Clearing the Way for YOUR Future; IF You Have Missed the Grades You Need to Get to University, Have Decided You Want to Study Something Different from What You Had Originally Chosen, or Have Opted for Higher Education at the Last Minute, the Clearing System Can Help You. Education Reporter JOANNA DESIRA Found out How It Works

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNA DESIRA

IF you have just missed the grades to secure a place at your first and second choice university don't panic!

There is still a chance one of the universities you have chosen will give you a place.

But if not, clearing can help you find a place at a university to study the course you want.

It can also help if you have had a last minute change of heart about the subject you would like to study, or if you decide you want to go to university but do not have a place.

Clearing is run by the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and matches students without courses to universities without students.

This year UCAS expects to process clearing applications from 15,000 North-east students.

Figures from UCAS have shown in Middlesbrough last year, of the 1,557 students who secured a place at university, 160 were accepted through clearing. In Stockton, 85 out of 1,030 students were accepted through clearing; and in Redcar and Cleveland, 53 out of 681 secured university places through clearing.

Here's what to do if you have missed out on your grades:

If you have narrowly missed out, it is worth giving both your first and second choice universities' admission tutors a call.

You can find links to the clearing pages of universities through the Evening Gazette's website www.gazettelive.co.uk UCAS also publishes a list of vacancies on its website.

To be successful in the clearing process there are some simple steps to follow: ucas.com/clearing to find out how clearing works.

Look on Track at ucas.com to check the status of your application and to get your Clearing number, you will also be sent a Clearing Passport which is pre-printed with your personal ID, application number and clearing number and is the way to formally submit your application to a university.

Once you've found some courses, ring the admissions tutors to check you are eligible. Universities and colleges have clearing hotlines where staff will tell you more about the course and its requirements and if you sound suitable they will put you through to the admissions tutor.

When you speak to the admissions tutor explain why you are interested in the course.

A university or college that is interested in you will ask for details such as your clearing number and your application number. You will probably also be asked questions about your exam results.

If you are accepted onto a course, the university or college will contact UCAS and the offer will be displayed on Track.

WHEN Matthew Gallagher suddenly decided to take his future in a completely different direction, clearing helped him to achieve his aims.

The 19-year-old had originally opted to study art and design, but after opening his A-level results he realised he wanted to do a degree in business with marketing. …