Your Clearing call
A level results not what you expected? Help is at hand – you can still find a course that’s right for you. We asked Denise Dixon-Smith, Head of Admissions here at Leeds Beckett University, for her advice on what you need to think about before you phone up to secure a place at university. Here's what Denise 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.
Do your research
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.
Write down your essential information
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.
Stay online if possible
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.
Take a deep breath
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.
Making the call
However much you might want a parent or teacher to pick up the phone and do it on your behalf, this is something you need to do yourself. Due to Data Protection regulations, we cannot take phone calls from them without your expressed verbal consent. At the same time, however, it is good to remember that you'll be the one studying at university for the next three years or more, so it has to be your decision.
Make notes during your phone call
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.