Published: 00:01, 14 August 2014
Keep calm and apply through clearing. No, it is not the message printed on a novelty mug – it's the advice from university admissions bosses on A-level results day.
Research by Which? University has found more than half of students with a conditional offer have not got a plan B if they fail to get the grades they need. And 70% have not researched clearing at all.
Clearing is offered to students who have not been accepted into their first or second choice university. The system is managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and helps more than 50,000 students to gain a place each year.
On results day, courses with places still available are listed on the UCAS website and students can apply to individual universities for one of these places.
The University of Kent at Medway is expecting to receive several thousand to its clearing hotline in the days after A-level results day. Head of admissions Steve Holdcroft said the important thing is not to despair.
"Don't panic, but do get yourself organised. Each year thousands of students go through clearing and gain a university place on a course on which they are happy..." - Steve Holdcroft, University of Kent
He added: "Think of clearing as an opportunity. You have simply yet to find the course that is best for you and this is an exciting time to do it.
"Don't panic, but do get yourself organised. Each year thousands of students go through clearing and gain a university place on a course on which they are happy."
Mr Holdcroft's advice for students applying through clearing is be flexible, do your research - and don't delay.
He explained: "The more flexible you are in your choice of course, the greater your chances of success in securing an offer. However, don't pick a subject just because you've got the required grades. Choose a course you think you'll enjoy and do well in.
"Many places on popular courses are filled by mid-morning on results day, so don't delay.
"Write down all the questions you want to ask before phoning. Admissions officers are more likely to be impressed if you have thought about what you want to study. Make a few notes after each call, so you don't get confused.
"Once you have received an offer, don't rush or feel pressured into making a decision. Take some time – a few hours or even a day – to think it over, but no longer."
The University of Kent
0845 2000 166 or 01227 827 272
Canterbury Christ Church University
University for the Creative Arts, Rochester
The University of Greenwich at Medway
020 8331 9000
Are you going through clearing? What was your experience? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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