Everything You Need To Know About Clearing In The UK

Everything You Need To Know About Clearing In The UK

Written by Pierre Noronha

Born and raised in Mumbai, Pierre Noronha thought that he was destined to be a Chartered Accountant, but all that changed when he discovered his love for writing. Taking this new found passion forward, he started working as a content writer for UniAcco.

Last updated Aug 4, 2020

We’re getting to the business end of the UK’s university admissions process. The process of Clearing in the UK sees the most intake of students into universities in the UK. If you’re still university-less and have no idea about the Clearing system in the UK, this blog will make you aware of all the things you need to know about Clearing in the UK. 

What is Clearing?

Everything You Need To Know About Clearing In The UK

Clearing is a service by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) that allows universities to fill spaces on courses that aren’t full yet. This offers students a second chance to pursue their further education aspirations. If you don’t already have a seat at university, then clearing is your best (and only) chance to fulfil your further studies aspirations. Currently, we’re right in the midst of the Clearing as the period of Clearing in the UK is between 6 July – 20 October. 

What are the conditions for applying to Universities through Clearing?

The essential condition for applying to Universities through Clearing is –

  • You have not received an offer from a university in the UK or don’t plan on accepting any offer you currently have. 

Other conditions include – 

  • You apply after 30 June.
  • You didn’t meet the conditions of your offer.
  • You have paid £25 as a part of the multiple-choice application fee. 
  • You got better grades than predicted. This enables you to get a place on a different course at a university that asks for higher grades through UCAS Clearing and Adjustment.
  • You’ve changed your mind about doing the course you initially applied for. 

What are the important dates for Clearing?

As mentioned earlier, Clearing takes place between 6 July – 20 October. However, please note that you cannot apply to universities through Clearing until you have your exam results onhand. Here are the important result dates for clearing – 

  • International Baccalaureate: Monday 6 July
  • BTEC and other vocational courses: during July – check with your school/college
  • Scottish Highers: Tuesday 4 August – Scottish Highers is nothing but the Scottish equivalent to A-Levels. Scottish Highers involve a mix of work set and marked by teachers and an external examination.
  • A-Levels and most new BTEC courses: Thursday 13 August

How does Clearing work?

Everything You Need To Know About Clearing In The UK

If you haven’t already applied for Clearing, you need to first register and then make an application. The best part of applying through Clearing is that you get an opportunity to apply for courses in subjects you hadn’t originally applied for, and to universities that may have previously rejected you earlier in the year. 

Students who haven’t met the entry requirements for their chosen courses, or haven’t received an offer from a UK university, are automatically entered into Clearing. Although some universities like the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford don’t take part in Clearing, the UCAS website lists thousands of course vacancies from top universities on A-level results day. For instance, over 30,000 courses were available in 2019. 

During the Clearing process, you will be asked to select courses of interest that still have spaces to fill. It is always wise to be in touch with the university you wish to attend, so make sure you contact the relevant universities directly to confirm whether they’ll offer you a place.

There are trained advisors who are manning university hotlines to guide you through the process. Before you add a Clearing choice in Track, you need to call the university and give them your Clearing number, and Personal ID, so they can look up your application. Once you’ve received a verbal offer, it’s added in Track and confirmed by the university, your place is guaranteed.


Everything You Need To Know About Clearing In The UK

Once your place at university is guaranteed, it’s time to start thinking about your accommodation. Lucky for you, UniAcco is ready to wow you with a variety of stunning student accommodation options from all over the UK. Use some of our many exciting offers like, “Book Now, Pay Later”, “No Deposit Required”, “UniAcco Exclusive £50 Cashback Offer”, “Flexible Check-in Policy” and much more. You also stand a chance to win an iPad/Apple Watch/ Gaming headset+PS4/ A Beauty Kit worth up to £300 pounds when you book select rooms on UnAcco. So visit the UniAcco website and secure your dream accommodation in the most hassle-free way. 

What is UCAS Adjustment?

UCAS Adjustment is a feature that allows students to select a better university in case they achieve better results than expected. It also allows students who’ve met or exceeded expectations for a firm conditional offer to swap places for another course. Prominent universities in the UK like the University of Cambridge and the University of Strathclyde take part in Adjustment.

How to apply through Clearing?

You will find all the vacant courses by universities in the UK listed on the UCAS website. You can use the search tool to browse through courses based on subject, location and even university. 

In order to apply to universities, you will first need to fill out your basic details. Once you finish the registration process, you will be assigned a unique Clearing number and be invited to use the Track service. From there, follow on-screen instructions to apply to university. 

You will be required to give the university your Clearing number and personal ID number so that they can view your online application. Verbal offers will be made over the phone but make sure you accept only one. You can add only one choice at a time. If the university does not confirm the offer, you will be permitted to look again. 

Do I have to pay for Clearing?

Yes. If in your initial UCAS application, you paid only the reduced fee of £20 to choose one course, you will be prompted to pay a £5, so you’re eligible to apply for multiple courses through Clearing.

University Clearing tips

Stay calm – If you don’t happen to secure the grades you were expecting, it’s okay. Do not panic. You can look at other courses that don’t demand high grades.

Take advice From your parents, teachers, tutors and older students who’ve gone through the Clearing process. 

Book your accommodation ASAP – Secure your accommodation at the earliest to avoid paying higher rates when universities start. UniAcco offers the most diverse room types at the most attractive prices. 

Consider retaking your exams – This is a good idea if your heart is set on one particular subject. Speak to your teachers for the best advice. 

Be aware of dates – There’s nothing worse than missing an important deadline, especially when it comes to securing your seat at uni. Hotlines will stay open until September, giving you time to discuss your options with those closest to you.

Do your research well – Browse websites, speak to your students, go on virtual tours, check social media channels, visit university campuses. Only when you’re completely certain on a decision should you put in a formal offer via Track.

Be patient – There will be thousands of students applying through Clearing, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t secure a seat immediately. If you haven’t heard back by the following day, give them a call to find out about your place.

Source: UCAS

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