Clearing 2021: What to do when results don’t go to plan

To say the last year has been challenging is an understatement.  Education has again been disrupted and grades have been determined by Teacher Assessed Grades.  With results day fast approaching on 10th August, many of you may be worried about your potential A Level or BTEC grades.  So what can you do ahead of results day in order to feel more prepared?  Here are some tips to help you:

Before Results Day

Student bites pencil nervouslyAlthough you may not need to use this option, it’s a good idea to start researching alternative university places ahead of results day.  Clearing is a system where universities fill up their vacant spaces and this feature is already open.  Start checking the Clearing listings for alternative courses on the UCAS website so you have other options ready if you don’t meet your Firm and Insurance offers.  Make a list of courses in advance of results day including the course title, course code, required grades and the university Clearing hotline number.  This prepares you ahead of the day giving you some control.

On Results Day

If you don’t get the grades you needed, before you start to panic, check with your Firm and Insurance choices anyway as they may still accept you.  Also ensure you check UCAS Track too as the same universities may have given you an alternative offer.  If the universities do say no, there will be other ones willing to take you, this is where you refer to courses from the Clearing list you prepared.  Initially, look for your chosen discipline but you can also consider joint/combined degrees, a degree in a different subject, a HND or foundation degree (a vocational 2-year HE course) or an extended degree – a degree with an extra foundation year.

Results day is occurring earlier this year and many students may wish to appeal their grades. Particularly if a specific subject grade is needed for a degree course.  If you are in the position of appealing grades, make sure you contact your Firm or Insurance choice and check that they will keep your place open for you.  When it comes to appeals you need to discuss this with someone at your school or college initially.  Grades may remain the same, but they may also be marked up or down!  Do think carefully about this option, particularly if another university will accept you.  Chatting to a teacher or careers adviser on the day will help you to decide the best option. For information about the appeals process, check out the UCAS guide here and the Ofqual Student Guide 2021

Who can I ask or help?

For technical help on how to manage UCAS Track and make Clearing choices on the day, contact the UCAS helpline where advisers will talk you through the process – have your results, Clearing number and UCAS ID ready.  If you have a query about your grades or need further advice and guidance on what to do next, you can also have a chat with a careers adviser from the Exam Results Helpline

After Results Day

If the appeal process doesn’t work in your favour or you’re unable to obtain a place on your chosen course, consider the following options:

  • Autumn term resits (discuss the process with someone at your school)
  • A January start degree course
  • A 1-year Intensive A Level course
  • A vocational course instead of A Levels (i.e a BTEC, CTEC or T Level course)
  • Employment where you can obtain a Level 3 qualification on the job (Healthcare, Accountancy entry level jobs etc…)
  • An apprenticeship

For further information on your next steps, you can find out more about the Clearing process on The UniGuide’s Clearing Survivor’s Guide.

Remember there are always other options to consider if results don’t go to plan!

Check out our other posts for more information and tips on clearing

And most of all, good luck!

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