How to find a course via UCAS Clearing

Clearing is not a last resort for disappointed students – it can provide a fresh choice in a variety of circumstances, says Darren Baker.

What is Clearing?

Is it a horrible dark hole for people who have failed all their exams? Is it a lastchance saloon where students take pot luck on getting a course? These are just some of the negative views of Clearing that get bandied around at the time of A-level results, and none of them are true.

Going through the Clearing system does not mean that you have failed in any way. You may have had offers that you haven’t met from a university or college; you may decide that you don’t want to go to your first-choice university anymore. You might have changed your mind about which subject to study, or it could be that you applied too late.Whatever your situation, Clearing is here to help you get back on track if you haven’t received the grades you were expecting. It is a well-organised and efficient service, run by UCAS and supported by a team of advisers whose knowledge and understanding make the whole process easy and simple to use.

Last year, over 38,000 people found places at university or college through Clearing.

How it works

First things first – you are eligible for Clearing if:

  • You haven’t withdrawn your initial application
  • You hold no offers
  • Your offers have not been confirmed because you haven’t achieved the required grades
  • You have declined your offers or you have not responded by the due date
  • Your offers have not been confirmed, and you have declined any alternative offers from the same institution
  • You applied after the closing date of 30 June (12 June for Route B art and design courses)

Once you are eligible for Clearing, UCAS will send you a Clearing passport. If a university or college is willing to consider your application, they will ask for the Clearing number that is printed on your Clearing passport.

Getting it right

Preparation and research are the foundations on which a successful Clearing application is based.

Feel free to contact as many universities and colleges as you want, and don’t feel as though you have to accept the first offer that comes along; remember you could be spending at least three years studying the course. Try to be around at the time of A-level results day, because you need to be able to speak to people face to face to sort out a place.

Finding your place

Places are advertised on the UCAS website, in The Independent newspaper and in the student section of The Independent’s website, so if you find a course that you like the sound of, give the institution a call (you can use the institution list at UCAS to get hold of their contact numbers). Remember to keep your Clearing passport handy; if the university or college is interested they will ask you for your Clearing and application number.

What next?

If your preferred university offers you a place then they will ask you to send them your Clearing passport. Remember, only send off your passport to an institution if you are absolutely sure that it is the place you want to go and the course you want to study.

Whatever you do, do not send your Clearing passport to UCAS; it’s your chosen university or college that needs it. Also be aware that if you are applying for an art and design course, you need to be ready to take a portfolio of work in to show your favoured institution.

After you have sent your chosen university or college your Clearing passport, they will then tell UCAS that you have accepted the offer, and UCAS will send you a confirmation letter. Once you receive this letter, you can start to prepare for your studies. It really is that simple.

Hot dates

This year, Clearing begins on Tuesday 5 August for Scottish vacancies and Thursday 14 August for all other vacancies. It runs until Monday 17 September, when available places will stop being advertised, although you will have until 20 September to submit your application. Above all, remember that if you do get involved in the Clearing process it is merely an extension of your UCAS application. So, don’t worry if your results differ from what you expected – just get the right result through Clearing.

Useful information

UCAS helpline

If you need to talk things over with someone, call one of the UCAS advisers; they are extremely helpful and have a wealth of knowledge - 0871 468 0468

UCAS website

Visit the website from 14 August (5 August in Scotland) to view Clearing listings and get contact numbers for the institutions you are interested in www.ucas.ac.uk

The Independent

Pick up a copy of the newspaper for official Clearing listings, and for further advice and information on clearing and up-to-date student news bookmark www.independent.co.uk/student

  • Darren Barker, communications officer at UCAS
  • This article will also appear in Which Way magazine - produced in association with UCAS - which comes out on 13 August


PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Foundation / Year 1 Teacher - Long Term - Salford

£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £140 per day + ?DOE: Randstad Education Maidstone: SEN Teacher Kent

Year 5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: KS2 Supply Teacher Position avai...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil