If you didn’t get the grades you needed to secure your first choice of university or course you may feel that you are sinking under a wave of disappointment and panic. Facing the hectic scrum of the clearing process might even seem just too much to handle at this point. If you’ve got your heart set on going to university this year then you will need to put these feelings to one side for the moment and get involved as quickly as possible. There are still places left for students with the desire and ability to fill them.

Take a step back…

Before you commit to a major, life changing decision, it’s time to carefully consider your options. If you haven’t got the grades you needed to get into the course of your choice, but your 100% sure that this is the path you want to follow, then it might be worth considering taking a year out and reapplying next year, perhaps having retaken A-levels or undertaken further study to strengthen your application.

There are a huge number of applicants this year due to the rise in tuition fees next year, so the competition may be less next time round. Don’t be put off immediately by the high potential cost if you are following a passion or interest that you have already worked so hard to pursue. It may be worth thinking about getting professional help from Leaving School with your UCAS personal statement to make sure that you are emphasising all the qualities that make you a strong candidate.

Going to University This Year…

If you decide that you really want to go to university this year and are going to go through the clearing process then please don’t rush into any major decision without serious thought. Consult the list of available places and speak to the universities themselves to find out if a course is the right fit for you. You are committing a great deal of time, energy and money by undertaking undergraduate study so make sure that you are not accepting ‘second best’ just to secure a place. That said, there are lost of interesting, quality course that need to be filled through the clearing process so be broadminded about your interests and goals and you will probably find one to suit you.

Gap Year? 

Whether you are taking a planned or unplanned year out, or even questioning whether university is for you after all, you will also need to start thinking about employment prospects. There are jobs out there and they are likely to be filled by enthusiastic, intelligent applicants with a desire to work. A degree is not a sure fire route to a good job, neither is being without a degree a guarantee of unemployment. To make sure that you are making the most of the skills, knowledge and experience you do have consult Leaving School’s professional team of skilled writers for more information about our CV and cover letter writing service.

Reality Check.

Pupils in Britain achieved higher results than ever before. With many universities asking for at least one A* star grade, and more and more students achieving these academic heights, the competition for university places has never been tougher. With the added incentive of attempting to beat next year’s rise in tuition fees, the sheer number of people applying weighed against the number of places available means even students who score the top grades may miss out on their first choice.

There are still options for those who did not quite get the grades they needed. If you’ve narrowly missed out, gaining an A grade instead of an A* for example, it may be worth checking with your chosen institution whether they would be prepared to accept you with this slightly lower grade. While this has often been the case in the past, prepare yourself for universities to be extra fussy this year. They can afford to be with so many people chasing a few precious places.

If you definitely have not made it to the university of your choice, there is no need to despair just yet. As always, there will be a number of places at various universities that have not been filled and you may be able to find an alternative institution or course that matches your goals and interests. The ‘clearing’ process, which is also run through UCAS, is designed to match up students who have not secured places to those that are still available.

Don’t panic yet…

Clearing has been all over the front pages of newspapers for ages. Stories of “desperate” students crashing the UCAS website in a scrum for university places may put you off joining the competition yourself. But don’t be put off if you really have your heart set on going to university. While there have been teething problems, these are to be expected with nearly 200,000 students vying for only 30,000 available places. As the bugs in the overstretched system are ironed out it will become easier and easier to match students up to the universities that have places for them.

You need to be proactive when it comes to the clearing process. While details of available course are on the UCAS site if the site is experiencing difficulty you can still find this information elsewhere; such as The Telegraph. Once you have taken a look at the available courses it is up to you to contact universities to see whether the course is the right match for you.

The clearing process can de daunting and scary, particularly with alarmist news reports and technological problems standing in your way. Rest assured, however, that by approaching it in a clam and determined manner you may still be able to achieve your dream of studying at university level.