Parents – here’s how you can help your child through Clearing

A level students across the country are hoping they get the grades they need this week – and the uncertainty can make it a stressful time for both parent and child.

Results day can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. So what if things don’t go to plan on the big day?

Clearing is a chance to find another course for students who don’t get the grades they needed for their original university offer. Although it may seem like a real setback, there are loads of great courses available in Clearing, and it can even be an opportunity to find a better alternative.

Here’s how you can be a source of strength (rather than add to the stress) in the run up to results day, and help ensure your child has a backup plan for Clearing if they don’t do as well as they’d hoped.

Learn how Clearing works

This video gives a great overview of the UCAS Clearing process.


If you want to dig a little further, there’s loads of information out there. Start by checking out our top tips for results day and Clearing.

Help them prepare a Plan B

Talk about the career they want to pursue after graduation and go from there. They’re going to be studying their course for (at least) three years so it also needs to be something they’ll enjoy and are good at.

In the end it’s their decision, but make sure you’re there as a sounding board, if needed, to help them be confident in their choices.

Here’s a couple of practical things they can do:

  • Draw up a shortlist of alternative courses and universities
  • Make a note of all the university Clearing numbers they may need (the University of Bradford’s is 0800 073 1225)
  • See if it’s possible to make an online application (they can apply to the University of Bradford online here, and receive an instant decision)

Do this before results day, so if things don’t go to plan on the day you can move quickly to secure a good alternative.

Help them relax

Make sure exam results isn’t the only topic of conversation! Get out and do something fun the evening before results day to take their mind off it. The hard work and preparation is done by this point so a nice break will be very welcome.

Also make sure they get a good night’s rest – whatever their results, they have a busy day in prospect on results day.

Be around on results day

A Level results day is on Thursday 16 August. If possible be on-hand throughout the day to offer support.

You could go with them to pick up their results – if they want you to that is!

If they don’t get the results they expected stay calm and positive, and help them focus on their next step. Don’t be tempted to try and take over – it needs to be them making the calls to Clearing helplines and the online applications. Make sure they have all their details to hand before they start though.

Most universities will be open for visitors on results day and for a few days afterwards. If your son or daughter needs to choose an alternative university in Clearing it’s a good idea to go and get a feel for campus if possible – being able to take them would be really handy. The University of Bradford has drop-in sessions on Thursday 16 August and Friday 17 August, and a full Open Day on Saturday 18 August – find out more and register >>

Remember it’s not the end of the world!

There are many extremely successful people out there who went through Clearing (here’s just one example from Bradford), and many different paths to success.

Best of luck!

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