It’s natural to feel a little anxious about the UCAS Clearing process. However, as long as you understand how Clearing works and what you will need during the process, applying for Clearing should be a breeze.
Understand the terminology
Before you get started with Clearing, it is a good idea to make sure you understand the terminology which may pop up. Below is a list of common phrases you are likely to hear during the Clearing process:
- Choice - A course you apply for.
- Clearing call/ hotline - A call with a university you’d like to apply for through Clearing.
- Clearing deadline - The date when Clearing closes.
- Clearing number / ID - This is a number that will be on your UCAS hub welcome page. Remember, it is different from your UCAS personal ID.
- Clearing Plus - A personalised UCAS service which matches students to universities who have particular courses available in Clearing.
- Conditional offer - An offer to a course under conditions (typically your grades).
- Course Code - The number in the UCAS system given to each course.
- Deferral - If you’d like to start the course the following academic year.
- Firm choice - An offer you accept as your first choice.
- Hub - UCAS Hub lets you track your application.
- Informal offer - A offer by a university likely given verbally on a Clearing call. Once you have added the course as your Clearing choice, the university will then accept it making the offer formal.
- Insurance choice - An offer you accept as your second choice. Note you can not add more than one Clearing choice at a time. Insurance choices are only available for your original application.
- Point of entry - The year your course will start.
- UCAS number/ personal ID - A number personal to you given by UCAS.
- UCAS Self release - Allows a student who holds a university place to decline it and release themselves into Clearing.
- Unconditional offer - An offer onto a course with no conditions.
- Unsuccessful - The outcome if your university application is declined.
What you will need on the day
Making sure you have everything you will need for Clearing prepared will help eliminate any anxieties you may have. Although Clearing starts on the 5th July, most students enter Clearing on A Level results day. To secure your spot quickly and stress free on the day, make sure to have the following prepared.
Taking the time to research the different universities available before making your final decision on a Clearing course is vital if you’re going to find the perfect place for you.
Do I need a personal statement for Clearing?
You do not need to write a specific Clearing personal statement. When you make your Clearing application, it will contain your original personal statement.
You can submit a new personal statement if you want to. In order to do this, you will need to contact the university directly and ask them if you can submit a new one.
What info do I need for Clearing?
You will need to have a few things at the ready for when you apply through Clearing. This means that you will need to have:
- Any questions you may have about the course.
- Relevant portfolios.
- Work experience details (if you have any).
- Your Clearing number.
- Your GCSE and A-Level results.
- Your UCAS ID number.
- Your personal statement.This information will be essential for applying for university through Clearing.
Something to take notes with
Make sure you either have a pen and a pad, tablet, laptop or phone to hand to jot down any important information you may need. Note down any research you have done, important contact details and your personal information, for example your UCAS number.
It’s a good idea to have your notes organised. This way if you’re on a Clearing call with a university you will easily be able to navigate the answer to questions they ask. Rummaging through pieces of paper during your call probably won’t leave a great impression. Also, if they tell you any important dates or information in the call, you will want to be able to jot it down quickly.
Clearing can be a whirlwind, with you having to remember a ton of information whilst more is being thrown at you. Having organised notes will make Clearing a lot easier.
Fully charged phone and good internet
Before you add your Clearing choice on UCAS you will need to obtain an informal offer from the university you’re applying for. To do this, you’ll have to call up the university and enquire about the Clearing course you’re interested in. Clearing calls will typically involve the university asking you a few questions, so there's no saying how long a call could last. Also, you may want to phone up a few universities on results day. The last thing you want is your phone running out when you’re trying to secure yourself a Clearing spot.
You’ll also need either your phone or laptop for the Clearing process. To apply for Clearing you’ll need to have access to your UCAS account. Here you can search through the Clearing vacancies and add your Clearing choice. Don’t forget to make sure you have a good internet connection on the day.
A list of the courses your interested in
If you are uncertain whether you will need to go through Clearing or not, it’s a good idea to check which courses/universities have Clearing spots available prior to results day. Compile a list of courses you like the sound of, along with any contact details. That way, if you do end up going through Clearing, you won’t waste any time searching through the UCAS Course Finder for a Clearing space. It’s also key to remember that Clearing spots can go quickly, so the more you prepare beforehand the better chance you will have of securing your spot for September.
Choosing which university you would like to study at is not always an easy task. Taking the time to research the different universities available before making your final decision on a Clearing course is vital if you’re going to find the perfect place for you.
Questions for the university
During your Clearing call with a university you will most likely be asked a few questions on why you’d like to study on a particular course at their university. Whilst you want to focus on showing your enthusiasm in your answers, it's also a good idea to have some questions for them prepared. Not only does asking questions highlight your genuine interest, they are also a great way of getting to know the course/university better.
Remember, you are not required to stick to the first university that offers you a place. Instead, speak with a few universities, ask lots of questions and do some digging. Then, you’ll be certain that whichever offer you do accept is the right one for you.
A great place to start when thinking of questions for the university is the course itself. Delve into the course that you're interested in on the university's website and think of some insightful questions. You could ask about the seminar-to-lecture ratio, or the different opportunities available to students when studying. Here’s a few suggestions of questions you could ask during your Clearing call:
- Are there opportunities on the course to complete a work placement?
- Is the course mainly coursework or are there a lot of exams?
- Are there any Open Days?
- What accommodation is available?
- Are bursaries or scholarships available?
What info do I need for Clearing?
You don’t necessarily need to have tons of information at your disposal. Having all of the information that is relevant to you is sometimes the most important thing.
We recommend that you have all the information that a university will ask for to-hand. This means your UCAS ID number, your Clearing number, your work experience (if you have any) details, your personal statement and your GCSE and A-Level results.
Making sure you have everything you will need for Clearing prepared will help eliminate any anxieties you may have.
Do I need a personal statement for Clearing?
Your personal statement will already be a part of your UCAS application. You will not need to re-write your personal statement unless the university you are applying to asks you to and this is exceptionally rare.
It is possible to re-apply with a new personal statement. This will not be done through UCAS; you will need to contact the university directly and ask them how to do so, as you may need to send the new statement to the submissions team.
How long does Clearing take?
This really depends on the university you are applying to. Once you have added the Clearing course you like to your UCAS Hub, this will then be down to the university and how long they take to respond to you.
Typically, universities tend to confirm your place within 24-72 hours. Some have been known to take longer, it will generally depend on how busy the university is at that time.
Have your documents ready
Documents are also important to have to hand throughout Clearing. You may be asked in your Clearing call to confirm any of your personal information. Alongside all of your personal details, make sure you have the following close by:
- Your UCAS number
- Your personal Clearing number
- Your A Level, AS, and GCSE results or equivalent
To make your life a little easier, download our Clearing app. Here you can research universities, search Clearing courses, and connect with universities in seconds. On a busy Clearing day, like results day, having a handy one stop app could be all you need to secure yourself a spot at university.