How to approach university Clearing

You can have a stress-free results day, says The University of Law’s Director of Admissions

With 2017 A-level results day tomorrow, aspiring university-goers may think there’s now nothing left to do but twiddle their thumbs and panic.

But: “I can’t stress enough how important it to prepare for the possibility of going through Clearing,” says The University of Law’s (ULaw) Director of Admissions, Pete Edge, “and there’s still time to get ready.”

Though it’s easy to go into denial, students with an inkling that they haven’t done as well as they had hoped will only benefit from being honest with themselves about this. By the same token it’s important that those who have done better than predicted are ready to move fast. Then, Edge tells us:

Get ahead. When you first get your A-level results, your heart will be beating out of your chest. But if you’ve prepared and done your research into the Clearing process before that moment, your heart won’t be beating quite so hard. Your reaction will be better rehearsed and more predictable, meaning you’ll be calmer and more able to navigate the Clearing process.

The process at ULaw, Edge explains, is akin to that at other universities and will begin with prospective students calling its Clearing hotline (01483 216 024). Manned by a mix of admissions staff, law faculty members and student ambassadors, the phonelines will be open from 7.30am until 8pm on Thursday.


For more information on ULaw’s Clearing process, including contact details and visit day dates, visit its website


This phonecall is important. Once callers have presented their results — they will then need to demonstrate they’re motivated to study their chosen course and at their chosen institution.

Because of this, it’s extremely important students are feeling calm when they pick up the phone. Call handlers will insist on speaking to the student themselves, rather than their parents, teachers or friends. So, if results envelope opening has got you in a flap, Edge advises:

Take a deep breath, go speak to people you trust and take some time to talk it through.

If you’ve impressed the call handler, they will make you a verbal offer, followed by confirmation in writing. From 3pm onwards, you can log this in on UCAS Track. The university may, at a later date, ask you for more information and documentation, such as a copy your personal statement. Once that’s all sorted and in the weeks leading up to the start of term, you’re able to visit the university in what Edge coins “pre-induction welcome days”, to make sure it is right for you.

Though the process is designed to be simple, preparation is key. The most effective way of doing this is, Edge explains, doing your research to find out what universities have Clearing places and what these universities are like.

“There’s no substitute to looking around universities and meeting people,” he tells us. But, alongside this: check out university websites, brochures and social media accounts; look at universities’ Teaching Excellence Framework rating (ULaw’s is a gold); research league tables; ask your friends for university recommendations; and make use of websites such as Which? University.

To focus this, Edge continues:

Set up a scoring grid for the universities you’re considering, and specify what it is that matters most to do (reputation, teaching, cost of living, etc).

Aside from this legwork, other more simple tasks will ease results day stress. Just making sure your phone is fully charged and digging out your GCSE certificates from under the bed will give you less to do on Thursday, enabling you to stay on task.

Prepared or not, some students associate Clearing with poor results and disappointment, and will be disheartened to find themselves going through it. But many students use Clearing to “trade up” universities with higher minimum grade requirements (this process is called adjustment.) Edge says:

A large pool of people go through Clearing each year; you’re really not alone. And there are many reasons for this: extenuating circumstances and predicted grades being massively wrong are just two examples. The system has been put in place to accommodate this and sees thousands of people happily placed into higher education every year. You must take the experience and learn from it. It may be the kick you need to work especially hard when you get to university.


The University of Law’s Clearing lines are open:

7.30am – 8pm Thursday

7.30am – 6.30pm Friday

10am – 4pm Saturday

10am – 4pm Sunday

The phone number is: 01483 216 024

For more information on ULaw’s Clearing process, including contact details and visit day dates, visit its website.


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