Date of release: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bev Woodhams, Head of Central Recruitment at the University of Greenwich, has more than 25 years' experience of helping potential students find the right place for them. These are her top tips.

1. Keep calm and stay focused
You will have to search harder for your dream degree. If, like a good scout, you can 'Be prepared' (see tip five) and are realistic with your choices, all is not lost.

2. Check original choices first
If you just missed your required grades or points, it is still worth contacting your first (firm) choice university. Places are very tight this year but they may still make you an offer to study. If not, be very quick and check out your second (insurance) choice.

3. Be positive!
If neither will confirm your place, you are now a 'Clearing Applicant'. You can call any higher education institution in the UK directly and ask if they will accept you on to a particular course with the qualifications you have.

4. Do your research
The early bird really will catch the worm, so it's worth surfing a number of universities' Clearing web pages a day or two before you receive your exam results. Set your alarm and call universities as early as possible. Search the UCAS vacancies list and university websites for course availability, and check their entry criteria. If you have the grades or UCAS points they require, or are close, it is worth giving them a call, though university academics will be looking at clearing applications very closely this year.

5. Be prepared
Make a list of questions. When Clearing opens, phone the university and speak to an adviser about the course. Academic staff are also at hand if you want to discuss it further. Ensure you have the results of your recent exams and your GCSEs to hand as well as anything else you intend to use as leverage. If you are undecided, give several universities a ring to see what they can offer, but do remember time is of the essence and this year some institutions may bring in an acceptance deadline.

6. Check it out
Most HEIs will host some kind of Open or Visit Day at the beginning of Clearing. If you are serious about studying somewhere, you need to know what it's like. You wouldn't buy a house without (at least) reading about it first, would you? Do they have a webpage for new students, student blogs or something online to give a flavour of the institution? Attend the Open Day, ask to arrange a visit even sooner if possible or just take a wander around to get a feel for the campus.

7. Are you sure?
Have you achieved better grades than expected? If yes, why not consider using the 'Adjustment Period? You can shop around for five days, safe in the knowledge that if you don't find a place you prefer elsewhere, you still have your original offer – a real bonus in the current climate of undergraduate study.

8. Money, money, money!
Having enough money is always a challenge for students. Have you applied for all the money you are entitled to? What bursaries and scholarships are on offer? Each year a huge amount goes unclaimed. This is FREE money so do some research and see if any's available to you.

9. Push the (TRACK) button
Once you have been made an offer by the university, you must confirm your decision on-line using UCAS Track. Some HEIs may only give you 24 hrs to accept their offer, others may give you a week. Don't miss the deadline: HEIs are likely to be very strict this year. UCAS will officially let the institution know your decision, but it is also a good idea to personally confirm your acceptance with the HEI as well.

10. Start getting excited
If the HEI and the course is just what you wanted, your offer is confirmed and you can already see yourself on campus, congratulations. Start checking your reading list and travel details, organise your student loan and accommodation, read the induction information and more. You've just made the first step of a new journey. Destination – success!

For more about Clearing at the University of Greenwich see

Story by Public Relations

Picture: The Clearing Hotline at Greenwich is ready for your call.