It's a bit of a long article, so use these quick links to get yourself to the relevant places.
An introduction to clearing
So you’ve probably heard the word Clearing a few times during your time applying for university, but if you’re still not sure what it is, don't worry - we’re bringing all the information to you!
Clearing is part of the UCAS application process and is there to help you find a place at university if you haven’t got any offers, you’ve declined all your offers, you didn’t meet the conditions of your offer or, you’ve changed your mind and want to apply for university late.
Let’s help you work out which category you fall into:
If you’ve not been made any offers, or you’ve declined any offers you’ve had so far, then you’re automatically in Clearing. You will still have to wait for your results before trying to get a place at university, but once you’ve got them pick up the phone and get calling!
If you apply for university now, you’ll automatically be placed into Clearing. You will still need to start an application through UCAS and write your personal statement (check our our guide to registering with UCAS from week 5). If you’ve already had your results you can start calling from 5 July when Clearing officially opens. If not, wait until you get your results.
As applying for university is a big commitment, it's fine if you have a change of heart! All you need to do is call your university choices and ask them to release you so you can enter into Clearing. However, it might be worth waiting until your results as you may be able to go through adjustment.
So you got your results and they’re not what you expected. That’s okay! There’s still a chance for you to go to university. If you didn’t meet the conditions for your firm or insurance choices you’ll automatically be entered into Clearing. If you still achieved the results you needed to get into your insurance choice university then they will automatically place you and you can sit back and relax! Woo!
However, if you decide that you would rather go somewhere else through Clearing, then just contact your insurance choice and ask them to release you to go through Clearing. It’s worthwhile ringing around a few universities first to check that they have a place for you before you do this though.
If you’ve got better results than you thought you would and want to change universities, you can decline your place in your application to go through Clearing instead.
There’s a few dates that you may need to make a note of when getting ready for Clearing:
5 July – Clearing officially opens
Clearing is open! Remember, you can’t apply for Clearing unless you have received your exam results, but if you're applying late to university you can find a place now.
5 July – Solent's Clearing hotline opens
If you need any advice for applying at Solent you can call our hotline on: 023 8001 1722.
6 August – SQA results day
It's results day for those of you studying your SQAs. Your certificate should be arriving today too!
15 August – RQF BTEC and A Level results day
Also known as the busiest day of Clearing, this is when most students will receive their results. We’ve got our fingers crossed for you! But if you’re entering into Clearing, don’t panic. We’re on hand to help.
21 October – Clearing deadline
This is the last day you can submit an application for 2024 entry. Applications must arrive to UCAS by 6pm (UK time). If you’ve missed this deadline then you’ll have to apply for 2025 entry.
Making a clear choice
Set a course criteria
When you’re selecting your university, you still need to research your Clearing choice. Remind yourself about why you made those original choices and see if you can still apply that criteria now. If you did not get the results you expected, you may need to have a little rethink about what you’d like to study if your original offers have been withdrawn. If you’ve not applied to university at all yet, check out our 52 Things article which course is right for you for top tips on finding the right fit.
Check the course is available
Before calling the universities you're considering, it's worth seeing if the course is available through Clearing. You can find out on the UCAS website or on the university's course pages.
See what the university is like
Don’t forget, you’re going to be spending the next 3-4 years here, so it’s worth checking out what the university is like. See what facilities they have and if the location is convenient for you. Lots of universities will offer visit days or open days, check them out and get booking now!
Make some enquiries
You can call as many universities as you want and enquire about as many courses as you’d like. You can also accept as many verbal offers as you’d like. However you’ll only be able to apply for one. There should be plenty of Clearing places about, so it’s worth calling around before making that choice.
Consider a different route
If your results were much lower than expected and you’ve not quite reached the amount of points needed for your course, you may need to consider a different course entirely. It may be worth looking at the foundation years that a course offers. Foundation years are essentially an extra year at university where you will learn the skills needed for a degree. You can find out more about the types of degrees in week 4 or find out about Solent’s foundation years here.
Applying for a course
So you’re in Clearing and you’ve got an idea of which course/courses to apply for, it’s really not as difficult as it seems. We’ve condensed it into three easy steps:
1. Check UCAS track
Here you can see the status of your applications. If you’re in Clearing it will tell you that you are and there will be a button saying ‘Add a Clearing choice’.
2. Grab a pen and paper
You’re going to need to jot down a few things:
- Your UCAS Track number
- Your qualifications and how much they equal in tariff points (there’s a handy calculator here)
- Any questions you may have about the course.
3. Pick up the phone
You’re going to have to start calling your selected university choices to see if they have space and if you are eligible to apply. They will give you your next steps on what to do.
Or, if picking up the phone isn’t your style, there are other ways to contact the universities you’ve chosen. At Solent we’re available by WhatsApp, live chat, Twitter, Facebook AND Snapchat! Phew. So if you’re looking for alternatives ways to contact the university, there are a few!
Find a home and fund your studies
Another thing you may have to think about is where you’re going to live and how you’re going to fund your studies. This isn't as difficult of a task as it seems, but once you've got your Clearing place, you're gonna need to get on it and get this bit sorted.
Finding a home
So once you’ve made your Clearing choice, you’re going to need to figure out where you want to live. Most universities set aside a few extra rooms for people who are applying through Clearing, so it’s worth asking what accommodation is available.
Halls of residences full? Don’t panic. Contact your university's accommodation team and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. They'll have a list of landlords who are accredited and have been vetted to make sure their houses are safe for you to live in. For more information check out week 20.
If you’re applying to Solent through Clearing, we’re guaranteeing accommodation to anyone who puts us as their Clearing choice (you’ll have to check out our Clearing website for more info on that!). If you’re not applying to Solent, it's worth seeing if your university is offering anything similar. Also, once you’ve sorted accommodation, it might be worth checking out week 21 for how to decorate your room on a budget.
Funding your studies
After you’ve selected your Clearing choice and it’s been accepted, it’s time to sort out your funding. If you’ve already applied for student finance you’ll need to contact them and change your university. Here’s how you can do it but bear in mind you’ll need to do this ASAP.
If you’ve not applied for student finance yet, you need to do this as quickly as possible. Check out week 24 for how to register and then get that application filled in fast!
It’s also worth checking out if your university offers any bursaries or scholarships you may be entitled to. If you’re considering more than one, make sure you check them all! Here’s what Solent offer to give you an idea.
If you require additional support at university, you may also be eligible for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). It’s a non-repayable grant that provides extra funding to support you, so that’s worth checking out too.
You can still ask us any questions you have about the Clearing process on any of our social channels:
WhatsApp: 07712 402 951
Check out our video below for all the Clearing information you need too!
This video 'Clearing 2023 - our top tips' is available as a text transcript, with a description of visuals.
Next week in part two
- Hear from students who went through clearing.
- Results day.
- Making that Clearing call.
- What happens in the Clearing hotline room.
- From Clearing to enrolment.