A level results not what you expected? Help is at hand – you can still find a course that’s right for you. We asked Stewart Harper, Associate Registrar here at Leeds Beckett University, for his advice on what you need to think about before you phone up to secure a place at university. Here's what Stewart had to say:
A level results day can be a stressful experience, particularly if you didn’t receive the results you were hoping for. It's important that you take a few minutes to take stock of your situation. Think about what course you'd like to study, and what kind of university you'd like to study at, before picking up the phone and making that call. Don't feel pressured into calling immediately – the courses don't all disappear within the first hour of Clearing, and a bit of essential preparation will make the whole process much easier.
All universities will have online information about their courses and facilities. You'll be able to see whether your grades meet their requirements, and specific details of any courses you might be interested in. UCAS listings are also a useful source of information.
This is your opportunity to sell yourself as a desirable student to your target universities. After all, you both have a shared objective; universities want to fill their courses, and you are looking for a place.
This will help you during your conversation. This should include having your UCAS ID and Clearing ID, if released, to hand. You should also make notes on the course you want to study – what has attracted you to it? Are there any details about the course you’d like to know? Now is the time to ask any questions you might have.
You'll need to be able to sign into your UCAS Track account once you've made your decision. It's also handy to be able to check any further details of courses or universities that you’re interested before making your final decision.
Remember, the person on the end of the line wants to help. They will be speaking to hundreds of people in your position. They know you're nervous, and they'll do everything they can to try to put you at your ease. Try smiling while you speak – it may feel a little strange, but it will make your voice sound more relaxed and friendly over the line. Be prepared though, the lines may be busy. You may have to wait a few minutes before being connected to a telephone operator.
This is something you need to do yourself, however much you might want a parent or teacher to pick up the phone and do it on your behalf. Remember, you'll be the one studying at university for the next three years or more, so it has to be your decision.
If you're ringing around a lot of universities, it can be easy to get confused. Make sure you know exactly what you've been offered from each university, and the details of their courses. Record any essential contacts, email addresses and telephone numbers which you may need for future reference.