University Clearing

How University Clearing Works

Clearing is a second chance for those that didn’t get the university of their choice. If the university you wanted to attend decided not to enrol you and you still want to go to university, you can go through the process of clearing and find a university that still has places available. This allows you to reapply to universities (although not to your first choice) that have vacancies that haven’t been filled yet.

What to do if you Haven’t Received any Offers

If your offer got turned down on results day, you will need to contact other universities to find out if they have any unfilled places on the course you want to study. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the higher the chance those spaces will be filled by other students that are going through the clearing process.

You will need to apply to as many universities as you can. Before you start the clearing process, go onto the UCAS website and find out which five universities you applied to first, if you don’t already remember them. Call the universities which didn’t offer you a place and ask them if they have any more places available for the course you want to study. 

How to Apply 

On results day, if you didn’t get the grades you needed to get into the university of your choice, you will get told by said university first thing in the morning. If you know that you still want to go to university, type into your browser the name of the course that you want to do and the word “clearing”. There will be several different universities that have clearing places, but you will need to think about whether the places you look at are for you. You will need to do research on different universities that you think you might like to attend. Remember that you most likely won’t have time to go and see them in person once you’re in the clearing stage, so find out what other people liked about the course and what they liked about the university itself. 

Ring the clearing hotline number and give them the name of the course you wish to apply for. They will then direct you to the correct department and you will have to tell them the results you got. They may also ask for a portfolio of your work so make sure that you have it ready to send to them. You will have to wait about a week before universities will start getting back to you because they will have to read your personal statement and deliberate over your grades. Don’t pin your hopes on one university and apply to that one only; apply to several different ones as you may not get a place at the only one you apply for.

The 5 Stages of Clearing 

  1. Seek advice from your teachers, career advisors, universities and your college or sixth form. It is best to get a range of advice on what to do as these people are usually the ones that have had first-hand experience in dealing with the clearing process.

Key Tip: Clearing opens weeks before you get your results, so it is best to have a look at what universities are offering the course you want to do in case you don’t get the results you need.

  • You will need to research universities and the courses they are offering. Some universities may have different aspects of the course to the one that you wanted to do so you must research it before you apply. You don’t want to end up in a university you don’t like doing a course that you can’t bring yourself to enjoy. 

Key Tip: Go back to the choices that you originally picked on the UCAS website and see if they are offering your course through clearing. That way you won’t have to research the university as you will already have done it. 

  • Before you call, you should prepare yourself. You need to gather the details and documents of importance, like your results and portfolio (if required). You will also need your UCAS clearing number so that the university can see your original application; you can find this on the UCAS website. 

Key Tip: Some universities may ask you why you didn’t end up getting the grades you needed for your first choice. You should answer honestly here, because they’ll know if you’re not being truthful. 

  • Start phoning as many universities as you can. Some conversations could be quite straightforward; they might ask for your grades and then decide if they want to enrol you. However, some universities might want to ask you some difficult questions; similar to an interview. You won’t have attended an interview, so they’ll just want to make sure you suit the course. Remember to have a pen to hand to take down any details.

Key Tip: You’re welcome to accept every offer you get over the phone (so that you have as many options as possible) but afterwards, you’ll have to pick your favourite. You will then have to ring the other university’s back to let them know you’ve changed your mind.

  • Once you have decided which offer to take up, you should go to the UCAS website and confirm which university you will be attending. To do this, go to ‘Track’ and click ‘Add Clearing Choice’ and then enter the course code and any details that you are asked for. Once the university confirms it, you will receive a confirmation letter and your UCAS will tell you that you have been accepted. 

Key Tip: Remember to sort out the other aspects of going to university, such as your accommodation and student bank account.