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If you failed to make the grade?;What the admissions tutors say

CHRISTINE Kay, assistant secretary responsible for admissions at the University of Aberdeen, said: "My first advice to students who don't get the grades is - do not rush into anything.

"If they are going through clearing, they should try to see the university offered, ideally go there. If that's not possible visit the website. They are going to be there for the next three to four years so they don't want to be miserable.

Students can visit us as we're having an open day for clearing students on August 28.

"Many students might not get the right grades but they may still get on to their chosen course on points instead.

"If not, then they should think carefully about the options available. The most important piece of advice is - be available to discuss clearing with the university admissions departments. It is not a good idea to go on holiday. Admissions selectors are not impressed when they cannot speak to applicants themselves.

"A clearing application form is automatically sent to students eligible for the scheme and when they ring they should quote their clearing number and their UCAS numbers so it is a good idea to have them to hand.

"But try to be calm. There are often lots of places available through clearing. If they can't find the right course then they should think of an alternative such as a gap year or resitting rather than grabbing at any old subject."

The University of Aberdeen can be contacted by visiting the website Or contact the clearing hotline 01224 273504, faxline 01224 272031 or email:

Ian Rasmussen, assistant director of admissions at the University of Birmingham, said: "The number one rule is don't panic. People are often panicked into the wrong decision brought on by disappointment and peer pressure to go away to college whatever the course. But there are a number of options open.

"The universities get the results on the Sunday before they are published and so the decisions are already in process by the time the students call.

"The university does have some latitude about letting students in even though they might not have quite made the required grades.

"Obviously with certain subjects such as a poor grade in maths for an engineering course there would be less latitude. Like other universities we may accept equivalent points instead of the correct grades. Or we may offer a change of course.

"If students are left to go through clearing the most important thing is to get on the phone first thing in the morning. Last year we took more than 60,000 calls in the three days following the results.

"However if a student gets the right grades there is no need to ring as we are contractually obliged to take them. My advice is just go out and celebrate.

"Students who don't make the grades should think about a gap year to broaden their experience or take resits. It's only a year."

The University of Birmingham has a clearing information service on 0121 414 3344.

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