Thursday, July 25, 2024

Want to start a degree this year? The future is Clearing

MOST people think that if they have missed applying for a degree course at a college or university that they have to wait until the day of A-level results day to apply, which this year takes place on Thursday 16th August.

Not so, Clearing as it is known is the process that people have to go through if they find themselves without a place after their exam results have been received. Applicants without a place, or who are late deciding that they wish to apply to university or college can use Clearing until the middle of September.

Christina Hale, 23, from Hockley, was one of those who went through the Clearing process last year, and gained a place on the Certificate of Higher Education Business course at South Essex College of Further and Higher Education.

She said: “I’d decided to come back into education after a break of a couple of years, but didn’t decide to take the plunge into doing a higher education course until later in the application process, so I had to go through Clearing.

Initially I thought that being processed through a UCAS computer was going to be scary and daunting. Because I was a late entry I was concerned that I was going to be treated like the dregs and that I was just making the numbers up. I couldn’t have been more wrong and the process and service was really good.

I needn’t have worried as I got confirmation of my place back after a week and after completing my Certificate of Higher Education Business Studies, I’ve decided to stay on at the College to continue onto the BA (Hons) Business Degree.”

Christina wasn’t sure what to expect from studying full-time initially, especially juggling between studying and being a mum to a young daughter. But she has really found studying locally a huge benefit.

Christina added: “For me, the flexibility of doing a degree on your doorstep has allowed me to be both a mum and do a degree, and it’s given me the confidence after completing my one year course to tackle the full three year degree.”

There are a range of Higher Education courses still available through Clearing at South Essex College, these include Computer Games Design, Early Years, Fine Art, Network Technology and Sport. View the full list of courses at www.southessex.ac.uk/courses/clearing, which also includes a helpful Clearing ‘how to’ guide video.

Jane Belcher, Careers and Guidance Manager at South Essex College, said: “Across the UK, over 30,000 applicants secure a Higher Education place through Clearing, so although it might feel like a daunting experience you aren’t alone. At each of our campuses across Southend, Basildon and Thurrock we have a dedicated Learner Services Team who are able to give those people who have got their results, whether they be good or bad, helpful, unbiased, friendly advice about their future and what options they have open to them.”

On results day the Learner Services team a free drop-in service between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday-Thursday and until 4.30pm on Friday.

She continued: “Our Careers Advisers will be on hand to put students at ease and show them that, whatever their results, there will still be lots of options open to them. In a personal one-to-one meeting, we can help students to research courses and qualifications available to them through the Clearing system and come to an informed decision having looked at all the facts.”

There is also something known as the Adjustment period, which is for people who have exceeded their grades for their chosen university of college, giving them the opportunity to reconsider where they would like to study.

The College will have full clearing lists, a team of friendly advisers, as well as computers with internet access and telephones for contacting those all important institutions. Advice is available for everyone, regardless of age, location, qualifications or ability.

Jane gave the five following tips on Clearing:

1. Get advice

Advisers from Learner Services will be available to help you research your options and support you through the Clearing process.

2. Look at vacancies

All Clearing vacancies will be listed on www.ucas.com and in The Independent newspaper from Thursday 16th August. Once you have found a vacancy, look at the institutions website and read up on the course content.

South Essex College still has places on a range of its degrees and higher education courses, these can be viewed at www.southessex.ac.uk/courses/clearing. Vacancies are sometimes filled quickly, and sometimes courses become available later on so keep checking the UCAS website for the most up to date information.

3. Contact the institutions that interest you

Our Advisers will support you in contacting institutions. Ensure that you have your Clearing Passport and results to hand as you will need to refer to these when discussing entry to the course. Also, just because you are going through Clearing does not mean that you cannot arrange a visit to the university of your choice.

4. Add the choice on UCAS Track

Once you have spoken to an institution and decided where and what you would like to do, you must add this choice on UCAS Track. You must NOT add a choice before discussing entry requirements with the institutions first.

5. Your places is confirmed

If you are accepted by the institution this will be confirmed on UCAS Track and a letter will be sent to you. You can then start sorting out your funding and accommodation; again our advisers will be happy to help. If your place is not confirmed, don’t panic, just repeat the steps! Enjoy your time at university!

Jane offers these final words of advice: “If you don’t achieve the grades you were hoping for, then we will have someone available for you to talk to about the clearing process; and please, above all, remember not to panic. Don’t make rash decisions about your future, think things through and seek advice from your teachers or Learner Services department”.

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