EVERY year, August results day instils a mixture of emotions for prospective students as they eagerly await the results of all their hard work. Equally, parents and guardians hold their breath in the hope that all ends well and, although no one at this time can affect the outcome, you can plan for what may come next.

Securing a place at University through Clearing is new territory for most, therefore, there is fear of the unknown. Whether results yield the disappointment of missing their target grades, or the anxiety of a change of heart or mind about a course or university, going through Clearing can be a stressful time for the prospective student and those around them. The good news is that you can support them through this process, while ensuring you let the prospective student take the lead when it comes to the final decision.

So, what can you do?

Be Prepared

There is no harm in your prospective student doing some research about Clearing before results day. This will help to reduce feelings of uncertainty if they find that things don’t go quite to their original plan. Not only this, but if they are already having doubts about their course or university, they may find that there are other options out there which they can access through clearing.

The University of Cumbria has lots of helpful tips and advice for students who are considering going through Clearing. Find out more at: www.cumbria.ac.uk/clearing/.

Empathise, but Remain Calm

If they don’t make the grades for their first choice, they may be understandably disheartened and unsure as to what to do next. As emotions run high, ensure you are understanding, and keep calm, as you support their next steps. It is important to emphasise what they have achieved, and that clearing can be full of positive opportunities.


Encourage them to research which universities and which courses might interest them, and make a list of the available courses in order of preference; discuss options with them, but it is important to let them decide. Most universities will have a course search on their website. You can find ours at www.cumbria.ac.uk/study/courses/.

Support by helping to create a bank of key questions, before the call is made, to ensure that all the information they want is covered in the phone call.

Call the University

When the prospective student is ready, they can start calling their chosen universities. University of Cumbria will function like most universities and open a call centre early on the morning of results day. Due to Data Protection regulations, we can only talk to your child. If your child is unable to talk to us for any reason, we can talk to you with their permission, but we can still only make any offers directly to the applicant.

Ensure the prospective student is prepared when they call to discuss a course, and that they have all their details to hand, including their UCAS number, details of results including GCSEs, and a personal statement including why that course and university is of interest.

Be Flexible

Don’t make any concrete plans for the Friday and Saturday after results day, as many Clearing places may depend on interviews, and you may need to attend an Open Day, or have an interview. It is important to keep your time free for these eventualities.

Clearing at University of Cumbria

At University of Cumbria, we are always looking for enthusiastic students who might benefit from one of our many courses. Clearing is available from July to September each year. If your child already has their exam results but has no offers, they can use clearing from July. If they had conditional offers but their exam results didn't go to plan, they can use clearing from results day onwards, and lastly, if you receive higher than expected grades, or change your mind on what you would like to study, we will have dedicated phone lines open to help you receive the advice you need and a course that is right for you.

Despite the stress around this time, as a parent or guardian, you are the guides and support network during the clearing journey, which is an exciting opportunity to explore the next step towards your loved one’s future.

The University of Cumbria clearing hotline is 0808 178 7373, or +44 (1524) 590 800 for international calls. Lines open on Thursday, 15 August, 2019 at 6.30am.

Find out more at www.cumbria.ac.uk/clearing/

For further information about Clearing geared towards parents, check out the Which? Guide and the WhatUni Guide.