What is Clearing

Clearing is a UCAS process that helps thousands of students find a university place.

On results day, students may need to look for an alternative university place – they may not have secured the grades that they were hoping for, or they may have changed their mind about what or where to study. The Clearing process enables thousands of students to find a university option that suits them, helping them go on to have a fantastic experience.

What is Clearing?

Clearing is where universities advertise any remaining spaces on their courses on results day. Students can apply for courses through Clearing if they don’t have any offers, which could be because:

  • their exam results were lower than expected, and therefore didn’t meet the entry requirements of their firm or insurance choice
  • they didn’t receive any offers (or none that they wanted to accept)
  • they applied for courses after 30 June.

To find out more about Clearing, visit the UCAS website.

On the day

If eligible for Clearing, their Clearing number will appear on your child's UCAS track. They will need to quote this throughout the course of the day so encourage them to write it down.

All Clearing vacancies will be listed centrally on the UCAS website and on the individual university sites.

Sit with your student and look through all of the options available. When you come across one that you feel has potential then the student should call them (there will be a designated Clearing phone number clearly listed) and discuss the course in further detail. Encourage them to ask any questions that they might have about the course, university or student experience as a whole. If the student’s grades match the university’s criteria they will make a verbal offer and students can hold as many of these as they want, so do not be afraid to ring lots of institutions.

Once all of the research and phone calls have been made, it is time to decide if one is a good match and formally accept it on UCAS track. If not, then they should consider a gap year and reapplying the year after – Higher Education is a major investment of time and finances and it has to be right.

The earliest they can accept an offer is 3pm on A-Level results day so there is plenty of time to consider all options and no pressure to make an immediate decision. Just be aware that verbal offers do expire (sometimes 24 hours after they are made).

What happens next?

Once a place has been accepted it is time to make preparations and put into place final arrangements, including securing accommodation and notifying Student Finance that the university destination has changed.

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