What do you do if it gets to January and you haven't applied to university yet? The important thing is not to panic, but act immediately. Here are the options available to you.
You can apply after the January 15 deadline for most courses
Universities don't have to consider your application, but if they still have places available they will prefer to consider your application than go into Clearing. Before you apply it may be worth contacting the university, or checking UCAS Extra, to see if they have spaces and would consider you before putting your application in.
Are you considering medicine, veterinary science, veterinary medicine or dentistry, or would you like to study at Oxford and Cambridge?
Competition for these courses and universities is fierce and the deadline for applying is 15 October the year before you want to start the course. So you have a couple of choices - apply for a related course (like science) and then go for a postgraduate degree, like medicine, after graduating, or take a gap year.
What do you do if the course of your choice is not available or you are rejected?
Have you thought about Clearing? It is not guaranteed that your course or chosen university will go into Clearing, but there may be something available to you.
How do I apply through Clearing?
- Make a list of the courses and universities you would consider.
- Check the UCAS website from 15 August 2013 when Clearing opens.
- Get all your paperwork together before you start, including your results.
- Make sure you get your Clearing number from UCAS Track - you'll need it.
- Contact the universities you are interested in.
- You can ask a university which turned you down if they will accept you for the same course or a different one through Clearing.
- Once you have got a provisional offer you want to accept, make sure you follow the advice on UCAS to confirm it.
Alternatively, have you thought about a gap year?
This is the ideal time to think about it. You will have 18 months before you have to start a course, which is plenty of time to work and play. Gap years are looked on very favourably by employers and university admissions and can make your application stand out. Just remember to make the gap year worthwhile - sitting on a beach for six months is not going to get the offers flooding in. However, you don't have to work all the time. You could decide to work for 12 months to fund a few months of travel or go travelling straight away, but volunteer or work overseas on a project which excites you.
Other gap year opportunities
- Look at teaching English as a foreign language, or learning the local language yourself.
- There are lots of opportunities around the world to help out at kids camps or coaching local sports clubs.
- You could just spend the time working in the UK to help with your tuition fees later on.
Whatever you do, a gap year is a real selling point on your personal statement or CV.