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Top tips for Clearing from a university admissions director

Prepare for a stress-free A-Level results day with advice from Nottingham Trent University's Associate Director of Admissions and Student Recruitment, Amy Smith.

Amy Smith, Associate Director of Admissions and Student Recruitment at NTU, offers her top tips for a smooth Clearing application

As A-Level results day approaches, students across the UK will be waiting in anticipation to find out how they performed in their exams – and if they got the university place they hoped for.

But if their results aren’t quite as expected they can use Clearing to secure a place on a University course.

Clearing helps students find a university or college place and covers lots of scenarios — from different grades than expected, including higher than predicted results, to students changing their minds about where, or what, they want to study.

For those that unexpectedly find themselves entering the Clearing process it can feel daunting, but approached with the right mindset, it isn’t just an exciting process, it’s a potentially life-changing one.

Amy Smith, Associate Director of Admissions and Student Recruitment at Nottingham Trent University, one of the largest universities in the UK, offers her top tips for a smooth Clearing application:

  • Take time to do some proper research by looking at courses online before making any calls – there is no harm in having a plan ready now
  • Clearing applications are usually made over the phone — but check university and college websites ahead of results day to find out how to apply. If you are applying online, take your time, make sure you complete all the fields and double check the information is correct before submitting
  • Before you make any calls, have all the essentials on hand — your results, including GCSEs and any other Level 2 qualifications, courses of interest, and a pen and paper
  • It must be the student that contacts universities during the Clearing process, so it might help to have someone focused and supportive on hand to help prepare for calls
  • During the call, speak clearly and listen to what the adviser is saying, note down any important information.
  • Your offer will be followed up with an email, read it carefully and check all the course details before you accept
NTU Graduate Gemma Small talks about her Clearing experience

“Students come through Clearing for different reasons and, no matter why they’re entering the process, it can be nerve-wracking picking up the phone. Universities will have friendly and helpful advisers on hand so there’s no need to worry. Just do some preparation, take some deep breaths, and take your time.” Amy said.

Gemma Small, who is now part of NTU’s Graduate Development Programme after coming to the university to study Media Production through Clearing, said: “My main advice for Clearing is not to panic. Try and keep a level head, so you can do some effective research and decide what you’ll do next. There will be a place for you somewhere and ending up somewhere unexpected does not mean your university experience has been ruined – it may well have been improved.”

NTU was awarded The Times and The Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2023 and ranked University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023.

Contact Nottingham Trent University’s Clearing hotline on 0115 848 6000 or visit

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email


    Sarah Mcleod, Corporate PR Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8735, or via email.

    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.

    The Research Excellence Framework (2021) classed 83% of NTU’s research activity as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.

    NTU was awarded The Times and The Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2023 and ranked University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023. It was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards), University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).

    NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with approximately 40,000 students and more than 4,400 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 7,000 and an NTU community representing over 160 countries.

    Since 2000, NTU has invested £570 million in tools, technology, buildings and facilities.

    NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2021 UCAS UG acceptance data). It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was the first UK university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.

    NTU is ranked the second most sustainable university in the world in the 2022 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).

Published on 2 August 2023
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