How to Apply Through Clearing in 2020

If you don’t receive the results you’re looking for on results day, Clearing can open up a bunch of options to help you enrol in a course you love. Here’s everything you need to know on how to apply through Clearing in 2020.

Last year, over 70,000 applicants obtained places through Clearing, so it’s definitely an excellent option for students on results day. Places in Clearing get snapped up quickly, so it’s best to be prepared before you get your results, just in case things don’t go as planned.

Getting educated about the Clearing process early on will mean you’re not stressed or anxious when making decisions on results day. Here, we’ve covered everything you need to know about Clearing, so you can be prepared.

What's in this guide?

Looking for some specific advice? Here's what's covered in this guide.

👉  What is Clearing?
👉  Who can apply through Clearing?
👉  How to prepare for Clearing
👉  How to apply through Clearing
👉  What is Clearing Plus?
👉  Done better than expected? Meet Adjustment


What is Clearing?

Clearing is a process which matches applicants to university places which are not yet filled. It’s an opportunity for students without an offer to find a university place, as well as a second chance for those who don’t want to accept their current offers.

Find out more via UCAS here.


Who can apply through Clearing?

You can apply through Clearing if any of the following applies to you:

  • You’re not holding any offers from universities or colleges you’ve applied to
  • You're applying after June 30th 
  • Your place is not confirmed after exam results are published


How to prepare for Clearing

If you’re expecting to go through Clearing this year, it’s best to have a good idea of the process beforehand so you can be as effective in your search as possible. Preparation is important, as the process can come quick and fast as places are filled up. Here’s how you can prepare for Clearing in 2020.

Make a list of your ideal universities and courses

It’s a good idea to take a look around different universities to assess the market. See which universities offer courses you’d be interested in applying to, and do you research on them. Clearing is a swift process, and you’ll want to be as fast as you can in order to have the best opportunity to secure your perfect course. Have a few courses and universities in mind before results day. Remember, you don’t need to stick to your original subject choice.

It’s a good idea to visit your choices’ campuses before accepting a place through Clearing. It's not always possible to do this before results day, but if you can it’ll stand you in good stead when you enter the process. Otherwise, prepare a visit to the university city at least, just so you can get a feel for the place.

Prepare questions

If there’s a chance you’ll be applying through Clearing this year, then you’ll need to prepare for a conversation with someone from the university you’re applying to. They’ll assess whether you’re a good fit for the course, but this is also an opportunity for you to ask questions to them too. Prepare a list of things you’d like to know about the course. For example, ask:

  • What accommodation is available?
  • What style of teaching is used?
  • What can you do to prepare if you accept?
  • Which job opportunities are available for graduates on the course?

This can help you decide if the course is right for you and saves you from making any decisions too early. 

Gather proof of qualifications

You might need to provide proof of your qualifications when applying through Clearing, so make sure to keep these handy in case you need them.

Talk to a teacher or careers adviser at your school or college

Before making any decisions, make sure to chat to a teacher or careers adviser to hash out your plan. It’s their job to help (literally) and letting them know of your concerns will help you enter Clearing with a fresh mindset. Plus, they’ll have dealt with Clearing for many years, so they’ll know what they’re doing.


How to apply through Clearing

After preparing adequately, you’ll be better equipped when it comes to making an informed decision when going through Clearing. But what is the process like? Here are the steps for going through Clearing in 2020.

1. Check UCAS Track to see if you’ve entered Clearing

If you’re eligible for Clearing, your UCAS application will automatically update. Your Clearing number will be displayed on your UCAS Track dashboard in the purple box on your homepage. You’ll need this when applying through Clearing. 

In order to be eligible, you can’t be holding any offers. This might be because you’ve been unsuccessful, declined any offers, or withdrawn your application.

2. Check the Clearing vacancies on UCAS

Vacancy information will be updated continually. Here, you can contact universities and colleges about vacancies you’d like to apply for.

3. Give them a call

It’s best to call professors with vacancies you’re interested in. Both phone numbers and emails are available on the UCAS website but calling will get you a response much faster. You should prepare to answer questions about why you want to apply to the university, why you’re interested in studying on the course, and why you’re going through Clearing.

4. Confirm your details in Track

Don’t add a Clearing choice unless you have discussed it with the university, as this may delay your application. Only add a choice if you’ve spoken to the university and they’ve agreed to consider you.

5. Accept an offer

If you’re accepted, you’ll receive a confirmation letter in the post. Keep this handy as you’ll need it later. If the university cannot offer you a place, you’ll be able to contact other institutions. If you’ve been offered a few places, you can choose to accept your preferred option.


What is Clearing Plus?

Clearing Plus has been introduced this year to accelerate your chances of finding a course to suit you. Essentially, the scheme works by connecting you with courses that meet your requirements. This removes the overwhelm of having too many vacancies to browse and might even present courses you’d never considered before.

By combining your grades, qualifications and original choices with what universities and colleges have said they’re looking for, Clearing Plus matches you with appropriate courses. It also uses data from previous students in Clearing, including what they went on to study to match your profile to each course. 

See it as an easier way to find courses that interest you. Matches aren’t final, and you’re still free to browse all of the vacancies in Clearing. If you’re eligible, you can find this feature in Track, or find out more about Clearing Plus here.


Done better than expected? Meet Adjustment

Adjustment offers a chance for students who have met and exceeded the conditions for their firm choice to reconsider their options. The process is available for those who want to potentially swap their place for one on a different course or with a different university.

Adjustment is similar to Clearing, but the process is slightly different. It’s available from A Level results day until the start of September. As UCAS states, a lot of competitive courses will be full, but other applicants might have dropped from the course last minute, so it’s worth seeing what’s available.

It’s worth remembering that, if you try Adjustment and you don’t accept any offers, you’ll still keep the course you gained on results day. You’ll only lose your original choice if you confirm that you’d like to go elsewhere. You’ll have five days to use Adjustment in Track after registering.

Here’s what to expect when going through Adjustment on results day.

1. Prepare

See the above section on preparing for Clearing.

2. Register 

Register for Adjustment via Track if you’re interested in changing choices. This won’t ever affect your firm choice until you confirm another offer elsewhere.

3. Contact potential universities

Unlike Clearing, Adjustment has no vacancy list. You’ll need to get in contact with universities directly and ask if they have any vacancies, which is why preparing is beneficial. If you’re interested in Adjustment, you probably have a few universities in mind. Call your first choice first, and don’t be discouraged if they don’t have any availability.

You’ll need your Personal ID to apply, and they’ll check that you’ve exceeded your conditions in order to proceed. You’ll have the chance to discuss vacancies to gather information.

4. Verbally accept an offer

If you find a course suitable for you, you’ll need to verbally confirm that you accept the offer.

You can only accept one offer, so make sure you’re absolutely positive that the course you confirm is for you. Don’t make any decisions under pressure, and you’re more than welcome to give them a call back.

If they’re happy to accept you, your Track screen will be updated, and you’ll be sent a confirmation letter. Alternatively, if you change your mind or exceed your 5-day time limit, you’ll keep your original firm place.

Find out more via UCAS here.

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