What is UCAS Clearing?
UCAS Clearing offers students the chance to find a last-minute place on a university course starting that same year. It also allows universities to fill up all the spare places on their courses before the start of the academic year.
Clearing is becoming an increasingly popular way for students to find their perfect place at university, in fact:
73,320 students using Clearing in 2020, including:
28,030 students who released themselves into Clearing and;
A record 19,640 who applied to uni directly through Clearing, having not made an application earlier on in the year
When Does UCAS Clearing 2020 Start?
Clearing opens on Monday 6 However, most of the action takes place on and around A-Level Results Day, which this year will be on Thursday 13 th July 2020. th August.
It’s worth noting that Clearing runs right up until
Tuesday 20, so you don’t need to panic if you can’t find a place by the end of Results Day. th October 2020
Who Can Use UCAS Clearing?
You are eligible to use Clearing if you fall into any of the following four categories:
1) You’re applying to university via UCAS after 30th June 2020
If you make an application to university via the UCAS system after this date, you’ll automatically be put into Clearing. If you’ve already got your exam results, you can start applying for Clearing courses straight away; if not, you can start contacting universities as soon as you get your grades on results day.
Note that unlike in-year applications (where you can add five choices to your application), when applying through Clearing you can only add one choice at a time. You’ll still have to submit all the usual things you would when applying in-year though – like a personal statement and references.
2) You applied before 30th June via UCAS, but you’re not holding any offers
If you didn’t get any offers from your initial five applications, you’ll automatically be put into Clearing after 30th June. You will be notified you are in Clearing via your UCAS Track account.
The process you follow here is like the one above – wait until you get your results, then start contacting universities to apply for their Clearing courses.
3) You’ve changed your mind about your Firm and Insurance choices BEFORE Results Day
If you’ve had a change of heart about the universities you’ve put for your firm and insurance choices, it is possible to ‘Self-Release’ yourself from your choices so you can enter Clearing.
4) You’ve changed your mind about your Firm and Insurance choice universities AFTER getting your results
If you find you’ve got better grades than you expected on Results Day, you may want to change your mind about where or what you want to study. In this case, you can go through the Adjustment process to apply somewhere else.
5) You don’t meet your offers on Results Day
The most common type of Clearing applicant; you’ll automatically be put into Clearing if you don’t meet either your Conditional Firm (CF) or Conditional Insurance university offers on Results Day.
NOTE: Not getting your grades doesn’t necessarily mean the university will say no and retract their offer. They might still let you in to your course (or have a similar one you could do), so make sure to ring the university up to see if you can persuade them you have what it takes to succeed.
Can Mature Students Go Through Clearing?
Absolutely! There are no upper age limits to applying to university, so if getting a university education is something you want to do, then go for it!
You may be feeling daunted at the prospect of applying to university through Clearing, but actually as a mature student
you are in a prime position. If you’ve already got your results, you can start searching and applying when Clearing opens on July 6 th 2020, you don’t have to wait until Results Days in August when the big rush for places begins.
What About BTEC Students?
Clearing is open to any student who wants to apply to a university, regardless of what qualifications they are currently studying. And again, being a BTEC student also puts you at an advantage. As a BTEC student you will get your results ahead of students taking A-Levels, so you can get in their early and search places before your peers.
Is UCAS Clearing Open to International Students?
Yes, thousands of international students use the Clearing system every year. If you’re an international student, have already made an application this year through UCAS, and fall into one of the applicant categories listed above, you can use Clearing.
You should aim to go through the Clearing process as soon as you can as once you’ve accepted an offer, as you may need to obtain the necessary visas to be eligible to come to the UK to study.
Note: In 2020, university applications for International students will be severely impacted by the travel restrictions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. You should consult your own governments’ advice for students and speak to your chosen university before making any decisions.)
Can You Apply to University in Clearing Without Using UCAS?
Yes. If you don’t yet have a UCAS account (and don’t want to set one up), then you can apply to a university directly for a course during Clearing. You’ll still have to supply the university with your results, and you may also need to submit a personal statement and details of references, just as you would if you applied via UCAS.
The process is called ‘Record of Prior Acceptance (RPA)’ and 41,000 students took this route into university in 2020. If the university offers this route and makes you an offer that you accept, you’ll need to fill in a Record of Prior Acceptance form, which the university will submit to UCAS on your behalf (for use in data analysis).
Note that not all universities offer this route (UCAS discourages it and charges universities a fee for processing your RPA form); but it’s worth checking with the university if you’d prefer this route.
A word of caution: If you accept an offer from a university through a Record of Prior Acceptance, you will not be able to apply for any other courses, either directly or through UCAS. So, make sure you are 100% sure about the course before you accept any offer.
What is Adjustment?
If you find, when you pick up your results this summer, that you’ve exceeded your expectations, you may feel like reconsidering the choices you’ve made. If you do, then you can go through the Adjustment process via your UCAS Track account. Adjustment opens on 13 th August (A-Level Results Day) and runs until 31 st August but note that you only have to use the service. five days within this period
The good thing about Adjustment is that until you have found a new course (and accepted the offer for it), your place on your original course remains safe. You only lose it once you’ve confirmed your new place.
What is ‘Self-Release’?
If you’ve had a change of heart about your university choices BEFORE you get your results, the good news is that you don’t have to wait until 13 th August for Adjustment to open. Instead, you can use the ‘Self-Release’ process on your UCAS Track account to decline your offers and put yourself into Clearing. The process is available from 6 th July 2020 (when Clearing opens) for students holding a firm unconditional university offer.
Note: Only use ‘Self-Release’ if you are 100% sure you don’t want to take up your place at your firm choice. If you change your mind back, there is no guarantee your place will still be available.
How Does UCAS Clearing Work?
There are three easy steps to Clearing, as follows:
Step #1: Research Clearing Courses
We advise you to do some research into what Clearing courses are available well before Results Day. You might not need to go through Clearing or want to use the Adjustment service, but you can’t guarantee anything. So, it’s worth making a list of back-up options, just in case.
Clearing opens a world of possibilities, so it’s worth considering some (slightly) different courses too. If you’ve got your heart set on a subject but can’t find suitable courses, you can consider a joint honours course instead.
When researching universities, it’s worth remembering what you like about your current choices. Did you like their location? Did you pick them for their place in the rankings? Whatever the factors were, keep them at the front of your mind when you’re searching for a new university.
Step #2: Call the University’s Clearing Hotline
Once you’ve drawn up your shortlist, it’s time to start applying. This will involve calling up the Clearing hotline at your chosen university to see if they have a place for you. There are a few things you’ll need to hand when you make this call and you are likely to be nervous. To help you get an idea of how this process works we spoke to Hilary Steel, who has previously managed the Clearing call centre at University of Leeds:
What kind of questions will students be asked over the phone?
Firstly, they will be asked what course they are interested in. If there are vacancies on that course, they will be asked what grades, and in what subject, they achieved in their qualifications. If they hold grades that meet the requirements of the course they will be transferred to the school/faculty.
If they don’t have the required grades, or if the course they’re interested in doesn’t have any vacancies, they may be asked if they’d be interested in a course in a similar field that may have lower entry requirements/has vacancies.
What are the common mistakes students make when calling about Clearing?
We often find that students are in too much of a panic or rush to find a place to really understand what is being said over the phone. We recommend that the student writes down any important information that they are being given so that they can review it all later.
What advice would you give to students who are going through Clearing 2020?
Really consider the course and your options, and don’t "panic-buy" a course you aren't really interested in. The last thing we want is for a student to start on a course that they will end up hating - so take time to really consider your options before you commit to a course.
If you’re not sure about a course, or you really want to do the course you initially applied for, there’s always to option to re-sit your exams and try again for next year.
Step #3: Make it Official and Off You Go!
Once you’ve got a verbal offer from the university, if you’ve applied via UCAS, you need to make it official by adding the course/university as a choice on your UCAS Track account. The university will then confirm the offer and your account will say ‘Clearing Accepted’. If you’ve applied directly with the university, you’ll need to complete a ‘Record of Prior Acceptance’ form and the university will then send you a letter formally confirming your place.
Once this is done, you’ll need to update your details with the Student Loans Company (or apply for student finance, if you haven’t already) and book accommodation (either through the university or a private provider).Then you can relax and start looking forward to your new life at university!
How Do I Find University Courses in Clearing?
You can do all your research for the perfect Clearing course right here on Whatuni. When Clearing opens, we’ll have thousands of Clearing courses from universities across the UK listed on our site, complete with all the information you need to decide if the course is suitable for you (including entry requirements, course rankings, and module information).
Plus, we've got in-depth, independently written, university profiles (with information you can’t read anywhere else!) and over 200,000 reviews from current students about life at university to help you make your decision.
What Universities are in UCAS Clearing 2020?
Until Clearing opens on 6 th July, we won’t know how many universities will be taking part and advertising courses. But last year, 370 universities took part in Clearing, offering 30,743 courses*.
This included 18 Russell Group universities, including University of Exeter,
King's College London, Newcastle University, University of Edinburgh and Queens University Belfast.
(*Data correct as of 8
th August 2020).
What is UCAS Clearing Plus?
Clearing Plus is a new service from UCAS that has been designed to help support students to review their university choices.
The service serves to match students going through Clearing or Adjustment to alternative courses and puts students in direct contact with universities students are interested in.
Will Coronavirus Affect UCAS Clearing in 2020?
One thing that could potentially impact Clearing, is the Government’s decision to implement temporary controls on new student numbers as part of their ‘Support Package for Universities and Students ’ . Under these controls, universities will only be able to recruit a pre-set number of new students this year. If universities have already hit these numbers, or are close to doing so, this might affect the number of places they make available during Clearing.
Another impact of COVID-19 on the Clearing process is the cancellation of any Clearing-specific open days that might have been planned. These will be now replaced with
virtual tours and events.
Is Student Accommodation Available for Clearing Applicants?
Universities know that having a safe, enjoyable place to live is a big factor for students searching for Clearing universities. So, the vast majority keep space aside in their accommodation specifically for Clearing students.
Once you’ve accepted your Clearing offer, contact the university’s accommodation team to help you find and book a room. If university halls are full, the team can provide details of reputable private accommodation providers for you to contact.
What About Student Loans and Grants?
If you’ve already applied for student funding, then you’ll need to update the university details on your student finance account to reflect your change in university (so that they can send the fees to the correct place).
If you haven’t applied yet, you need to apply as soon as possible after securing your place, via the relevant student finance department in
England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
How Do I Cope with the Stress of Clearing?
The best way to lower your stress levels on Results Day is to be prepared for any eventuality. Make sure you spend time before the big day exploring other options so you can act as soon as possible should you need to.
Another good piece of advice is to talk to someone about what you are going through. Whether it’s a parent, a teacher or a trusted friend, knowing you aren’t going through this alone can be a big help.
What Are My Other Options?
If you find yourself without any offers on Results Day, going through Clearing is not your only option. If you have your heart set on a specific course but didn’t get the grades you needed, then there is the option of taking a gap year, resitting your exams, and applying to that course again next year.
During a gap year, students often choose to either travel abroad or enter the workplace to gain experience and earn some money. This year, due to the impact of Coronavirus on travel and the economy, these options might be limited to you. So, it’s worth considering all your options before making final plans.
Parents' Guide to UCAS Clearing 2020
How to Find Student Accommodation in UCAS Clearing
How To Go Through Clearing as a Mature Student