Clearing can be a valuable tool. I have known many students take up places at very good universities to study courses that were perfect for them through the clearing system. In some cases the degrees they ended up reading and the universities they ended up studying at were better matches for them than those they missed their offers for.
The UCAS website is the best place to look for for clearing information and advice:
But I have a few pieces of additional advice based on my own experience to share:
1. Be in the country on results day – if you can’t be in the country, be available on the telephone and remember to operate on UK time
2. Collect your results as early as you possibly can
3. Make sure your phone is charged and you have access to a computer or device that can access the internet
4. Explore your options, then call the universities you want to apply to and BE CALM. Have to hand your UCAS ID and clearing passport number
5. Ask for the name of every person you speak to, especially those who offer you a place, and try to get their direct line and email address
6. Try to confirm everything in writing by email if you can. This may mean that you have to make the first move and write an email to the person you spoke to confirming the details of your conversation
7. If you live near the university you want to go to. Be prepared to go there if necessary
8. If you will need a visa to go to university, have your passport with you on results day
9. Be realistic – you’re unlikely to get into Oxford to study medicine
10. Be efficient and organised because you will have to move swiftly, but don’t panic. You will still have some time to explore options and you should take some time to ensure you are making the right choice.
11. Be prepared to have to answer some “interview” type questions over the phone by re-reading your personal statement
12. Be prepared to have to write another personal statement especially if the courses you apply for through clearing are different to those you applied for originally