What is Clearing, how do I apply for it and when do applications open in 2018?

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135,000 pupils across Scotland have now found out their National 4 and 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exam results. But if your exam results are not what you were hoping for - or if you've had a change of heart about your choice of university - then don’t panic.

Last year a record breaking 437,070 students across the UK enrolled in a university course through the Clearing process. It’s not difficult to apply either and there are still plenty of options open for you if you want to go to university.

If you want to go to university, but dont have an official offer  then Clearing could be for you (Photo: JP)

If you want to go to university, but dont have an official offer then Clearing could be for you (Photo: JP)

If you're unsure about what you need to do and when, here’s your essential guide to applying through Clearing.

What is Clearing?

If you want to go to university, but don’t have an official offer – then Clearing could be for you. Clearing is part of the UCAS university application process and is a way for universities to fill spaces they have left for the coming academic year and for those without an offer to have the chance of a place at university.

When can I apply?

Clearing runs from 5 July to 23 October.

Am I eligible?

You might be suitable for a course through Clearing if:

• You’re flexible about the course and university

• You change their mind on the course and university

• You have reasonable exam results

• You have missed the grades for your chosen course by a narrow margin

You are also eligible for Clearing if:

• You’ve completed a UCAS application

• You don’t get any offers

• Your offers aren’t confirmed

• You’ve turned down all received offers

What do I do now?

If you have now decided to apply for a course through Clearing it’s time start researching.

First of all, make a list of your top five preferred universities and courses. Ask yourself: why do you want to go to your preferred university? What can they offer you? What impact will attending a different university have on you? Will you have to move further away from home, and are you happy to do so?

It’s also important to note that not all universities take part in Clearing though, so if you’ve had your heart set on Cambridge or Oxford think again. Some courses aren’t available through Clearing either such as medicine and veterinary.

There’s still a great choice in courses though and the UCAS’ official Clearing list is regularly updated with new courses.

How do I apply?

If you are applying through Clearing it’s imperative you speak with universities first. Phone lines will be extremely busy today though so be patient. Make sure you have your Clearing number (you can find this in Track) and Personal ID, this will enable the university to look up your application.

Some universities will also insist on mini-interviews so they can learn more about you, your grades and why you want to join the course. These are generally quite informal so have plenty of notes prepared to help you answer their questions. The university will want to know more about your grades and any extracurricular activities, including work experience. If you’ve got any questions regarding the course now is the time to ask too.

At this point you can speak to as many universities as you like and receive multiple verbal offers too.

Once you have decided which offer to pick (you can only pick one at this point) visit the UCAS website and click on ‘Add Clearing Choice’. You will then need to fill in the course details. This will mean you have accepted the offer but you will have to wait until the university accepts your application for it to be officially accepted. Once the university has accepted your application it will appear on the ‘Choices’ page in Track. If the university does not accept your place then you will be able to add in a different university.

You will need to contact the university directly to inform them you have accepted their offer and request any further details about accommodation, etc.

What about funding and my student loan?

If you are applying through Clearing you will most likely need to change your loan application details, or begin a brand new application all together.

Contact the Student Awards Agency Scotland for more information.

I’m still confused!

If you need to talk to someone about your exam results contact My World of Work at www.myworldofwork.co.uk/examresults or phone 0808 100 8000 to speak to an advisor.

The opening hours are: Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 August, 8am-8pm; Thursday 9 to Wednesday 15 August, 9am-5pm.