Parents and carers guide
When it comes to August and exam results time, what happens if your son or daughter doesn’t get the grades they need?
The answer is not to panic. If they’re set on higher education, there’s still another chance to apply at that point, through Clearing. It’s a process that’s used every year to match up students looking for a university place to courses that still have vacancies on them.
Many universities take applications through this route, so there’s a good chance your son or daughter can still study something they’ll enjoy and get the university experience they want.
We’ve summarised the main things to know about Clearing below. You can also read our Clearing FAQs for more information.
Your son or daughter can use Clearing if they:
- don’t get the grades they need to get into their first or insurance choice universities
- missed the 30 June UCAS application deadline
- didn’t apply through UCAS but decide they would like to go to university
- didn’t receive any offers through UCAS or do not wish to accept the offers they have received.
Clearing officially opens on 6 July each year. But most people wait to see what their exam results are before using the system. Places can fill up quickly, so encourage your son or daughter to get on the phone on results day once they have their exam results from their school or college so they can find a course and institution they’re comfortable with.
You’ll find a list of course vacancies on the UCAS website. They’re also listed on most university websites. We publish our Clearing vacancies on our site from July onwards each year.
Once the Clearing vacancies are published, spend some time with your child going through the available options, and seeing what’s on offer that might appeal to their career goals, interests and skills.
They’ll need to check they have enough UCAS points to do a particular course. They can do this by making a list of their qualifications and grades, and working out how many UCAS points they hold using a tariff calculator.
If they don’t meet the stated entry criteria, don’t worry. Not meeting the exact offer doesn’t always mean they won’t get accepted – if their application is strong, we may still be able to offer a place.
We also offer a wide range of Foundation year programmes that can help give them the best start at university. Encourage your daughter or son to call us on 0330 123 2023 and ask for advice and guidance.
Once they find a course they’re interested in, the next step is to apply to the university or college directly to see if they’ll offer them a place.
Once Clearing opens, they can contact us by calling 0330 123 2023, or apply to us through social media if they prefer.
If they haven’t already gone through UCAS, they can apply for a course with us directly – online, by phone or social media. The only exception to this is for our BSc (Hons) Nursing, BSc (Hons) Social Work, or one of our Operating Department Practitioner programmes. If they want to apply directly for those, that needs to happen through UCAS.
We’ll need their Level 3 exam results (A-levels / BTECs etc), as well as their Maths and English GCSE results, when they contact us.
How you can help
Encourage them to write down any questions they might want to ask before calling us about a Clearing place, so they don’t forget anything. And remind them to stay calm – chances are there will be options open to them, so if they have their heart set on going to university, it’s likely that can still happen.
It’s up to them. They can still go to their first choice university if they want. If your son or daughter is registered with UCAS, once they receive a verbal offer (or an offer through social media) of a Clearing place from us, they can add us as a Clearing choice on UCAS Track. They can usually do this after 3pm on results day.
If your son or daughter is registered with UCAS, once they receive a verbal offer (or an offer through social media) of a Clearing place from us, they can add us as a Clearing choice on UCAS Track. They can usually do this after 3pm on results day.
If they apply to us directly, we’ll email to let them know what they need to do next.
On 13 and 14 August, we are holding Virtual Clearing Open Days which are a great opportunity for them (and you) to get a feel for what it’s like here at Bucks. We also run Open Days throughout the year.