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How to help your student survive results day and Clearing

Results day can be a mixture of emotions for students. As a parent or supporter, you’ll want to help them the best you can during this time, and we’ve put together our top tips on how you can provide support on the day.

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Tip one: Be prepared

In the lead up to results day, you can help your student to prepare by familiarising yourself with the Clearing process and researching potential options just in case exam grades aren’t as expected. Read our advice on what to do before results day (LINK).

On results day, your student can check the UCAS hub around 8am to see if their place has been confirmed. If your student is in doubt about their status, encourage them to phone their first choice university as they will be able to confirm the status of any application.

The University of Sunderland student helpline is 0191 515 3000.

It’s always worth encouraging your student to check with their first choice university, even if they haven’t achieved the required grades. The university may still be able to make them an unconditional offer. But if they can’t, don’t panic! There are still plenty of options available in Clearing. While your student or you may be disappointed, they didn’t get the grades they needed, try to remain positive and approach Clearing with an open mind.

Tip two: Set aside time

The Clearing process requires several steps, so plan to have some free time available on results day and afterwards. You may be providing support whilst they’re phoning Clearing lines, accompanying them to University Open Days, helping them to find alternative accommodation and updating student finance, so that they’re ready to start in September.

At Sunderland, we welcome students and their parents and supporters visiting us at our Clearing Drop-in events on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 August and at our Open Day on Saturday 19 August.

Tip three: Have key documents to hand

During Clearing, your student will need to provide their information to the university helpline staff, so ensure they have their key information close by, as well as useful resources. These may include:

  • Their UCAS ID number written down and on hand 
  • A-Level results with UCAS points equivalent and correct award and examination board names 
  • GCSE results with correct award and examination board names 
  • A pen and paper 
  • A fully charged phone 
  • A laptop or tablet for browsing 


Keep a list of Clearing phone numbers to hand for all relevant universities, such as those applied to and any others of interest for Clearing. You can also check your student’s grades against this tariff point calculator and start mapping the tariff points against Clearing options, so you know which universities are viable. Also, our Clearing course search tool shows which of our courses have places available in Clearing. Remember to ask your student if you are okay to help them do this!

Tip four: Be well rested

Results day can be a long day, so encourage your student to get a good night’s sleep beforehand and try to take some time to relax and mentally prepare yourself. Plan food and drink just in case you’re busy supporting your student through Clearing on results day.

For students, their results are the culmination of all their hard work at school and college, so it can feel upsetting if they don’t get into their first choice of university. You may also feel disappointed, but Clearing can be a very positive choice for your student. It’s an opportunity for them to explore alternative courses and universities, and ultimately make important decisions about their own future. Whatever route they’ve taken to start university, it’s an exciting time for students and their parents and supporters, and a cause for celebration!

Tip five: Call us

While you may want to call on behalf of your student, universities will not be able to speak to you personally without your student’s permission.

Clearing phonelines are often very busy, particularly between 8am and 11am. If your student cannot get through, remind them not to panic! Encourage them to keep trying, leave a voicemail if possible, and check the university website to see if there’s an option to apply for a Clearing place online or request a call back.

Here at Sunderland, we have an option on our website for you student to fill in a Clearing application form to apply directly for a place via our Clearing pages. Your student can also call our Clearing line on 0191 515 3000, and our experienced, friendly staff can help your student and you through the Clearing process.

Good luck!

We hope our advice helps you and your student to survive results day and Clearing. We wish you the best of luck for results day and hope to be welcoming your student to the University of Sunderland in September.