Adjustment and Clearing: Everything You Need to Know

Clearing is a very stressful time of year for everyone. Universities are dealing with a number of panicked students calling up to see if they can grab a last minute place at the university and students are calling up to see if they can grab something at the last minute while trying to keep their cool!

Clearing can be stressful and can also be a difficult thing for people to understand. Many students don’t understand what Clearing is, what it entails, what it’s use is and why they need to understand it, luckily, we’ve got a full guide to explain exactly what Clearing is, how it can help and what it is that you need to know.

What is Clearing?

Clearing is a way for students that are in need of a university to find one that is suited to them and helps any participating university that is struggling for university applications to find willing students. Clearing is often used by students that have not been able to get into the university that they first wanted to get into and also the opposite effect, which is called Adjustment. Clearing is usually completed on Results Day, Clearing is used for when students don’t get the grades that they expect. Don’t feel bad for not knowing, plenty of people are always asking what is Clearing?

What is Adjustment?

Adjustment is very much the same as Clearing in that, if you find yourself getting some better grades than you thought you could, then you can apply for an even better university than you thought you could. As a result, you will have far better UCAS Points, which means you are able to apply to a university with a higher UCAS points entry requirement, make sure you use a UCAS Points Calculator before you apply.

When does Clearing start?

For 2017, Clearing will officially start on 1st of July 2017, however, most universities won’t start even thinking about Clearing until Results Day. Some universities will allow you to start early, but this is a little unlikely given a number of people that may be expected to go through Clearing that year. Clearing will officially close on 22nd of October 2017. The days can also depend on what day the A-Level Results Day falls on to and when the Scottish National Highers falls onto, too. Although Scottish Nationals are handled by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, so the dates will change accordingly. 

Do all universities participate in Clearing?

No is the short answer. Not all universities need to; universities like the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford, they won’t need to keep their courses made available as they only take the applicants with the highest grades, and if you haven’t achieved them you won’t be going to one of those universities.

Do all universities participate in Adjustment?

This is very much dependent on the year. Many universities will participate in it, however, there are many who don’t as there is no need. That being said, there is almost no way of ever finding out if they are without calling up and asking. Most universities will want to take advantage where they can, however, many will not allow for late applicants.

Should I still speak to my first choice university if I’m in Clearing?

Absolutely! Plenty of universities still take students on, even if they haven’t achieved the grades that they asked for. This obviously won’t be the same for every university, so you’ll want to speak to them first. We recommend that when you receive your grades you call up your first and second choice universities and see if you are still eligible for a place from there, if you are, then make your decision as to which one you want to go to, if not, then don’t worry too much, jump into Clearing and start looking for other universities!

Why do I need to go through Clearing?

There are a number of reasons why you may need to go through Clearing. Not all of them are bad, some of them may be genuine reasons why you need to use a Clearing platform to help you out. That being said, the most common reasons for going through Clearing, are generally these:

  • Your UCAS was not received before 30th June. If you’ve sent your application after this date, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the universities in question definitely won’t have received.
  • You didn’t get the grades that your university asked you to get.
  • You’ve changed your mind. This is a common one, many people decide to not do a certain degree, in lieu of another one. For instance, maybe you don’t want to do a Journalism degree and you’d like to look into the possibility of an Economics degree or something.

Where can I check the latest Clearing vacancies?

There are a number of ways, the university’s website or the UCAS site will obviously have up-to-date information, but there are easier ways of doing things, too. University Compare currently run our own Clearing app, which is available on the Apple and Android app store completely free. If you use an application, make sure that you have the ability to get in contact with every university that you want to, don’t just pick one because it has a name you recognise.

Will I lose any unconditional offers that I received if I go through Adjustment?

Good news everyone! Not, you won’t. You’ll be given the freedom to explore your options if you so wish, so you can change your mind easily, if you want to, you won’t need to go through the usual worries of deciding where to go and what to do if you don’t find a university that suits you, you can just use your unconditional offer. Your Adjustment phase is your decision and your decision alone.

If I don’t get the grades I want, do I still need to go through Clearing?

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to! There are plenty of alternatives, obviously, if you want to go to university this year and didn’t get into your first or second choice, then you will need to go through Clearing, but if you’re okay with starting a year late or so, you can easily just wait a year and retake your exams so that you can get your grades up to the standard that the university are looking for. There are a lot of students are always looking into retaking exams during a gap year and plenty of students worry about this tactic, because it means that they will be a year behind, but that is not necessarily the case, you can get yourself some gainful employment, you can learn more about yourself and you can even look into the possibilities of studying abroad.

Does Clearing cover universities abroad?

Not in the way that you’re thinking. If you want to apply to a university outside of the European Union (EU), you will need to apply to the university directly, but you will still need to use UCAS and any Clearing platform to cancel any applications that you currently have at other universities. Clearing won’t cover universities in the US for instance, as they have to be contacted individually.

What do I do about accommodation in Clearing?

This can be tricky. We recommend that you speak to people at the university that you’re applying to and ask them what the current accommodation schedules are looking like. Many universities will have their accommodation already full up, but many won’t, the best thing to do is to do as much research as possible beforehand. There are plenty of ways to find last minute accommodation after Clearing.