If your results weren’t what you expected, you may have found yourself in Clearing. If so, there’s no need to panic. Last year, 66,770 applicants secured a place through Clearing.
By now, you’ve probably had a look at our search tool for Clearing vacancies. If you’ve found the ideal course for you, that’s great news! But you shouldn’t rush your decision and add the choice in Track. You should call the uni first to make sure they still have vacancies, discuss your application, and check whether they can accept you.
In this blog, we’ve got some valuable advice from university staff on how to approach Clearing.
James Ackroyd, University of Reading
Contacting a university about Clearing vacancies might seem like a daunting process, but I want to assure you that it really isn’t. First and foremost, you need to remember that you’re in control, so make sure that the university and course you’re choosing are the right ones for you.
If you’re considering Clearing as an option, there are a few things you can do to prepare:
• Research the courses that you’re interested in. Most universities will only have a limited number of spaces, so having a clear idea of what you want to apply for will help you feel calmer on the day.
• Fill in expression of interest forms before Clearing starts. Ours is available on our website , and means that we can give you up-to-date details of vacancies direct to your inbox.
• On the day, check out websites. If you want to know exactly which courses are available on the day, some universities’ homepages will be displaying live updates.
• Have your details ready before you call. Most universities will ask you for your ten-digit UCAS number, the qualifications you’ve taken, and the grades you’ve achieved. If you’re an international applicant, you may also need your English language qualification.
• Be patient if you don’t get through straight away. Phone lines can get very busy, but you’ll get through eventually and it’ll be worth the wait.
• Check your emails throughout the day. Most universities will confirm your offer by email, and some might even invite you to visit their campus to find out more about studying there. Keep up-to-date with your inbox to make sure you have all the information you need to make your choice.
Emma Powell, Edge Hotel School
Don’t be afraid to get in touch
If you haven’t met the conditions of your original offers, just pick up the phone and give those universities a call before assuming all is lost. Equally, if you do find yourself in Clearing for whatever reason, but are not sure how to go about applying, phone any universities/colleges you think you might be interested in and talk through your options.
If you don’t yet have a place or know you might be using Clearing, get in touch with universities before your results are released and try to visit them, to help you make your decision before results day. Having some options ready will make the day much easier to navigate. Most universities will also allow you to register your interest for Clearing, so if you’re interested in one of their courses, they will get in touch with you on results day to take you through the application process and remove some of the stress.
Get your checklist ready
It’s a good idea to write down – whether it’s in a notepad or as a note on your phone – your UCAS ID number, Clearing number, email, and telephone number. When you are calling universities, you’ll have this information in front of you to help make the process as easy as possible. Hopefully you will be able to remember your name and date of birth too! If you’re calling after you’ve received your results, have these in front of you, as well as your GCSE results and any other grades you would include on your application. Having everything in front of you when you’re calling will make you calmer, and make it easier for the university to work through the process with you as quickly as possible.
Sarah Simms, Head of Admissions at the University for the Creative Arts
Here are my top Clearing tips:
- Don’t worry! Lots of excellent applicants secure a place in Clearing.
- Remember, you don’t have to be in the UCAS system already to apply for a course. We can set you up with UCAS directly if we can make you an offer.
- Prepare and research your options.
- Have your qualifications in front of you when you call.
- And finally, call us yourself! We want to speak to you, not your mum or dad!
If I don’t get the grades I need, what should I do?
Firstly, check UCAS Track; your university may accept you onto the course anyway. If you didn’t get your first or insurance choice, check the UCAS website to see which courses are available in Clearing. Call universities and speak to their admissions teams – they are there to help.
Will you need to see my portfolio?
If you’re applying for an art or design-based course and you don’t have qualifications in a relevant art and/or design subject, we will ask you to send a digital portfolio via email.
If a course is in Clearing, does this mean it isn’t a popular course?
Not at all – universities have varying targets for their courses and use Clearing to recruit high-calibre students.
Will places fill up quickly? Should I accept the first offer I get?
You don’t need to accept the first offer you get. Do your research, call around, ask questions, and carefully consider your options. Take time to ensure you’ve made the best possible decision.
Alison Wilde, Admissions Manager at Nottingham Trent University
You may have a lot to think about on results day, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the Clearing process now to help you understand your options – particularly if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped.
If you receive your results and don’t hold a firm offer from a university, or if you haven’t yet applied in the 2017/2018 cycle, then Clearing is an opportunity for you to secure a university place. Although Clearing can feel fast-paced, taking the time to research and prepare before making a phone call will help ensure that you secure the right course for you.
When you call, you'll be asked a series of questions to find out more about your results and experience, so make sure you have all of your results to hand, including your GCSE or equivalent results. Get all your UCAS documents together, including your UCAS number and your Clearing number if you have one.
Talk to teachers, parents, and friends about which courses might suit you best. Entry requirements may differ during Clearing, so it’s worth contacting universities directly to discuss your options.
Remember, Clearing isn’t a race – there are plenty of university spaces up and down the country and Clearing is an opportunity to find the right one for you.
Liz Hunt, University of Sheffield
You can find Adjustment and Clearing vacancies in the UCAS search tool, and most universities will also have a clear link through from their homepage. If you have a particular university in mind, then it's best to start with their own web pages, but if you're interested in a particular course, searching via UCAS for all universities with vacancies available will give you a list of options all in one place. You can often apply for vacancies online with individual universities. Alternatively, many universities have dedicated Clearing and Adjustment hotlines, with trained staff to talk you through the application and course options available.
When you call, make sure you have your UCAS ID and qualification subjects and results to hand, including your English language and maths GCSEs, as a lot of places will ask for these too. Don't forget to ask about accommodation options – some universities will be able to offer you university accommodation if you’re applying through Clearing, but others won't, so you should check exactly where you’ll be accommodated before accepting an offer. Remember, choosing the course and university that's right for you is an important decision, so take your time in considering any offers you receive. Visit your preferred university if possible – a lot of places will hold special Clearing and Adjustment open days or campus tours. See if you can view accommodation, department facilities, and speak with department staff or current students to get a good feel for the course and university. You’ll be spending the next few years of your life studying your chosen subject at that university, so it’s worth taking the time to make the decision that’s best for you.
Rachel Jones, Recruitment Coordinator at Teesside University
Contacting universities, making quick decisions, changing direction; Clearing can be a confusing time, but with the right support, it needn’t be. Here are our tips for you.
• Be quick – spaces fill up, and access to systems can be tricky with the number of people using them. Get in there quickly so you can secure your place.
• Be cool – take each step as it comes, and try to think through your options logically.
• Be inspired – take a look at student and graduate profiles online. Clearing can send you on a completely different path to what you expected, and it can be reassuring for you to see someone who’s been through it already.
• Be flexible – consider different degree titles, which might contain similar course content. Look at the list of modules and graduate destinations.
• Be on the phone – don’t be shy! It’s better to speak to someone sooner rather than later.
• Be positive – Clearing can open up a whole range of opportunities and courses that you hadn’t considered before.
• Be there – if there’s an opportunity to visit the university you’re applying to, go and see it. It’s a big commitment, so you need to feel happy there.
For more advice and information, visit the Teesside University website.