Heard of Clearing but not sure what it’s all about? Here we share what you need to know and practical tips for supporting someone through the process.

What is Clearing?

Clearing is a way to get a university place if a student:

  • doesn’t get the grades for their firm or insurance choice
  • hasn’t received any offers
  • has changed their mind and no longer wants to go to their firm choice
  • applies after 30 June
SQA results
SQA results for Scottish students published on Tuesday 6 August 2024
A level results
Published on Thursday 15 August 2024
Students who find themselves without a place will be eligible for Clearing
Clearing is open
From 5 July to 21 October 2024

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Supporting someone in Clearing

As a parent supporting a student, here are our top tips when helping someone using Clearing, both before and after results day.

Before results day

Before results day is all about getting prepared. Make sure you’re informed about what’s going on and help your child to get organised for the big day.

  • Know the process: Understanding what Clearing is all about will help you give any support your child needs. Read through our guide about how Clearing works.
  • See what’s available: When clearing opens on 5 July, there’s no harm in seeing what's available before results day. Remember, official Clearing vacancies are only available in the UCAS search tool and are updated based on the places universities and colleges have available.
  • Keep checking: Encourage your child to check their application regularly in the lead-up to Clearing. This is where students can find the latest updates and reply to their offers. Make sure they can access their UCAS account before results day and that all their contact details are right, so they don’t miss important updates.
  • Talk about plan B: Make sure they know what grades they need for their choices before results are released so they can make the right decisions when exam results are published. It might be helpful to have a back-up plan in case they need to choose a different option.
  • Talk to current students: Encourage your child to chat to current students to learn more about their experiences and get an inside view.
  • Check how they’ll receive results: Exam results aren't shown in the UCAS application. It only shows if the application has been successful or not. Students will receive their results from their exam centre, so make sure you’re clear on the process.

When results are released

When results are released, focus on providing all the reassurance you can. Make sure you’re there to support and listen – it's the most important thing you can do.

  • Be positive and supportive: Remember, there's no need to panic or rush into a decision. It’s OK to take a step back and figure it all out. Give reassurance, stay calm, and remain positive.
  • Get prepared: Make sure they have everything in front of them. Clearing often involves speaking to different universities over the phone – having grades and personal details written down can help them keep calm. Encourage them to take regular breaks, as it can be a long day.
  • If they no longer want to go to their firm choice: If they’ve changed their mind about where they want to go, they can use the ‘Decline my place’ button in their application to release themselves into Clearing from a firm unconditional place. More about declining their firm place
  • Review their matches in Clearing PlusApplicants in Clearing can click the ‘My matches’ button in their application, to see a list of courses they’ve been personally matched to. They can tell universities and courses if they’re ‘interested’ and their details will be passed to the provider to consider. If the provider has places, they’ll be in touch.
  • Use our search tool to browse courses: It's the only official vacancy list, so it’s the most up-to-date on results day. Here you can view the entire range of courses on offer if they want to consider different subjects or course types.
  • Take a virtual tour: These are perfect if they’re looking at universities they’ve not been able to visit and are a great way to get a feel for a place.
  • Add their Clearing choice in their application: If they’ve been in touch with a uni and secured a place, make sure they add it as their Clearing choice in their application. Once it’s confirmed they can get ready to study.

After they’ve made their decision

Once the Clearing process is over, you can still provide helpful support and advice to guide them through their next steps.

  • Help them prepare: If your child managed to get a place in Clearing, it’s an exciting time and they’re off to uni. Guide them through it by looking at some of our resources like how to prepare for uni and what to pack.
  • Support mind changes: If they didn’t get or want a place through Clearing, or decided to take a different route altogether, keep an open mind and continue to be supportive. You could help them apply again in 2024 or look at alternative options such as apprenticeships if that would be better suited to their learning styles.

Looking after your child’s mental health and wellbeing

Results day can be a stressful time, so it’s important to make sure your child is looking after their mental health and wellbeing. Visit our hub for more information about where you can get support and advice.

Mental health and wellbeing hub