UCAS Clearing: Everything You Need to Know

Wednesday, 16 Aug 2017

UCAS Clearing

Not getting the A Level results you need for your university of choice may feel like the end of life as you know it. But it’s really not. Sure, things aren’t going to plan, but it’s easy to get your life back on track through the helpful process of UCAS Clearing. Wondering what Clearing is all about? Send My Bag is here to help with everything you need to know.

What Is UCAS Clearing?

Clearing forms part of the UCAS university application process. Students who have not received the A Level results they need to secure a place at their first choice of university can apply through Clearing to other universities that still have places available. It’s a way of finding a place on a similar course to the one you originally applied for, but just at a different institution to the one you first made your application to.

Who Typically Goes Through UCAS Clearing?

Clearing is normally used by students who don’t get the results they need to confirm a conditional offer of a place at their first choice of university. However, Clearing can also be used by students who did not receive any offers from universities in the first place, those who declined all offers they received, or those who applied via UCAS after the deadline of 30 June, or indeed those who have not yet made an application through UCAS.

When Does UCAS Clearing Take Place?

Clearing begins in earnest on A Level results day, 17th August, 2017. This date is earlier for Scottish students, who receive their results on 8th August, 2017. Scottish students can apply through Clearing from this date, but only to Scottish universities until the main Clearing process opens. Clearing doesn’t close until 23rd October, 2017, but most students will have organised their place well before then. Students will have the ability to add a Clearing choice of university on UCAS Track from 3 pm on 17th August.

How to Go About UCAS Clearing

1. Find out about available places

Once you have your results and know that you need to go through Clearing, you should find out what places are available. You can do this by reading the lists available on the UCAS website, by visiting specific university websites, or by obtaining a copy of the Daily Telegraph on results day, where all available Clearing vacancies will be listed.

2. Decide which universities you would like to apply to

Research in detail the universities and courses that seem to fit your criteria. Don’t just go for the first place you read about, but make a shortlist of universities you would be happy to attend and of courses that would provide you with the teaching you need to advance your career prospects.

3. Reach out to universities 

Once you have your shortlist, you must talk to the universities you want to apply to. You should do this by ringing the university on their Clearing telephone number. This is when you tell an admissions tutor what course you are interested in, and explain a bit about yourself, your grades and why you are suited to studying the course. It is useful to have your Clearing number to hand, which will appear on UCAS Track once you find out that you missed your firm and insurance offers. This means the person you are speaking to can view your application quickly and easily. Hopefully the admissions tutor will ask you to apply to their university, which essentially means you are being offered a place.

4. Add your chosen university to UCAS Track

You can speak to as many universities as you wish to see if they will offer you a place. However, you can only choose one institution to add to UCAS Track at any one time. Universities tend to give potential students a limited time frame to add their institution to UCAS Track as their Clearing choice. Only once you are absolutely sure you want to add a particular university should you add its details to UCAS Track by clicking the ‘Add Clearing choice’ button.

Tips for UCAS Clearing

1. Research beforehand

If you think you may not have done as well as you had hoped in your exams, start researching alternative courses that you would be interested in so that you can look out for them during Clearing. This will speed up the process once results day arrives.

2. Don’t leave things too late

Once you have your results, don’t waste time procrastinating. Start whittling down the list of universities you are interested in, and then get on to their Clearing team to enquire about a place.

3. Prepare for the phone calls

Places at universities aren’t limitless so make a good impression by having all the information you need to hand, such as your Clearing number. You should also have a think about what makes you suited to the course you are enquiring about.

4. Write down what they tell you 

You should write down all the important information provided to you on the phone by the admissions tutor, so that there are no crossed wires. You should also take down the tutor’s name in case you need to follow up on something.

5. Get a confirmation email 

Ask the admissions tutors for a written confirmation of their offer to you, usually by email. This will put you in a good position if you encounter any problems with the offer later on.

6. Don’t settle

While you will be in competition with others for places, there will be plenty of places out there that universities need to fill. So don’t settle for the first university that accepts you; make sure you are happy with it before you add it as your Clearing choice on UCAS Track.

Send Your Bags

Once you have gone through the process of Clearing and have a firm offer of a place at university, you can get on with the fun bit of planning your move to university. Don’t forget that you can ship your luggage to university with Send My Bag, so you don’t need to employ your entire family to help you move your possessions across the country. It means you can bring so much more than you could check into the hold of a plane, or realistically manage to drag behind you onto public transport. Find out more about student shipping here.

To get you started with your packing, take a look at our list of what to bring to university.

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