Blog post

Clearing: How to nail your Clearing phone call

Here are some top tips on making that all important call on A-level results day and how to make a good impression when going through Clearing.

By Helen Mercado - 10 August 2023

What will the university want to know?

The university will want to know your grades. Don’t be too worried if you don’t get the grades you need. Many institutions run foundation-level courses which can require fewer qualifications for entry and will lead onto the course you have chosen.

Lecturers will want to know what interests you about the subject and for you to display your passion. If you have appropriate work experience or have read any books or journals about a specific area of the subject you’re applying for, tell them about it. Give them a sense of who you are and why you want to study the course.

What tips would you give to potential students making the call?

Take a deep breath and try not to worry – Clearing can be stressful but universities will do their best to put you at ease. They will want to talk to you, not to your relatives – not because they want to quiz you but because they want to understand you and make sure you understand what they are saying. And finally, make sure you have everything to hand such as your qualifications, certificates and a copy of your personal statement.

Remember that Clearing is not a bad thing; it can have an incredibly positive outcome and open up a world of possibilities! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

At Derby, you can also contact us via social media or our website, if making a phone call is not convenient for you.

What would you advise potential students to do to prepare before, during and after the call?

Before you make the call, have a look at universities which offer the course you’re interested in. Take a look at the course information, module descriptions and the method of assessment to see if this would be the right option for you. It’s also a good idea to explore the types of accommodation and to get a general ‘feel’ for what the university is like. Make the most of university Campus Tours, which offer you the opportunity to have a look at the facilities and accommodation – at Derby, we offer tailored tours to give you a greater sense of what it would be like to be a student here.

During the call, stay calm and confident. The university is there to put you at ease and to help you make the right choice. Show your passion and make sure to let the call handler know of any relevant work experience, along with your qualifications.

Once you have a place confirmed, then you can find out more about the university and secure your accommodation. Social media is a great place to connect with students who will be starting at the same time as you – join forums, social media groups and keep an eye on the Students’ Union channels to hear about social events and activities planned for new students.

What should they say on the phone?

Find out more about Clearing at the University of Derby

For further information contact the press office at

About the author

Helen Mercado - Head of Admissions

Helen Mercado
Head of Admissions

As Head of Admissions, I am responsible for leading the delivery and development of the University's admissions function.