I thought Clearing 2010: a step-by-step guide was helpful guide from the Guardian, checkout the first couple of paragraphs below or click through for the details on what to do:
Clearing can still get you the perfect place at university, even if you miss your first choice
If your exam results come as a horrible surprise on Thursday morning and cause you to miss your university place, you might feel like running away to a distant land where the word Ucas is never spoken. That is an option – slip in a few exam re-takes, call it a gap year and you could successfully re-apply to uni next year. But, before you sprint to Heathrow, listen up: there are still steps you can take to get in this autumn.
The first thing to do is phone the admissions tutor at your first-choice university. If there are places available and you only just missed your grades (or have special circumstances, such as ill health confirmed by a doctor), they might still let you in. Unfortunately, that’s less likely this year: a combination of fewer places and soaring demand means there is probably going to be a queue of students scrambling for every available place.
But there’s still another route to starting this September: clearing. Think of it as a matchmaking service. Clearing joins up students who applied for higher education courses through Ucas this year but missed their offers with universities that still have places available after A-level results have been issued. Clearing can also be used by students who declined all their offers or applied too late to go through Ucas.
The bad news is that the clearing pool is likely to be more crowded than a lido on a summer’s day this year. Demand was already very high in 2009, when 158,000 applicants did not get a university place at all, up from 120,000 in 2008. This year, Ucas estimates that at least 170,000 applicants will be left without a place.
But you don’t have to be one of them. Clearing might seem a bit complicated, especially if you’re feeling stressed, but play it right and it could be your golden ticket to a brilliant university experience. Here’s how to do it, with admissions experts’ tips to improve your chances.
Before making the call: be prepared During the call: be specific After the call: stay focused