Clearing is almost closed with the final date of 20 October fast approaching. Many students have already finalised a place this year, but what do you do if you are unable to make this intake? Let’s think about some potential options.

Start at a different time.

Not getting a place this Autumn doesn’t mean that you have to wait until Autumn 2021 to start. Many universities offer mid-year intakes and you’ll often find courses starting in the Spring. Have a look at your options, particularly if you’re now thinking you want to learn closer to home. Alternatively, if you do want to go next year, start working on your UCAS form or other applications which are open now.

Look at alternatives.

Many local colleges offer Higher Education provision at HNC or HND level which you can then use to apply to university to ‘top-up’ into a full degree at a later date. These can be cost effective as well as they can be cheaper to study. If there isn’t a suitable course locally, consider online learning, which has grown in popularity rapidly during the last year. Online programmes often have flexible start dates and offer the potential to work while studying or possibly gain some practical experience. Degree apprenticeships are another way to get a higher education qualification and doing this alongside working can help make you an attractive candidate in the future job market.

Maximise a gap year.

Taking a gap year used to mean travelling the world, but in the current pandemic, this is much more difficult, though still possible. There are other ways to spend a gap year though; work shadowing, completing additional qualifications or maybe volunteering. There are still lots of possibilities to pursue these options and they will add colour to your future personal statements. Think outside the box and consider new fields or something you have an interest in but haven’t had any experience in; it might give you a new perspective on what you want to do after your gap year is over.

It might seem disheartening that you haven’t managed to get a place on a course, but with some renewed spirit and courage, you can still make this academic year work for you. Take some time to think about what you want and then go for it; in 12 months’ time you could have changed your world in so many ways.

Sian Duffin is Student Support Manager at Arden University