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Clearing FAQs

If you missed out on the grades for your firm or insurance choices don’t panic! Clearing offers applicants a second chance and matches students with universities that have places available. In 2018 over 60,000 people were placed through Clearing! Whatever your grades you’ll be able to find the right course and university for you.

What is Clearing?

Students can gain a place at university if they missed out on the grades for their firm or insurance choice, or if they do not want to go to their firm choice anymore.

Who can use Clearing?

  • Applicants who’ve missed out on the grades for their firm or insurance choices
  • Applicants who’ve changed their mind and want to go to a different university
  • Applicants who applied before the 30th June 2019 but did not receive any offers
  • Applicants who applied before the 30th June 2019 but declined any offers received
  • Applicants who applied after the 30th June 2019 deadline will have automatically been entered into Clearing.
  • Students who haven’t applied to university yet can after receiving their grades but they have to fill out a UCAS application.

If you’ve missed out on the agreed grades there’s still a chance your university will offer you a place (e.g. you got ABC instead of ABB). Make sure to call your choices before going through Clearing.

How does it work?

Universities that still have places on courses available will be listed on the UCAS website. Research the universities and courses you’re interested in, considering different subjects to your original choices to increase your chances, you could do joint-honours or related subjects.

Call the university’s Clearing hotline to speak to a member of staff. They’ll be able to tell you more about the university and course to help you decide if it’s for you. Universities will ask you questions about why you’d like to study that course, and what your grades were.

Universities will then either offer you a place over the phone verbally, or by email. Until you add the university as your Clearing choice on UCAS Track the offer is informal. You can receive informal offers from different universities and take time to consider your options before adding them to Track. The university will confirm your place once you’ve added them.

If you have the time it’s a good idea to visit the universities to see what they’re like. Most universities hold Clearing Open Days in August, alternatively, virtual tours and live Q&A sessions are held online.

Some universities will require you to go to an interview before offering you a place.

What are the dates for Clearing?

Clearing begins on July 5th 2019 (International Baccalaureate results day) and runs until October 23rd 2019.


Everything has worked out absolutely fine in the end, so I don’t have any regrets. Try to not dwell on the situation too much because you are so much more than your grades! – Amy, University of Brighton


Which universities can I apply to through Clearing?

An increasing number of universities offer Clearing places. There are places available at Russell Group, Red Brick, and modern universities. The number of spaces varies depending on the popularity of the course and university. The majority of courses and universities offer Clearing places, with notable exceptions of Medicine and the University of Oxford.

Find out which universities have clearing places available in 2019 here, and look at UCAS for updates to space availability.

How will I know if I’m in Clearing?

Your Track status will say ‘You’re in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’. Sometimes you may have to wait for your firm/insurance choice to consider you if your grades are lower than expected.

What is UCAS Direct Contact Service?

By signing up to UCAS Direct Contact Service, universities and colleges with places available on courses similar to the ones you applied to can contact you directly with an offer. This is an optional service that you’ll need to sign up for.

What is UCAS Clearing Self-Release?

Students who have a place at their firm/insurance university but have changed their mind can release themselves into Clearing on UCAS track.

Can I swap my firm and insurance choice?

You cannot swap your choices. You must call your insurance choice to see if they have a place available for you, then get released from your firm choice.

I’ve changed my mind about my firm choice can I use Clearing?

It’s recommended that you identify the course/university you’d like to go to and make sure they have a place for you before you ask to be released into clearing.


“[Clearing] is like the Boxing Day sales – you can get exactly what you would have got a few weeks earlier. But if you leave it too late you only get the XXLs and the XXSs so it is important to get in there early” - Andrew Carr, the admissions manager at Bishop Grosseteste University for The Telegraph.


What information do I need when I call universities?

  • Have your a-Level grades and UCAS and Clearing number ready
  • Have your A-Level grades and your GCSE grades handy (some courses require specific GCSE grades too)
  • Have your personal statement to hand as you’ll talk to the university about why you want to study the course
  • Research the university and course thoroughly. Often, universities will ask you questions such as ‘why this university?’ ‘what specifically about this course appeals to you?’
  • Prepare questions to ask the university – this is a great way to demonstrate your interest

Clearing TIPS

  • Make sure you’re not on holiday on results day
  • DO NOT just accept any offer. Students panic and accept random courses – take your time there’s plenty of courses out there
  • Call the universities YOURSELF – do not have your parents call on your behalf.

What do I do after I accept my Clearing place?

  • You need to update student finance with your new course and university details as soon as possible. If you take your time your loan may be delayed.
  • You will need to find accommodation at your new university. Lots of universities offer all Clearing students accommodation, others help students find accommodation in private houses.

Read some Clearing Success Stories from the University of Newcastle and the University of Reading.


By Clarissa Ducie

Posted in UCAS & Application on Aug 13, 2019 by

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