University Clearing: Advice for Sheffield students ahead of A-Level results day

In just a weeks time hundreds of A-Level students from across Sheffield will be finding out their results and making decisions that will pave the way for their future.

Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 1:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th August 2019, 2:13 pm

After two years of hard work, they will be keeping their fingers crossed they’ve achieved the all-important grades they need to study at their preferred university.

But for some the day will be tinged with a little dread, as they desperately hope they won’t have to embark on a hunt for a place through Clearing.

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The Clearing Suite at Sheffield Hallam University last year

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Once viewed as a last chance saloon for students who had not done so well in their A-Levels, Clearing now gives teenagers more flexibility and choice of places.

Last year Sheffield Hallam University took over 3,000 calls on A-Level results day, with 400 staff taking calls from prospective students.

It can be a simple process once you’ve done your research, and gives students a huge amount of power when choosing where to study – despite perhaps not doing as well as they’d hoped.

Alex Cutts, 20, a former Notre Dame High School student, had been planning on studying Journalism at the University of Sheffield after finishing her A-Levels in 2017.

There will be staff, students and various academics on hand at Sheffield Hallam University to help advise through the Clearing process

However, after failing to gain the A and two B’s needed to study the course, she opted to take the route to university through Clearing.

She said: “My original plan was to take a year out then resit my exams. I thought if I take a year out I could get a job and earn some money but then I realised that if I did that I’d lose that routine and would never end up going to university. I said to myself if I didn’t go now then I never will.

“I felt put off Clearing at school, some teachers told me to avoid it but some encouraged me to apply.”

After taking a day to gather her thoughts, Alex decided to go through Clearing with Sheffield Hallam University – a decision she believes was the right choice for her.

Sheffield Hallam University student Alex Cutts who took her route to university through Clearing

“I was a little bit apprehensive,” Alex said. “I knew I wanted to stay local and there were lots of similarities between the courses and the things they had to offer. I went to the Clearing open day shortly after and learnt more about the course, met some people and some tutors.”

Alex, who will go into her third year in September, added: “It helped ease my nerves as I didn’t know what to expect. It was the right choice for me and I’m glad I did it. I really love it at Hallam, I’ve met loads of people and have joined societies. For students thinking about Clearing I’d say just have a look at the options, don’t rule Clearing out.

“It opens the door, you just need to weigh it up and work out what is best for you.”

Carol Castle, Co-director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at Sheffield Hallam University, said her team had already taken a significant amount of calls from students about Clearing.

Students at Sheffield Hallam University

“On A-Level results day that is when we open our clearing suite," she said. “We’ll have a front line of staff on hand to give the best advice as quickly as possible. We also employ and train up a lot of students who have often been through Clearing themselves and they can take details about the callers qualifications, any areas of interest, give them a quick answer and sometimes even make them an offer.

“The advice I give to students when thinking about Clearing is to try and stay calm, you’re making a big decision and everyone is here to help. Our website has a wealth of information so over the next week or so start having a look, ringing up or come down and see us.

“We’re holding Clearing open days on August 17 and 20, and I’d encourage students to come down and get a feel for the place, that really helps with your decision. They can look round the facilities, meet other students and start weighing all of it up.”

Carol said the best way to get in touch with Sheffield Hallam University with any queries about Clearing is to call 0330 024 6390, a number which is open now right through until September.

The number can also be used by students who have already received an offer or have any questions about accommodation.

Clearing is open nationally from July 5 until October 23. Students can apply for a course using Clearing if they don’t have an offer from a university or college, and the course still has places.

For more information and advice about Clearing visit the UCAS website here or call 0371 468 0 468.