Getting a university place through Clearing: Your questions answered

All your questions about Clearing answered (Chris Radburn/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

As thousands of students across the UK receive their A-level results, here, with help from UCAS, we answer the key questions around Clearing, based on some of the most common Google searches on the subject in the UK in recent years.

  • How does Clearing work?

Clearing is the annual process that allows students without a university place, or who want to switch to a different one, to search for and find a degree course with availability.

You can use Clearing if you are applying for the first time after June 30, if you did not receive any offers from any universities, or none you wanted to accept, or if you did not meet the required grades needed for your chosen university course.

  • When does Clearing open and how long does it last?

Clearing opened on July 5 and closes on October 23.

  • How do I apply for a university place through Clearing?

If you haven’t already applied for a university place through the main application scheme, you need to submit an application to Ucas.

You will then be sent an email and have access to Ucas’s online system, Track.

You’ll also be given a Clearing number.

Search for courses you are interested in, and when you have found one you want to study, call the university or college and ask them if they will accept you.

You’ll need to give them your Clearing number.

Once you have found one you are happy with, and they have said they will take you, you can add the course through Track.

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  • How do I add a Clearing choice?

Once you’ve chosen your course and the university or college has said they’ll accept you, click “add clearing choice” on the Track system and fill in the course details.

The university will then confirm your place.

Filling in and submitting the course details means you have definitely accepted the offer, so if the university confirms it, it will show as an acceptance on your “choices” page in Track.

You can only add one choice at a time. You’ll be able to add a different one if the university or college does not confirm your place.

  • How long does Clearing take?

How long it takes depends on how long you want to take to make a choice, and how long it takes for the university or college you choose to confirm your place.

  • How does Clearing work in Scotland?

Clearing works the same way for all students, regardless of where they live in the UK.

  • When do universities get A-level results?

Universities receive prospective students’ grades in the days before A-level results day under strict embargo to allow them to confirm whether applicants have gained the required results.

Students can sign in to Track on from 8am on August 15, where they will be able to see if they’ve been accepted.

  • Is it easy to get into university through Clearing?

There are around 30,000 courses available in Clearing, and each one will have different grade and qualification requirements.

You should think carefully about what you want to do and where you want to study, as well as whether you meet the requirements to be accepted on to the course.

There is now no cap on the number of students a university or college can admit, so many institutions will still be looking for good candidates for their degree courses through Clearing.

Ucas’s expert advisers can answer questions about Clearing in several ways:

  • Twitter @ucasonline (06.00 until 19.00 on A level results day)

  • Facebook ucasonline (06.00 until 19.00 on A level results day)

  • Instagram ucasonline (06.00 until 19.00 on A level results day)

  • 0371 468 0 468 (07.30 until 19.00 on A level results day)

Students can also call the Exam Results Helpline for free, impartial advice on 0800 100 900 from 08.00 on Thursday, August 15.