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University Clearing – What to do?

You’ve got your results and it wasn’t what you were hoping for. You don’t have an offer from a university, what do you do? Well, you can still apply for a course using University Clearing.

What is Clearing?

Clearing is a UCAS service that allows universities and colleges fill remaining places they have on their courses. If you didn’t manage to get into your selected university or the course you applied for then this is the ideal way for you to find another course that would interest you.

How does it work?

There are a number of ways that you can find a course through clearing, but the official way is through UCAS. Once you find a course you will need to apply for it via the UCAS website through Track. Here’s a quick snapshot:

  1. The UCAS website has a search tool to find courses. It’s the only official course vacancy list. Please note not all universities take part in clearing, including Cambridge and Oxford.
  2. Contact the university. If you have a course in mind, give the university a call and find out whether they would accept you. Consider different subjects. I originally wanted to do Law and I went through clearing and ended up doing a Dual Honours in Law & Business Admin (Marketing) at Keele University, so although it might not be your first choice, there’s always a different way in.
  3. Add the course to Track via the UCAS website. Once confirmed your place is guaranteed.

How do I apply?

Everything is done via the UCAS website, so, if you haven’t applied already, you will need to register and make an application. UCAS will then send you a welcome email with details on how to access Track and provide you with your clearing number.

They will also tell you the steps you need to follow as listed above.

When you contact the university, you will need to give them your clearing number and personal ID number. Ask if they would accept you, they might reconsider you for the course. Get the informal offer over the phone, maybe from a variety of different universities and colleges, then you can decide which one to accept.

Once you have that informal offer, add it to Track. Click on the ‘Add Clearing choice’ and fill in the course details by the date the university gave you over the phone. This counts as your acceptance of the offer, so when the university confirms, it will show as an acceptance on your ‘Choices’ page in Track. Please note, you can only add one choice at a time. If the university doesn’t confirm the offer, you can then apply again for another course.

Direct Contact Service

UCAS also have an additional service called ‘Direct contact service’. This is an optional service that allows universities/colleges to contact you during clearing. You will need to sign up for this and can find more information here.

To Summarise

Whatever you do, don’t give up searching and don’t panic. It took me a good part of the day searching for a university and course that would accept me. Listen to the advice of your parents and teachers. Be aware of dates and times and be ready to answer questions. Most courses won’t close until the end of the first day of clearing and universities will want to know why you want to join the course and university, so be prepared. And be patient. Universities/colleges can take the whole day to respond to your application in Track. With hundreds of applications to process, they may not be able to get to your application until the end of the day, so be patient and if you need to follow up, give them a call the next day. Remember hotlines are open until October.

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