Your Guide to Clearing – Essential Tips for Prospective University Students

uni students

So you’ve applied for a selection of university courses but what if results day comes and goes and you don’t secure a place?

There are always options available for students that have applied for oversubscribed university courses or simply haven’t achieved the grades to gain a place on their chosen study programme. Clearing is an essential route for students, we explore what you can expect from the clearing process…

What is clearing?

The clearing process is used by universities and colleges across the country who are looking to fill the remaining places on undersubscribed courses. Generally clearing is often a last minute option for those still looking study in higher education, however despite the bad publicity the process often gets from the press, it is important to remember that entering clearing doesn’t mean you’re a failure. The majority of prospective students who go through clearing go onto achieve high grades so don’t let this deter you from pursuing your passion.

The clearing process – am I eligible?

The clearing process for all university courses starts in the June before every academic year giving students without a confirmed place the opportunity to find a course for them just in time to enrol in September. Clearing actually finishes in late October so students can enter a course a little late if necessary.

Whether a candidate is eligible is detailed on their UCAS application using the ‘track’ function. Here you will find your unique clearing number which is given to universities with available places in your area of study to enable them to see and review your application online. Lists of vacancies nationwide are also available, these are released following A-level results day and allow students in clearing to browse places across various universities and study programmes.

How to prepare for clearing

Preparing yourself for clearing is essential and will stand you in good stead when making those all-essential choices in your education. Whether entering clearing is expected or a surprise, you must stay calm during this high pressure time.

Plan ahead as much as you can be ensure you are clued up on clearing and can be considered for university courses you are genuinely attracted to. As we’ve mentioned clearing starts in June and if you fear that you may not have done as well as you could have done in your recent exams or are unsure about your firm and insurance offers, you can browse courses that still have available places on UCAS Extra. From this you can contact these universities directly, even before results day, to express your interest. It may also be worth exploring joint honours university courses to combine your desired study programmes.

For more information on finding the right university and study programme for you, visit



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