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Guidance for UCAS Clearing, and What Does Clearing Mean?


If going through the process of applying to a University in the U.K, you may be familiar with the term clearing; but what does it mean? Clearing can be a pretty daunting experience. At Carfax Education Group, we have detailed out a guidance for UCAS clearing, that gives you everything you need to know about the term and how best to use it!


What is UCAS Clearing?

Clearing is when all the available university places become advertised once offers have gone out. Courses may have become available because certain applicants do not have the necessary grades for that place, or other potential students have turned down the offer. This year Clearing opens on 5th July and closes on 18th October 2022. Why use UCAS Clearing? You can use it if:

  • Applying after 30th June 2022

  • You did not receive any offers you wanted to accept

  • You did not meet the conditions of your offers

  • Paid for the multiple-choice application fee of £26.50

  • You declined your firm place on the UCAS portal

Clearing used to be identified and used if people had been rejected or did not meet their conditional offers. However, today it is recognised as a viable alternative to the formal UCAS application process, with some students activating the process immediately after they receive their results to see what is available to them. Although, it is unlikely that highly competitive courses and university places will appear on UCAS clearing. Universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and UCL, have a policy not advertise via clearing. Similarly, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary courses are highly unlikely to ever feature in this system. There will always be plenty of opportunities for law, engineering, humanities programmes and science degrees even at top universities such as Kings College London, Warwick, Bristol, and Edinburgh if you are presenting with the right qualifications. Students who already have offers may go into Adjustment or Clearing to see if there are better opportunities available. Students who have changed their minds about what they want to study, may use clearing as an opportunity to see what other courses are available to them. Clearing is also still there for those who have not made their conditional offers; as to give them insight into other available opportunities. Are you planning for your results? Book an appointment with one of our Higher Education consultants to help guide you through the process. How to use Clearing

1. If you have not already applied through UCAS, you will need to register and submit an application.

2. If you are already in the system, you can log into Clearing and start exploring. This year you will be able to use Clearing Plus, where the system suggests courses of interest to you. And the type of students certain universities are looking for, based on the information in your original application.

3. Once you identify a degree course, you will need to call the university and ask if they would consider you for a place. Ideally, you will secure some informal offers over the phone from various universities then you decide which ones you want to pursue.

4. Once you have permission from your chosen university, you can add your choice to the Track system on the UCAS website. Click 'Add Clearing choice' and fill in the course details by the date the university/college gave you on the phone. That counts as you accepting the offer definitively, so once they confirm, it will show as an acceptance on your 'Choices' page in Track.

5. You can only add one choice at a time, but if the university/college do not confirm your place, you can always add another. If you are already holding an offer from a university and want to change, you can decline the offer in UCAS Track and release yourself into Clearing. From that, you can apply to a different university or course through Clearing using UCAS Track. If you have not met the conditions of your offers, then you should automatically be released into Clearing. Top Tips

Before you make your decision, it is worth bearing in mind the following:

  • Keep checking as Universities will regularly update their Clearing offers as people accept and reject

  • Do your research – take your time and make sure you are making the right choice

  • Take a look at the content for the course, year by year

  • Try and do a virtual online tour before making your final choice

  • Look up student feedback on the course and the university as a whole

  • Find out if student accommodation is available for you

  • Never be pressured into accepting an offer over the phone, however persuasive they are

  • If you find course of interest, be quick to follow it up, as things move quickly and may only be one or two places left

  • Universities are keen to fill places, so it is always worth a call even if you do not quite meet the entry requirements

How to prepare

While waiting for your results, you can go into the Clearing site from 5th July and see what is available. Take a note of any courses that interest you and check you meet their criteria. Then you can have a preliminary conversation with them to see what they are looking for in a student. Do not be downhearted if your offers have not been successful. It is not life-defining, and there is plenty of other options. Consider looking at alternative courses or a joint honours degree. Clearing can be very stressful, especially around results time, but if you have already done your research and have a list of universities ready to approach, you need to keep trying until you secure a place where you want to be. For advice on Clearing, please click here to send an enquiry. Client Testimonial:

"As we are getting closer to a level results day, I'm beginning to panic a little. I am unsure how the clearing system works and what I should do right now to be ready if I need to go through clearing? You are so kind to give me a hand because I have to admit that I am a little stressed." - Clearing Student 2020, now successfully studying at Newcastle University. "Thank you for all your help. I cannot thank you enough for helping our daughter with her selection in Clearing." - Parent of Clearing Student 2020

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