UCAS clearing is now open - here's how to find available university courses if you didn't get the grades you wanted

(Photo: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)..(Photo: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)..
(Photo: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)..

It's exam season across the UK, with prospective higher education students receiving their A Levels grades in England.

A lot of youngsters will be opening their envelopes this morning (13 August), despite a new standardised method for students’ to be accurately assessed without exams having to be put in place in light of the coronavirus crisis.

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But not everybody will be getting the results they had hoped for. If that's you, the first step is to not panic.

There are still plenty of avenues to explore and options to take. Clearing is one of those options, available to pupils who missed out on a place at university.

Here's how the system works.

What is clearing?

Clearing is how universities and colleges fill any places they still have on their courses.

Pupils who didn’t receive their desired grades can apply for a place at university or college through clearing between 6 July and 20 October.

The student finds a course with spaces still available and contact universities directly, to see if they will offer them a place.

Who can apply for clearing?

You are eligible to go through the clearing process if you’re applying for university or college after 30 June.

Anyone who didn’t receive any offers or didn’t meet the conditions of offers can also apply through clearing.

Those who have paid for the multiple choice application fee of £25 can also apply.

If you have declined an offer, you are still eligible for clearing.

How do I apply?

If you are not registered on UCAS, you will need to register and make an application and then UCAS will send you a welcome email.

On the UCAS system, the track status will change to 'You are in clearing' or 'Clearing has started.'

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) first recommends discussing any such application with an adviser, whether it be at school, college, centre, or a careers office.

Those applying independently can find more information at ucas.com.

Next, prospective students can search for universities and courses with vacancies using the UCAS search function.

Universities and colleges constantly update their vacancies, so it is worth searching on more than one occasion if your desired course does not appear.

Before you add a Clearing choice in Track, you need to call the uni and give them your Clearing number (this can be found in Track on the UCAS website), and Personal ID, so they can look up your application.

Ask if they'd accept you - they might reconsider you (maybe for the same course) even if you applied to them earlier in the year.

Get informal offers over the phone (perhaps from a variety of universities and colleges) then decide which one you want to accept.

How do I confirm my clearing offer?

Once you have a clearing choice accepted add your choice in Track and and fill in the course details by the date the university or college gave you on the phone.

This counts as you definitely accepting the offer, so if they confirm, it'll show as an acceptance on your 'Choices' page in track.

You can only add one choice at a time, but if the university or college doesn't confirm your place, you'll be able to add another.

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