Clearing is how unis and colleges fill any spaces they have left on their courses.

If you’re going into Clearing, you’ll need to speak to unis over the phone to try and gain a place, before adding them as a choice in your application.

We’ve put together some top tips for you to help prepare for the calls you’ll be making and maximise your chances of securing a place with minimal stress.

Reminder — you can use Clearing if:

  • you’re applying after 30 June
  • you didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept)
  • you didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
  • you've paid the multiple choice application fee of £27
  • you’ve declined your firm place using the ‘decline my place’ button in your application

  1. Get prepared

    The first step is to have everything ready in front of you to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

    You need:

    • your Personal ID number
    • your Clearing number
    • your grades/UCAS Tariff points
    • information about why you want a place: you’ll be speaking to unis about why you’re looking to join the course and your achievements, so have some bullet points written down in front of you 

    It’s also a good idea to grab a pen and paper and do a list of:

    • the uni name
    • phone number
    • course code and title

    Leave space to note down anything important – you can then concentrate on making the calls without confusing the courses or unis.

    Try and find a nice quiet environment with good phone signal to take the calls. You want to make sure you can clearly hear each other.

  2. Be positive, enthusiastic, and polite

    Making a good impression is key. Show your passion and enthusiasm for the course and clearly explain why you want a place there. Even if you’re stressed about your situation, be polite and calm on the phone to give yourself the best chance.
  3. Research, research, research

    Make sure you research the uni and the course before picking up the phone. If you can’t demonstrate why you want to go, you may not be offered a place.

    Find out some key information about them first. You could use uni websites, league tables, and chat to current students on Unibuddy to help you.

  4. Be confident

    As tempting as it is to let your mum take the phone calls, you need to speak to the uni directly. Although it may be daunting, everyone on the other end of the phone is there to help and it’s nothing to worry about.
  5. Be patient and keep calm

    You might feel panicked if you need to call lots of unis but, remember, there are lots of places available and you’ve got plenty of options other than just doing an undergraduate degree – such as an apprenticeship.
  6. Consider unis you have looked at before

    Just because you turned down a place at a uni before, it doesn’t mean you can’t try and get another offer. Especially if you visited the campus and it felt like a good fit for you.

    There’s nothing wrong with looking back at institutions whose offers you previously declined, especially if it’s somewhere you’ve visited and liked – Rob Evans, Head of Admissions at University of Sussex.

  7. Take your time

    • It’s a busy time but be sure to make an informed decision. Don’t call out of desperation, make sure it’s somewhere you actually want to study.
    • If you had your heart set on a specific course or uni and you didn’t get the grades, you may want to consider reapplying the following year or taking a gap year.
    • You could even look at options like foundation years to still study the course you wanted to do, at the same provider.
    • And don’t forget that a lot of courses will have similar routes – didn't get accepted to a business studies degree? Why not try marketing or accounting, for example.
  8. Talk to people

    Don’t bottle up how you’re feeling  – talk to someone about your decision. Use someone as a sounding board, whether it’s a family member, friend, or someone at your school or college. There will be lots of people who want to help you make the right choice for you.
  9. Consider other methods

    Phoning a uni is the most common way to get a Clearing place. But for those who can’t speak on the phone, there will be other ways to reach out – for example live chat functions and social media platforms.

    If you don’t like the phone, we’ll have all sorts of other ways to communicate, so please do reach out – Rob Evans, Head of Admissions at University of Sussex

  10. Look after your wellbeing

    Make sure you look after your wellbeing around results  day.

    Drink plenty of water, get out for some fresh air, and don’t rush. For support and advice on looking after your wellbeing, visit Student Space for helpful tips and advice.