Clearing can be a bit of a minefield, but an important one to get your head around. This is the rest of your life we’re talking about. When university clearing comes around every August it pays to be informed and to know your options so you can have a plan, whatever the outcome may be.
If your grades aren’t quite what you expected there’s no need to panic. Take note of the advice below from people who’ve said that their disappointing grades were just a chance to reflect and to work out exactly what they want to do in life. It’s not the end of the world, in fact it could be the very start of seeing a bit more of it.
Read on for the answers to your most asked questions about clearing and how an unplanned gap year could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Tom Smith took his first gap year five years ago and has never looked back. Here he tells us how his experiences have shaped his life and why travelling is such an incredible thing to do.
It can be a shock if you have a gap year plan and suddenly you have to take A-level resits. Harriet Lawrence explains why you need to get the right results before you go.
Coming back from a gap year in 2013? This career planner will help you understand annual graduate recruitment trends, and how to make the most of them.
With A-level results day approaching, not getting your grades is a reality for some. But hey, don't worry, we've got it covered in our questions on clearing.
Aside from enjoying the social aspect of university life, it can be daunting to think about your future career when in the midst of gaining a degree. To help you get the most from 2012, this handy timeline from graduate recruitment website Milkround will help guide you to a top graduate job, whichever year you're in.
"I'll never forget results day. I looked up at the board, found my name, ran my finger across, saw the grades - erm - went back to my name, ran my finger across - no, can't be true - back to my name, ran my fingers across - I couldn't believe my eyes. I'd missed the grades I needed...."
The approach of A level results is a stressful time for parents as well as young people. One option which your son or daughter may be considering is taking a gap year (roughly 40 per cent of those who take a gap year every year decide to do so after they get their results). Here's what's in store for you after results day.
"Last year on results day I was devastated. I hadn’t done enough work during my final year at school and had missed my grades for my first choice university. Rather than take my insurance choice, I decided to take a year out..."
"I wasn’t really feeling much, I don’t think. There was nothing much I could do about my results: I just had to wait and see. I kind of knew the exams hadn’t gone as well as they could, but as I say there’s little point in worrying about things you can’t do anything about."
If things don't go to plan on results day, you may find yourself faced with an unexpected gap year. Perhaps you've decided to re-apply to uni for next year, or perhaps you just want to take a year out to reconsider your options.
Clearing isn't for everyone. If you haven't got into your first or second choice uni, one alternative is to take a gap year and re-apply for the following year. This is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Clearing is a UCAS service that helps people without a university or college place to find suitable vacancies on higher education courses. It helps to find places for more than 35,000 people during Clearing every year.
Congratulations! But before you rush off to the boozer to celebrate your cerebral success (and kill off a few of those valuable brain cells) there are a few issues to be addressed. You may have got exactly what you needed, done just enough or confounded everyone with your scintillating grades - whatever - you should still think about your choices carefully.
So you didn't do too well. First thing: don't panic. You have far more options open to you than you might think. Remember: thousands of others are in exactly the same situation as you. You're not on your own. But whatever you choose to do over the next few days and weeks could change your life. That can be a great thing, but you have to keep a clear head and work through your options...
Mark 'Woody' Woodward from Bablake High School in Coventry is our favourite careers adviser. He's here to answer your questions about results day, clearing and what comes next. There's so much advice and heading off to uni can be a daunting prospect. Hopefully not after this Q + A session.
You've missed out on the grades you needed. You've got in touch with your first and second choice universities and they have declined to offer you a place. At this stage, you might consider re-sitting some or all of your exams as an alternative to entering clearing.
If you've missed out on the grades you need, you may find yourself re-thinking your choice of course. Perhaps you did badly in your chosen subject, and better than expected in a different subject. If this is the case, Clearing could be for you.