What is Clearing?
Clearing allows students who did not get the grades required for their offers; didn’t apply to university; didn’t receive any offers; or chose to reject their offers to apply to universities that still have spaces on some of their courses.
When does Clearing start?
Clearing starts for real on A-Level Results Day, 17th August 2017. If you have already decided to go through Clearing before you get your results, you can start doing research well before that. Most universities publish lists of courses with vacancies before Results Day. The quickest way to find these courses is to go to the UCAS homepage and click on ‘Find Clearing vacancies’.
How does Clearing work?
1) …don’t make either your firm or insurance offers and the universities don’t accept you on a lower offer, log in to UCAS Track to find out your Clearing number. Then you get on the phone and start calling universities. You can speak to as many universities as you like, and see if they have a place on a course that interests you. Have your Clearing number handy as this will allow Admissions Tutors to see your full application.
You can get as many verbal offers from as many universities as you like before you make a final decision – be aware though that most of these offers are for a period of about 48 hours so don’t take too long deciding. Make sure you make a note of the name of the person with whom you have had the conversation.
Once you have decided to accept an offer, go to UCAS Track, click on “Add Clearing Choice” and enter the details they give you.
IMPORTANT: Remember that you can only enter one choice. Although the UCAS system will let you add any course at any point, the university will not accept you unless you have agreed a place personally on the course with them, so don’t add any course details until then. If you do add in a course before you’ve personally agreed it with a university the system locks you out and you won’t be able to add any other choices until the university removes the request. This can take a few days and you might end up missing out on other courses.
2)… have changed your mind about accepting your insurance offer, proceed with caution. You probably spent some time researching that choice before you entered it as your insurance university. It is the only offer that you are holding on Results Day so do not withdraw until you have an alternative offer in writing. Phone the universities with published vacancies as described above. If you are made an offer then you will have to call your insurance offer university and ask them to release you. When you’ve been released, your Clearing number will show in UCAS Track. Click on “Add Clearing Choice” and enter the details of your new university.
3) … find yourself without any offers but applied through UCAS before 30th June, you get automatically entered into Clearing, your Clearing number will be available to you in UCAS Track from mid-July, and you can start calling universities. When you’ve been offered a place and you’ve accepted, go to UCAS Track, click on “Add Clearing Choice” and enter the details they give you.
4) … you do not apply to university through UCAS before 30th June but apply after, then you will be applying through Clearing. You’ll need to complete a UCAS application through the UCAS website like any other applicant – including writing a personal statement and getting some references. Your Clearing number will be in UCAS Track once your application has been processed and you can start contacting universities to see what courses are available. Once you get an offer and accept it, go to UCAS Track, click on “Add Clearing Choice” and enter your details.
Some things to remember about Clearing
- You are not a failure if you go through Clearing. Many students choose to go through Clearing, preferring to apply once they have received their results. In 2015 more than 64,000 students got into university through Clearing, that’s more than 10% of university starters.
- You do not need to wait for you Clearing number to appear on UCAS Track to start calling universities. You will not be able to get any formal offers, but some universities give informal offers which you can then make official once your Clearing number has come through.
- When contacting universities YOU should do all the negotiating for yourself. Do not let your parents do it. Before you call them make some notes on the course and the university and be ready to say why you want to do that course at that university. Have a pen and paper handy, as well as your Clearing number when you call.
- Do not email universities. Call them. Emails can be ignored or not answered for a few days and you could miss out. Call them. Lines will be busy during Clearing but persevere.
- You don’t have to accept your first offer. You can still call other universities and see what they offer you. Don’t take too long though!
- Finally don’t accept any old offers just to get into university. If there is nothing you really want to do, you could always wait until next year. You could have a gap year, go travelling, do some retakes, get a job and save some money, and go next year.