All you need to know about Clearing: How it works

What is Clearing? 

August 17th is A-level results day. This is both an exciting and nerve wracking time, which can unfortunately end in disappointment for some.

If your results are not what you expected, try not to be disheartened. In the words of Alexander Graham Bell, “when one door closes another door opens”.

Clearing is your chance to apply for remaining university places. It is not just for those left disappointed with their results, it is also a great opportunity for students who have left applying to university late or who have changed their minds about which course or university they would like to attend.

Although it is relatively straightforward, we have a few tips to clarify the process and help you make the most out of Clearing.


How does it work? 

It’s results day! The first thing to do is to log on to UCAS Track. If a university place has not been accepted it will say that you’re in clearing and give you a code.

Go into your school or college and collect your exam results. You will need to know your specific results.

If you decide to apply through Clearing, it is useful to search UCAS or university webpages to see up to date listings of availability of courses.

Call the universities that you’re interested in on their Clearing hotlines. It is worthwhile to have the following details to hand during your call:

  • The phone number for the university and your own contact details. 
  • Your Clearing number from UCAS Track. 
  • Your A-level, AS-level, GCSE or equivalent results, including module marks. 
  • Your personal statement from your UCAS application. It will be useful to familiarise yourself with this again before calling. 
  • Your log-in details for UCAS Track. 
  • A list of reasons detailing why you want to study a particular course at a particular university. 
  • Your notes on the course/university and any planned responses to questions. 
  • A list of questions you want to ask yourself. This will set a good impression. 
  • If it applies, you should have a record of the names and details of anyone you have spoken to at the university previously. 
  • Keep a pen and paper nearby to make notes throughout your call. Write down the name of the person you are speaking to and details of the conversation. 

You are not restricted to contacting just one university. Call a few and hold as many places as you wish. Just make sure to accept the offer you want by the set deadline.

Once you have decided which offer you would like to accept, add it to UCAS Track. Be careful as this can only be done once.

Most of all, remember to keep calm, take a deep breath and, take a look at our top ten tips for making the most out of Clearing!



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