  When planning, it is important to arrange access to the internet and have the ability to make telephone calls. This will ensure they have every opportunity to access the information they need to support their next steps. It is important that students check UCAS Track alongside receiving their results as this will, in most cases, provide further guidance on the status of their place at their chosen university.

Develop a question bank

When contacting a university, it is worth preparing answers to the following common questions:

  • What is your UCAS ID/Clearing number?
  • What qualifications do you have and when did you achieve them? (This will usually include GCSE qualifications.)

In addition, students may want to prepare a set of questions to ask universities. Some examples include:

  • Can I still apply for accommodation?
  • Are there any opportunities to speak to current students?
  • Do you have any Clearing Open Days or Virtual Tours?
  • What support is available to students at your university?

Prepare your finance

Students can apply for Student Finance if they are not holding an offer from a University. If they have not yet applied but are considering university and require this financial support, it’s important for them to apply at the earliest opportunity.

If a student has completed a student finance application for a different course or university, they just need to update the course in their online account.