On the morning of results day, log in toÂ TrackÂ on the Ucas website to see if you are eligible for Clearing. It's a myth that Track is updated at midnight on results day. Only theÂ Clearing 2012Â Vacancy Search goes live at midnight; Track opens at around 8am.
2. Browse courses
You can browse Clearing 2012 vacancies at any time on results day, but you can't make a formal choice until around 5.00pm when, if you're eligible, an â€œadd Clearing choiceâ€ button appears on your Track â€œchoicesâ€ screen. However, you should call universities or colleges much earlier in the day to secure a provisional offer. Discuss your options with those who know your academic background and have been advising you up to this point. You might also find it helpful to talk to careers advisers on the Exam Results Helpline (0808 100 8000).
3. Be ready to act fast
Vacancies can be filled extremely quickly, and if you're not around at the start of Clearing places on your chosen courses may have gone by the time you call the universities or colleges. Admissions staff will want to speak to you, not your parents or advisers.
4. Prepare to contact admissions staff
When you have found a course you like, call the university's admissions office to confirm that places are still available and discuss the course demands. You should prepare for that phone call as seriously as for a job interview. Be ready to ask tutors intelligent questions about the course requirements, and make sure you are a good fit for them. You might want to ask how the course is taught, what assessment model is used, what materials you'll need to supply, and about the accommodation arrangements. Admissions staff will ask for your personal ID and Clearing number to confirm they can consider you in Clearing (you'll find these on the â€œwelcomeâ€ and â€œchoicesâ€ pages in Track). They can then view your complete application immediately on Ucas's secure online system.
5. Add a Clearing choice in Track
If an admissions tutor offers you a provisional place, you'll probably be given a deadline for making a formal commitment to the course by adding a Clearing choice on Track. You can only make one choice at a time. Before accepting an offer, research the course requirements and university carefully. You are committing to years of study and should feel confident that you're doing the right thing.
6. Confirm or pick another course
Ucas tells the institution that you have entered its details on Track. If you are successful, you will see the acceptance in the â€œchoicesâ€ section and Ucas will send you a letter confirming your place and giving further guidance. If you aren't successful the â€œadd Clearing choiceâ€ button will be reactivated so you can add another choice, and still more if necessary up until October 22. Vacancies in Clearing are a shifting landscape as people turn down offers and places are filled, so keep looking at the lists.
7. Consider applying again next year
If you can't find a course in Clearing that matches your aspirations you can always apply again for next year. Courses for 2013 are already available to browse on the Ucas website. You can start work on your new application right now, although you won't be able to submit it until mid-September.