Clearing. It almost seems like a dirty word, a last resort. But is it? I found myself in the position of having to go through Clearing, and so to prepare others, I’m going to write about my experience. Admittedly I went through the process 3 years ago now, however, I don’t believe the experience will have changed much. It’s important to note that not everyone goes through Clearing for the same reasons, someone I know preferred their second choice University, but as the grades for this were lower, they had to put them the opposite way round. When results day came and they got the grades to get into their firm choice and then had to decline this in order to go through Clearing in order to change to their preferred University. There is a lot of useful information on the UCAS website itself about going through Clearing – so I would advise looking there if you want a more detailed account of the steps. Here I will be simply discussing and summarising what I had to do. On results day, you will have to go and collect your results from your College/Sixth Form – there is usually certain hours you’re able to do this. In my case, my Sixth Form was a little drive away, and therefore I was not there at the start of this period. Unfortunately, in my case, this ended up meaning that I received an email from UCAS letting me know that I was unsuccessful in obtaining a place at either my Firm or Insurance choice Universities before I had even seen my results. (Sad times). The first step in Clearing is looking through the UCAS search tool, I personally searched for the course I wanted to do. All Universities still with available places will advertise here, and this is updated throughout the day. Each degree course will display the entry criteria, and on the page about the course will be a telephone number for you to ring. If you are interested in a course, you will be required to call this number. This will then put you through to the University’s call centre where they will ask you to provide information such as the course code, your name and the grades you achieved. At this point, you may be put on hold (Urgh) for a short period while they check, or you may even be offered a place straight away. Being offered a place is not official at this point, and you are able to ring multiple Universities in order to evaluate your options. In Lincoln’s case, after I came off the phone, I received an email confirming that a place had been reserved for me until midnight that night. In order to make this official, you have to log on to UCAS Track and enter in a final Clearing choice. UCAS will then organise a confirmation of your results to be sent to the University. In case you are worried about accommodation, this email also stated that I would be able to apply for University accommodation from midday the following working day so long as I had entered Lincoln as my Clearing choice. Going through Clearing is a bit stressful, but it is doable, and it may only take one phone call for you to know that a University place has been secured at a University you would still love to attend. Click here for the University of Lincoln Clearing page.