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FAQs about... Clearing

Can I get on a good course through Clearing?

Of course! A lot of the top universities keep places on courses for late entry and Clearing applicants, so as long as you’re speedy you should be able to find a university that meets your needs.

QuestionsDo popular courses tend to fill early? 

There is no getting around this – in the scramble for Clearing places, the best courses will be snapped up extremely quickly. So, get on the phone as soon as you’ve got your results to give yourself the best chance possible.

Is it true that Clearing requires speed, not genius? 

Speed is absolutely key here. If you’re sluggish about it you might not end up on the course you want, so be as proactive as is possible.

Am I eligible for clearing?

You are eligible if any of the following applies to you: 
· You have not previously withdrawn your application from UCAS
· You have no offers from courses or have not got a confirmed offer
· You have declined an offer or not responded to an offer in time
· You have not made the grades or tariff required by your chosen course/university.

What if I haven’t applied before?

You can still apply for the first time up until 20th September, and you will then be automatically entered into the Clearing system. You do not need to fill in any choices, but you may then be in a bit of a lottery as to what the system finds for you. Having a clear idea of which courses you are interested in and which still have vacancies is the best way to ensure that you get what you actually want. Those who have not applied before or who only made one (failed) choice on their original application will be asked for £10 to enter Clearing.

Can I go through Clearing and then defer for the following year?

Technically nothing prevents you going through clearing and deferring with the agreement of your receiving course/university. However, universities and UCAS will not be keen on you using Clearing in this way as it clutters up the system. You are more than likely to be asked to re-apply for the following year, particularly if you have missed your expected grades.

How keen are you on deferring?

One strategy employed by a few past candidates who wanted both a confirmed place and a deferment has been to get confirmation of a place and then ask for a deferment later. But this is extremely risky and likely to make you unpopular.
The best thing to do, in all likelihood, is to opt out of Clearing all together and reapply through UCAS for the following autumn with the grades you’ve achieved. You’ll have to rethink your choice of university, but you’ll have the chance to really consider all your options – whilst going ahead with that gap year as planned.

What else do I need to go through Clearing?

When going through Clearing it is important to keep to hand proof of your past and present exam results. A university/course may wish to see proof of these before they formally offer you a place. It is often worth getting these scanned as a pdf file so that you can email course tutors with these, instead of having to send the originals. This is a good idea if you intend trying to get offers from more than one course in order to still have an element of choice (be careful you do not end up missing the boat though).

What happens if I get really good grades and could have gone to my original first choice – even though they rejected me? Is it too late to change?

A: Short answer – No it’s not too late but it is risky changing horses before the final fence! UCAS are not keen on people swapping around at the last minute.

If you already have confirmed a place you technically cannot now accept a new one, but you can still find a way if you are determined. Check with the university that offers the course you really want to study if they would still give you a place based on your better than expected grades. If they are prepared to offer you a place now, then you will have to tell your current confirmed place (and UCAS) that you no longer wish to join that particular course and wish to reapply through Clearing to your new choice.

Going through Clearing for this reason can be risky unless you are certain you want to join your preferred course and that they do indeed wish to have you. You could end up with no place (the official UCAS line), or waiting a year. Yet each year we know of students who have gone back to an original rejecting university, to then be accepted on the basis of very good exam results. Your choice, your risk.

Where can I get last minute advice on Clearing?

Do not forget your school or college. You may have officially left, but many schools and colleges still keep careers advisers and teachers on-call to help. Also Connexions, Careers Scotland and Careers Wales are a useful source of information. A good tip is to try and see these sources of advice before Results Day, especially if you think that clearing is a likely option for you.

Don’t forget your parents as sounding-boards - they are on your side. They may know nothing about your intended course or university, but they will ask the sort of questions you need to ask yourself – ‘is this course better than the other ones you were looking at?’ – ‘do you like the university location/town as much?’ – ‘what are the graduate prospects like on this course?’
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