Get set for Clearing – Part Two

Tuesday 13 August 2019, Applicant


Get set for Clearing – Part Two

Julie Tickner, University of Huddersfield

We know you may be anxious waiting for your exam results, and have lots of questions, but try and stay calm – there is plenty you can do to prepare!

You may achieve better results than expected, but if things haven’t gone as you hoped, universities will be able to help you through Clearing.

Our top tips are:
  • Get ready – even if you’re feeling confident, do some contingency planning by making a list of possible alternative courses and universities. This will be easy to check against the Clearing listings when they are published.
  • Don’t go on holiday! If you do need to go through Clearing, being near a phone and computer is important. Being out of the country will make it a far more difficult process.
  • Check UCAS Undergraduate Track  if you become eligible to use Clearing, an 'Add Clearing choice' button will become available on your Track ‘Choices’ screen. If you’re unsure, check directly with your firm and insurance choices as soon as possible.
  • Check the official Clearing listings. You’ll find these on the UCAS website.
  • Consider alternative courses. Maximise your choices by trying to be flexible. For example, consider a joint course with another subject, instead of a single subject course.
  • Start ringing possible universities straightaway. Time is of the essence on results day, and places on popular courses can be filled very quickly!
  • Always make the call yourself. Universities are unable to offer places unless they are actually speaking to the applicant.
  • Be prepared. Have your exam results to hand. It’s also useful to have a copy of your personal statement nearby, as the university may want to ask you questions about your suitability for the course.

Laura Knowles, Queen Mary University of London

Clearing is still a great way to get into a really good university, and enables you to secure a place at university if you don’t meet the conditions of your existing offer, or you haven’t applied to university yet.

Here’s our short five step guide on how to prepare for Clearing:
  1. Keep an eye on the courses that will be in Clearing at the universities you’re interested in. Research them and write them down.  
  2. Don’t select any available course, just so you can study at a particular university, but make sure you look at courses you’ll enjoy in a subject area you’re interested in – you’ll spend at least three years studying it after all!
  3. Make sure you know how best to contact your chosen universities. Some may have a hotline number, or you may be able to get in touch another way, such as messenger.
  4. If you can, try to visit the universities you’re interested in. Most run campus tours on a regular basis.
  5. On results morning, keep calm. Don’t panic. Make sure you have your UCAS number and grades ready, along with the course details you’re interested in. Then go for it! 
We wish you the best of luck with your exams. For a more detailed guide to Clearing, visit our website
Nick Hull, Head of Admissions at the University of Southampton
Not getting in to your first choice university may be the thought you keep pushing to the back of your mind, but being prepared on results day will help you find your place at university through Clearing.

Here are my top five tips to reduce Clearing stress:
#1 Plan ahead
Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Would I be happy to attend any of the universities whose offers I’ve declined?
  • Would I be happy considering any universities I’ve previously ruled out?
  • Which other universities offer the course I’m interested in?
#2 Think about why you made your first choice
What made it stand out?
  • It ranked highly
  • The course content
  • The campus and facilities
  • The location 
Whatever the reasons, these will help you narrow down what you’re looking for in a university experience.
#3 Create a shortlist
  • Shortlist your top five or ten universities, ensuring you’ve covered a range of different grade requirements.
  • Compare the things you loved about your first choice university with your shortlist, to identify which options suit you best.
  • Take note of all the contact details ready for results day.
  • If the universities have pre-registration online forms, sign up.
#4 What to do on results day if your results are unexpected
  • First, check if any of your shortlisted universities have vacancies available in Clearing for your chosen course
  • Have your UCAS Personal ID ready.
  • Contact the universities by calling their hotline. Many universities will have a quick and simple online application form you can complete.
  • Talk to your teachers and advisers at your school or college – they have an excellent wealth of experience to help guide your decision.
#5 Don’t panic
  • Stay calm.
  • Remember, if you don’t get the grades you wanted, there are lots of great opportunities through Clearing.
  • Last year, we welcomed over 400 students who joined us at the University of Southampton, and they’re having a great experience – watch their stories.
Good luck! I hope your results are everything you wanted them to be. If they're not, remember there are loads of opportunities in Clearing. Keep these top tips to hand – I hope they're going to be useful to you, and all the very best. 
For more advice and information, please visit
Firstly, do not panic if you haven’t secured a place at university! All universities have Clearing processes geared to help you make the right choice. You will be able to contact your chosen university through their Clearing hotline, but be prepared when approaching a university. We would advise you to have looked at the course you are interested in, paying particular attention to the module content, to ensure the course is the right one for you. Also, look at the career pathways previous graduates have taken, as this information should be available to you, and will show you which courses relate to the job market.
When you call the Clearing hotline, it is important we speak to you, rather than your parent, guardian, or teacher. You are likely to be asked a range of questions, including the following:
  • Have you applied through UCAS?
  • What is your UCAS Personal ID number?
  • Can you confirm your contact details? For example, name, email address, and phone number.
  • What course are you interested in?
  • What qualifications and grades do you have?
  • Do you have any work experience?
  • Are you looking for accommodation?
  • Have you applied for your student finance yet?
We would also advise you to make sure you are happy with where the course is being delivered, the duration of the course, and the type of study you will be completing. For example, ask if the course includes exams, or if it is more practical or coursework-based. We are here to help.