Dreaming of studying in the UK but unsure whether your grades are good enough? Worried that you may be too late to apply to courses beginning this year?
The university Clearing system could be the answer. Clearing is a service provided by the UK’s University and College Admissions Service, commonly known as UCAS, which matches prospective students with vacancies on university courses.
Clearing is available to EU and international students, as well as those from the UK.
If you applied to your chosen university through UCAS in the first round of applications, that’s before 30th June, and your grades don’t meet your course’s requirements, you will be automatically entered into Clearing. If you decided that you wanted to study in the UK after 30th June you can still register with UCAS and apply through Clearing.
When you enter Clearing, you will be able to search a database of universities and the courses they have available. When you find one that appeals to you, you will need to ring the university and speak to a member of their Clearing team.
They will then be able to advise you as to whether or not your experience and qualifications match their requirements. If they do, they may make you an offer over the phone, at which point you are able to select that course by putting it into UCAS track, the section of your application where you can view the status of your choices.
Be aware that you will not be able to add a Clearing choice between 2pm BST on 12th August and 3pm on 18th August as the service will be preparing for the release of UK students’ exam results on August 18. You are also only able to add one choice, so make sure you are certain it’s right for you before doing so.
You can see a full guide to Clearing on the UCAS website, however there may be a few points that need clarifying if you’re making a late decision to study in the UK.
Moving abroad for at least the next three years of your life is a big decision, so understandably you might be keen to see the place where you will be studying.
The majority of universities will offer virtual tours on their website so you can get a feel for the place you’ll be living. At the University of Bedfordshire we offer virtual tours of our campuses, including student accommodation, in the form of videos.
Once you’ve decided where you want to study, it’s important to know that you are going to have somewhere to live. UK universities all have dedicated accommodation teams. They will be able to point you in the right direction and tell you if there are spaces left in the university’s own accommodation, known as ‘halls’.
If there aren’t, you may want to look at renting privately; again, the admissions team will be able to assist you with this. At the University of Bedfordshire, we also have an ‘emergency accommodation service’ so that students have somewhere to stay until they find a more long-term solution.
You will also have to finalise your student finances before arrival. If you are an EU student, you may have applied – or may still be able to apply – for a student loan. If you’ve already made both your UCAS and student loan application but are now going to be studying on a different course, you can adjust the details of your loan by logging into the student finance website and following the instructions. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for a loan, you can use the student finance calculator. Whilst international students are not eligible for student loans, your university will be able to advise on the support that is available to you.
So even if you didn’t get the exam results you expected, or you have decided that studying the UK is right for you at the last minute, you don’t have to miss out. You can still join hundreds of thousands of others and begin your course this September.
by Ruth Elwell, International and EU Admissions Manager at the University of Bedfordshire.