Advice for family and friends

We all know how anxious and exciting the future can be, with all of its unknowns but also all of its possibilities. Exams and results can be one of the most stressful times of our lives, so here’s some advice from us if you’re supporting a friend or family member who’s going through Clearing this year.

Be prepared

Clearing planner
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How to support someone through Clearing

1. Do your research

Results day can be a nerve-racking time for students, as well as their family and friends.

To makes things a little easier, encourage your loved one to do a bit of research in the lead up to results day. This will ensure you’re both clued up on everything you need to know and are prepared to help when they need it most.

Useful things to research:

  • What courses would suit them (think about their A-level subjects, areas of interest and grades)
  • What universities they might like (location, facilities)
  • Key timings and dates for UCAS applications and Clearing.

2. Discuss alternative options

In the event they don’t receive the grades they were hoping for, have a chat with them to find out what other options they would consider. Entering Clearing is often the next obvious choice and can be a real opportunity. Get clued up by reading our handy guide to Clearing.

3. Plan for Clearing

With Clearing, it’s best to get ready as soon as possible. If they’d like it, give them a hand in putting together a list of possible university choices, course options and contact numbers (download our editable Clearing planner (Xlsx) to log this information). Doing this will allow them to take immediate action when Clearing options become available. It’s competitive out there, but planning in advance will put them in a much better position.

4. Look at all the details

Considering the ranking of a university and its courses may be important, but other factors can also improve your loved one’s university experience, such as the campus location, facilities and graduate employability. Encourage them to share what is important to them.

If they’re interested in Surrey, they can find out about our top 10 reasons we think studying here is great.

5. Keep calm and be reassuring

On results day, if your loved one doesn’t get the grades they were hoping for, you can help by being calm, encouraging them to talk and listening without judgement. Remind them that their future is bright, you believe in them, and they deserve to make the best out of this opportunity.

A lot of mental health support is out there. Looking out for signs of poor mental health and encouraging your loved one to look after their mind and body can be a great help.

6. Encourage them to make the call

If your loved one is hoping to go through Clearing, they will need to contact universities directly to discuss available places. It’s understandable you may want to help, but remember there may be questions that you as a friend or family member can’t answer, so it’s best they take control of their future and make the call themselves when they’re ready.

Things to have on hand when talking to a university:

  • Their UCAS personal ID
  • Their qualification results (for example: A-level, IB, GSCE)
  • Their personal statement.

7. Check the deadline for offers and stay positive!

Don’t forget to make a note of the deadlines to accept any university offers (this will be shown in their UCAS Track system and on university websites).

No matter what happens, make sure you stay positive. During Clearing (6 July to mid-September), keep calling universities to try and secure a place.

Remember that if things don’t work out and your loved one doesn’t get onto the course they want, they can always take a year out, explore other career options, or try again next year. There are no regrets in life, just lessons which help us grow.

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