Get Clear on Clearing
Over the past week we’ve covered our top tips on how to handle the stresses and pressures of clearing, from tips on how to stay positive through to what to expect on the day.
We thought, to round off our take on clearing, we would offer a no nonsense, clear and precise guide to the whole process.
What is UCAS clearing?
UCAS clearing is the way in which you can still enroll onto a university course for September if you do not already have an offer, or you wish to change your preferences.
This is the way in which universities fill any spaces left available on their courses.
Who can use clearing?
- Students who didn’t meet the conditions of their offers at their firm and insurance university choices.
- Students who applied after the deadline (30 June).
- Students who have not yet applied to university but have completed a UCAS application via UCAS Apply.
- Students who no longer wish to study at their firm or insurance choices.
If this is you though, you must remember that you need to be ‘released’ by your choices before you can go through clearing.
When is clearing available?
Clearing spaces become available once students have received their results and universities know how many spaces are left to be filled.
This year A-level results day is Thursday 16th August, so clearing options will be open from 8am onwards, the whole process of clearing usually runs up until the end of September.
Useful information for UCAS clearing
1) How to prepare for results day
- No matter how confident you feel about your results, research the logistics of clearing to avoid problems on the day itself.
- Think about your options in advance, such as other courses and universities you may be interested in if you don’t get the grades. You could consider a joint honours with the course you previously wanted to study and a course you are similarly interested in.
- Make a list of universities and courses and their telephone numbers.
- Come up with a list of questions to ask universities on the phone
- Check out UCAS Clearing for tips, as well as the dos and don’ts of clearing. You will also find information about on the Complete University Guide website too. Access the UCAS website to find out about the availability for your subject area and other courses you are interested in. Some clearing opportunities are posted before A-Level results day.
- Finally, make sure you have planned to be in the country on results day – try not to book any holidays- it can be stressful enough without the added pressure of being out of the country and having to deal with a large phone bill at the end of it all.
2) What you need to do on results day
- Check UCAS Track as early as possible to view the status of your application (set an alarm!) You will be provided with a clearing number if you are eligible.
- If you only just missed your required grades, it is worth calling your university of preference to ask them directly if they can accept you or whether they have any similar courses with spaces available- sometimes, especially if applications have been rather low that year- universities may accept you even if you did not meet the requirements.
- TOP TIP: Make sure that you have your UCAS Personal ID number (10-didgt number), clearing number, and details of your results for A Level and even GCSE- you will be asked this as soon as you ring up so have them handy!
- Visit the UCAS website for the official listing of clearing vacancies, or if you know the universities and courses you want to apply for, call them straight away- clearing definitely works on a first come, first served basis, so make the most of it.
- Call the universities you are interested in as soon as possible as places can be filled up quickly- it’s a rather competitive environment.
- However, make sure you call universities yourself; they are unable to give places to someone calling on your behalf- unless you have nominated a point of contact, this could be a parent or a legal guardian.
- If you are successful, universities will give you informal offers over the phone and then email you with full confirmation. If they do not make it clear as to whether your place is confirmed, make sure you clarify with them over the phone- you’ll need to make sure that everything is in writing and is sent to you via email, it might be hard to get the same person back on the phone once they hang up, so make sure that you have the email safely in your inbox.
- On the UCAS website an 'Add Clearing Choice' button will become available on your Track Choices screen. You can then fill in the details of the course and university that you have had confirmed.
- You can only add one choice at a time, but if the university/college doesn't confirm your place, you'll be able to add another.
3) Stay calm and think about your other options
- Even though you have to act very quickly with clearing in order to secure a place, it is equally as important to take a step back and properly consider all your options.
- Don’t rush into studying a different subject just because you want to go to university.
- Don’t be afraid to take a gap year.
- Many students retake their A Levels and reapply the following year.
In sum, do your research and don’t panic! All will go well in the end.