Get clear on Clearing: Advice from Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University (BU) will be on hand to support and guide students whose A Level results are not what they expect.

Trained advisers will be available at BU from 8am on results day (Thursday 14 August) to talk students through the Clearing and Adjustment process, and help them pick the right course for them.

Clearing is the last point in the UCAS admissions cycle and offers students who have been unable to secure their first or second choice course, or haven’t yet applied for university, the chance to find a course that starts in September.

Karen Pichlmann, Head of Admissions at BU, advised people to prepare in advance of exam results – thinking about what universities and courses they might like to approach if they find themselves in Clearing.

“Choosing a place through Clearing is no different to choosing a place through choosing a university place full stop, only it takes place over a shorter period of time – so preparing your Plan B and thinking about who you want to go to is key,” she said.

“At Bournemouth University we’re here to support the students through that process.

“We’ll have a large team of trained and helpful staff to take calls from potential students.

“We’ll discuss with their exam results, what opportunities we have and potentially give them an offer – so there’s plenty of people to help and support and encourage students through that process.”

Karen added that, when going through Clearing, potential students should not rely on parents to make the calls on their behalf and should be prepared for a mini-interview on the phone.

“Once they know they are in the Clearing process, my top tip would be to get on the phone early to talk to the universities, because some will only have a small number of places and they can go really quickly,” she said.

Be prepared for a mini-interview – so think about why you want to do that course, what interested you about that institution and what you think you’re a good match.”

She added: “We really do need to speak to the student in this and while it might be difficult for them to make that phone call, we really do need to talk to them and not their parents.”

Students who exceed the conditions of their original offer can choose to study on a course with higher entry requirements, through a process called Adjustment.

Karen explains: “If students find that they receive better results than expected, and they are still happy with their firm choice, they don’t have to do anything more than go and celebrate.

“However, if those results mean that they are now qualified for something they never thought they could achieve, there’s the UCAS Adjustment process which enables students who have exceeded the conditions of their firm choice to discuss with other universities the option to go and study there.”

Clearing and Adjustment toolkits, which explain the process and what to do if you find yourself going through it, are available to download from the BU website.

A BU Clearing helpline will be available from 8am until 8pm on results day, 8am until 6pm on Friday 15 August and from 9.30am to 4pm over the weekend.

We will have trained advisers there ready to discuss opportunities and to help people through the process,” said Karen.

“We do understand that it can be very stressful and we’d really like to help students make the right decision for them.”

To find out more about Clearing and the opportunities available at BU, visit or call 01202 966777 from 8am on Thursday 14 August.

BU Makes Clearing Clearer


If you are one of the thousands of students nervously waiting to receive your A-level results tomorrow, we wish you the best of luck.

If your results aren’t what you expected – or you haven’t applied for uni but decide that you want to attend in September after all – then it’s important to remember there are still options available.

Bournemouth University will have a team of expert advisers on hand to talk you through what to do next.


Clearing is the point in the admissions cycle where students can apply for a course which still has vacancies for September 2013.

To find out which courses still have places available at Bournemouth University, you can visit our Clearing web pages, download our toolkit or speak to an adviser on our Clearing helpdesk – 01202 966777 – which is open from 8am until 8pm on results day, 8am until 6pm on Friday 16 August and from 10am to 4pm over the weekend.

“Don’t panic and make a hasty decision,” advises Karen Pichlmann, Head of Admissions at BU.

“You will be studying for your degree for at least the next three years, so make sure the university and course are right for you.”

This includes asking questions about important things like course content, placement opportunities and how degrees are assessed.

When you call the university, you will be asked questions about why you want to do that the course, so make a few notes before you ring.

Karen adds: “It’s a really big decision, so make sure you do your research before calling a Clearing hotline.

“Check UCAS, university websites and newspaper supplements to see what courses are available, and then look into them in more detail – universities and courses you may have initially disregarded because their entry requirements were too high may be more flexible at this time of the year.”

It’s also important that you call for yourself, and don’t get parents or teachers to do it for you, as universities can only make offers to prospective students themselves. Have your UCAS number, GCSE results and A Level/BTEC results to hand when you call as you will be asked for this information.

BU Events and Leisure Marketing student Emma Craig found her course through Clearing after missing out on her firm and conditional choices by 20 UCAS points.

Emma, who is about to enter her final year, said: “Anyone who finds themselves in Clearing should go into it with an open mind.

“Initially, I thought I wanted to do sports management, but when the person on the phone told me about this course, it was perfect. Now I want to work in events and my dream job would be running festivals in Australia.

“Clearing was a second chance really – I mucked up in my exams at college, but now I’m on course for a 2.1 in a degree I love, and getting better grades than people who did well in their A Levels.”


If you exceed the conditions of your first choice university offer, you can choose to reconsider what and where you want to study through a UCAS process called Adjustment.

Your original uni place will be held for you (for a limited period) while you find out about other options.

If you are eligible for Adjustment, you can find out more about options available at BU by visiting the Adjustment pages on our website, downloading our Adjustment toolkit or by calling the helpdesk on 01202 966777.

BU also has an unlimited number of Academic Excellence Scholarships available for students who have achieved ABB or above at A-Level, or equivalent – worth up to £2,000.

Open Days

A lot of universities hold post-Clearing open days, so see if you can visit them and get a feel for the place.

We have Open Days on Friday 16 August and Saturday 17 August, running between 11am and 3pm, where you can tour the campus, find out more about life at BU and see some of our accommodation.

There are also Campus Tours running on Wednesday 21 August, and you are welcome to visit and do a self-guided tour during working hours any day – just pick up a guide from reception or download one from our website.

Find out more and register for upcoming Open Days

If you have any questions about your place at BU or the Clearing process, please call the helpdesk on 01202 966777