5 min read

March 11, 2024

A Guide to UCAS Clearing
You have the next few days to explore Clearing and see what is out there. Last year over 50,000 students found university places through Clearing. Therefore, it is important to do your research now as things will move very quickly on the day.

UCAS Clearing is a second chance for prospective students to get a place at university, by matching those that want a university place to universities with unfilled places.

There are several reasons why you might use Clearing:

  • Your firm (CF) or insurance (CI) choice universities were unsuccessful
  • You decide not to accept the place you've been offered, and use self-release to enter Clearing
  • You are applying after 30 June

We share our top tips for Clearing:

1. Review the options for courses that are similar to the ones you have applied to, check and see if one of your original five choices still have places on your course. Also look at your first choice university and see if they have aligned courses that have places in Clearing.

2. Make a shortlist of universities that you would consider if you don’t get your first or second choice. Research the course and do your due diligence on the university to be sure it is a place where you would be happy to study.

3. Check on the university websites how to apply for Clearing, some have forms you fill in online and other you will need to call on the day. Make sure you know and understand the process ahead of results day as Clearing is dynamic and places appear and disappear very quickly. Have your UCAS ID and your Clearing number to hand when contacting the universities.

4. Once the results are out, it is best for YOU to call the universities rather than email. All the universities in Clearing will be on standby to talk to students (not their parents or counsellors) and talk about their entry requirements. Universities operate call centres during this period so you may end up speaking to an admissions officer, a student ambassador or a member of support staff.

5. Treat these calls as mini interviews, have your personal statement to hand and be prepared to explain why you want to study this course at this university. You may also need to explain why you missed your grades. It is important to give the best of yourself in these calls by being positive and enthusiastic about your choice and to show you have done your research into this particular university and why it is a good fit for you. You are in competition with lots of other students in the same boat so make sure you have thought what you want to say in advance.

6. During the call, make a note of who you spoke to, what they said and make sure they have your phone number or email correctly recorded so they can contact you. Make sure you ask them questions too, such as will you be guaranteed accommodation for your first year, or how many hours of contact time will you have. Read more about student accommodation here.

7. Keep a record of the verbal offers you receive and the time frame they give you for accepting them. You are not obligated to accept the first clearing offer made. Wait for email confirmation to come in and then review all of your choices before making a decision.

8. Once you know which university you want to accept then you can add that choice into your UCAS Clearing You have then 24 hours to accept or reject the offer once it is updated in UCAS. You can only apply to one clearing place at a time so enter your top choice first.

9. If you are holding an offer at one of your original universities but have changed your mind, you will need to ‘self release’ from the original offer in order to be able to accept a place through Clearing. Do NOT do this until you know you have a firm offer from a Clearing choice as once you release your place it will no longer be available to you.

What if Clearing does not work out?

If things did not work for you this year, there are still plenty of other options to explore.

1. You may wish to consider retaking some of your subjects or changing subjects and applying to a different course. There are plenty of options for doing an A Level subject in a year. Read more about retakes here.

2. You may consider taking a gap year and rethinking your university choices. This will give you time to re-evaluate what you want to do and plenty of time to make a new application. There are so many valuable and worthwhile activities to do in a ‘gap year’ which will can enhance your application and be a great preparation for being a student in the future. Read more about ‘gap year’ activities here

3. You may decide that university is not for you and that you would be better off starting your career straight from school, either an entry level job or via a degree apprenticeship.

Remember that whatever happens on results day, this does not define you and your future. Whichever way it turns out, it may be the best thing that has ever happened to you.

If you have any worries or concerns and want to talk to a professional about how to deal with results day or how to work with the results you achieve, then please click here to contact our Education Consultants today.

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