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learningzone: Clearing a path to your future at university.

PERHAPS you didn't get the grades you expected? Or maybe you have only just decided that university is for you.

Either way, don't worry, as it is not too late to get a university place this year.

That's the good news from The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, whose clearing system helps people without a university or college place to find a suitable higher education course.

Last year, 35,000 students gained places through clearing and so far this year 14,000 students have secured a place.

There is still plenty of time to find the right course as the scheme doesn't close until September 20.

With more than 37,000 courses that have vacancies you are spoilt for choice - especially if you are prepared to be flexible.

Check the vacancy course search at www.ucas.com/ clearing to see what is available or read the daily clearing listings in The Independent.

Places on courses range from aerospace engineering to theatre design at institutions across the country, from Plymouth to Glasgow.

Talk through your options with your careers advisor or Connexions at your school, college or local careers office.

But remember, be proactive, make a note of the courses you are interested in and get on the phone to the university - admissions tutors will want to speak to you in person.

There is no need to be nervous, the staff on the phone are used to dealing with other people in your situation.

Ask the admissions tutors about the content of the course, university life and accommodation and, if you can, organise a visit.

If they are prepared to offer you a place they will ask for your clearing passport which you can get by calling the UCAS helpline, available from 8.30am to 6pm on 0870 1122211, and speaking to trained operators.

Finally, don't forget clearing is not the only option and you don't have to take the first offer of a course that comes along. You may decide that you want to improve your grades, study new subjects or start your career now.

Remember that the choice is yours and do what is right for you.

CAPTION(S):

READY FOR YOUR CALL... clearing hotline staff at the University of Birmingham.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 31, 2006
Words:372
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