Didn’t get the A-Level results you were looking for today? Or simply don’t have an offer of a university place?

Our Chief Executive Dr Rory Perrett is here to give you some wise advice for those if you’re facing the UCAS Clearing process to try and gain a place on a degree course. 


 Dr Perrett has held senior posts in the education and business development sectors over the past 20 years and his main piece of advice is: “Don’t panic!”



I know you’ve probably heard it countless times before, but the first thing I have to say is there really is no need to panic. If you stress yourself out with worry it’s less likely you’ll be thinking rationally , and that can lead you to making the wrong decisions. So take a deep breath, take your time and make sure you do what’s right for you in your heart.



Don’t feel that you have to grab the first course that’s offered to you; it will potentially change the next three years of your life and beyond, so it’s important that you accept an offer for the right reasons and think of the long-term consequences.



Ok, so you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for – that doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t got the place you had set your sights on. Rather than going directly through to UCAS to find out what courses still have places, the first thing to do is to call the institutions you applied to direct, starting off with your first choice. Often when the decision is 50/50, the impression and enthusiasm that you communicate over the phone can sway someone’s decision, so be confident and explain clearly why you deserve a place on the course. As well as your grades, they will be looking at your personal achievements, reason for your application and your potential commitment to the course. Asking questions about the course is a good way of showing your interest, for example you could ask about a particular module, if there are opportunities for work experience on the course or how the assessment works.



I know of a girl who didn’t get the grades she needed for a course, but she called the university and was knocked back. A few hours later she called again to ask for a place and her persistence impressed the university and she was offered a place! Nothing is set in stone and vacancies have a habit of going up and down during Clearing as people accept or cancel their applications, and the universities change their minds.



If this approach doesn’t bring success, the next step is to find iInstitutions with vacancies. These are listed on the UCAS website: www.ucas.com and on the Telegraph website: http://clearing2012.telegraph.co.uk/. You can also for the first time download the Telegraph Clearing App, which allows you to look up vacancies via your mobile phone on the move.


Call the Institutions’ Clearing Hotline, make sure you are armed with your exam results, course choices and Clearing number, which you can find on your UCAS Track page. Find a quiet place to start making phone calls and try and get online so you can search what places are available.



You can approach as many institutions as you like through Clearing, so it’s important not to take the first offer that comes your way. There may be places on similar courses, or you could consider doing a joint honours or foundation degree course (like the one we do in Live Events Production at Backstage Academy), or a higher national diploma (HND). Just keep asking yourself if the course is relevant to your ideal future career and make sure you research the institution and location thoroughly.



The Student Room website is a great resource that offers a platform to share information with other A-Level and university students about courses, careers, universities and student life: www.thestudentroom.co.uk



At Backstage Academy we still have places available on our Foundation Degree in Live Events Production, which starts this November, with an induction weekend in September. If you’d like to find out more about the course or indeed apply through Clearing or otherwise, the advice is to call us direct and speak to a member of the team: 01977 659880. Alternatively you can email Robin Watkinson at: robin.watkinson@backstage-academy.co.uk



We are bracing ourselves for phone calls on result day today and will be preparing to give out offers and accept new students. Even if you didn’t get the grades you were after, we are still keen to talk to you.