University Tips Blog
Image of a group of students researching university
A headshot image of the author, Donna Beardmore

by Donna Beardmore

Marketing Campaigns Manager at the University of Sunderland

posted on 4 Jan '23

A parent guide to Clearing and making university decisions on A Level results day

There’s no getting away from it, applying to university is complicated. As a parent or guardian, you will see the trials and tribulations faced, particularly on results day and Clearing

Results day is a key date for applicants to university and as parents and supporters, your nerves will also be riding high. Here are some practical ideas to help the day go smoothly.

Knowledge is power

If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology and timescales of Clearing, there’s lots of very useful and clearly explained information on the UCAS website. Many applicants secure a place through Clearing and there is lots of help available along the way.

Help your young person research their options

If your son or daughter achieves the grades they need, they are unlikely to need Clearing and their university will likely confirm their place early on A Level results day. When they log into UCAS Track this will show if they have been accepted onto their firm or insurance university choice. However, if they didn’t get the grades needed to meet the conditions of an offer, they still have options and can participate in Clearing.

Even if your young person is confident they will achieve the grades they need, it is worth researching other universities with slightly lower entry criteria, just in case. All universities will have their courses, accommodation and scholarships detailed on their websites. Students will have already looked at other universities before they made their first application, but it is always worth having another look in case any new courses or incentives are available.

Image of a parent supporting their child researching university routes

Results Day - what happens if they didn’t quite get the grades they were expecting

First of all, it is always worth checking with their first-choice or insurance offer university, even if they haven’t achieved their required grades. The university may still be able to make them an unconditional offer. If they can’t, this is where your support will be invaluable. Your son or daughter may be upset and anxious, but don’t worry, there are always options. This is what Clearing is all about.

Try to keep them calm and focused. They now have some decisions to make so a cool and rational frame of mind is essential. They should start looking at those fallback options they have researched. Many universities will also have courses specifically designed for those with lower or non-standard entry requirements and they may also be able to consider a Foundation year. Have key information close to hand, such as their UCAS number, qualifications and grades as institutions will ask for these.

With the right preparation and support from parents and carers, every single student has options on results day, no matter what results they achieve.

Final tip: Remember your young person needs to communicate with universities themselves - universities will need to speak directly to the applicant.

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