In 2018 over 60,000 students were placed through Clearing! If you're worried about the possibility of entering Clearing there's a few things you can do before results day to prepare and make your life easier.
What is Clearing?
Clearing is a process which allows applicants to gain a place at university if they did not get the required grades for their choices, if they did not receive any offers, or if they applied after the 30th June 2019 deadline.
When is Clearing?
2019 Clearing begins on July 5th (IB results day) and runs until October 23rd 2019.
How does Clearing work?
Universities with spaces available on courses will allow students to apply through Clearing to gain a place.
After receiving your results, UCAS Track will be updated to let you know if you’re in Clearing or not. If you have been entered into Clearing call universities to speak to them about the courses they have available.
Universities will either offer you a place verbally over the phone or written in an email. You usually have between 24-48 hours to confirm the offer, so do not just accept the first one out of panic. Once you’ve decided on your Clearing place, update your UCAS Track and add the university as your Clearing choice.
What can I do to prepare before Results Day?
If you think you haven’t done well enough to get into your first or second choice university it’s a good idea to prepare for Clearing before results day. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s good to have a solid plan just in case.
- Research and make a list of the universities and courses you’re interested in with lower entry requirements. Be that universities that offered you a place and you declined their offer, or completely new universities. UCAS have a list of universities and courses with clearing places available. Consider looking at slightly different courses to the ones you applied to, such as joint-honours courses.
- Make a note of the course ID and the Clearing hotline’s phone number. Spaces are often allocated on a first-come first-served basis so being organised will save you a lot of time.
- Read up on how Clearing works at each university, sometimes it differs from university to university and course to course. Some universities/courses will require you to attend an interview before making an offer.
- Prepare some questions to ask the Clearing staff. This is a great and easy way to demonstrate your interest in the course, increasing your chances of receiving an offer!
- Clearing opened on July 5th so lots of universities have their hotlines open. You could call the universities you’re interested in to talk about the likelihood of gaining a place and which grades they’d accept. So on results day you know which universities would offer you a place with your current grades.
- Consider signing up to UCAS Direct Contact Service. The Direct Contact service allows universities and colleges with places available on courses similar to the ones you applied for to contact you directly.
- Read through your personal statement to familiarise yourself with it. Universities will ask you questions about why you’d like to study the course and about any extra-curricular activities you’ve done.
What should I do on Results Day?
- Log on to UCAS Track – sometimes universities will still let you in if you’ve just missed your grades (e.g. if you got ACC instead of ABC). If you've' been entered into Clearing your UCAS Track status will say ‘you’re in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’.
- If you’ve been entered into Clearing and your results are close to your predicted grades, try calling your insurance university to see if they’ll let you in. There’s a chance they will!
- Before you call Clearing hotlines get together your A-Level grades, personal statement, and GCSE grades (sometimes you’ll need a particular GCSE grade to study a subject at university).
- Stay Calm! You’ve prepared for this. Begin to call universities you’re interested in to find out more about the course and university. Universities can give you informal offers over the phone, offers only become firm once you’ve updated your UCAS Track and added the university as your Clearing choice. You normally have 24-48 hours to confirm the offer, so don't panic and accept the first one you get.
- After you’ve finished talking to the universities. Compare the ones who’ve given you offers. Lots of universities hold Clearing Open Days after results day, if you have the time it’s a good idea to visit the universities in person. You need to make sure you’d be happy spending at least THREE YEARS at the university and studying that course.
- Do not settle for a course out of desperation. There are thousands of courses out there for you to do. Often people pick completely unrelated courses as they’re desperate to go to university, for example applying to do Maths and panicking and accepting a spot on a Medieval Literature course.
- Call the universities YOURSELF. Don't let your parents call on your behalf. It’s unprofessional and often due to GDPR regulations universities cannot discuss your application with anyone other than you.
- Make sure you’re not on holiday during results day. Calling up universities from abroad is stressful and will ruin your holiday.
- Speak to a member of staff at your school, they’ll be able to help you with the Clearing process and advise you your best options.
Other Options to Clearing
- If you’ve just missed out on your grades consider paying to get the paper remarked.
- Consider taking the year out to resit your exams, get some work experience, and to travel, then reapply the following year. Gap years are extremely valuable, you learn lots of life skills which employers are looking for.
What do I need to do after Clearing?
After Clearing you’ll need to find accommodation at your new university. Lots of universities guarantee halls for Clearing students, others do not, but will help you find accommodation.
Update your Student Finance with your new university and course. If you wait until last minute your payment is likely to be delayed.
It’s important to remember that Clearing is not the end of the world. Hundreds of thousands of students have gone through it and have gone on to be extremely successful. If you don’t want people at your new university to know you went through Clearing you don’t have to tell them! There’s no way of them knowing!
By Clarissa Ducie