If you are in year 13 and you are not holding any offers – whether you have already applied or whether you are a new applicant – you will now need to consider using Clearing as UCAS Extra closed on 4th July.

What and when is Clearing?

Clearing is a part of the annual process of applying to Uni via UCAS – and by Uni we mean all the universities and colleges offering higher education courses.

If you don’t have any offers, Clearing enables you to search for degree courses which still have places available after the main wave of applications and replies earlier in the year. It is also a way for universities and colleges to fill any spaces on courses left unfilled for the autumn intake. As it is in their interest to do this financially, they will want to do this if at all possible.

Most people are familiar with Clearing as somewhere you turn to on Results Day hoping to secure a place on a course somewhere if you don’t get the right grades to go to your first – or insurance – choice Uni.

However, did you know that Clearing opened on 5th July?

It’s a way to enable late applicants and anyone else without offers, to still apply to a Uni for a course they are interested in. And Clearing then remains open right through Results Day until 23rd October 2018 – although there may not be much left to choose from by then!

Am I automatically eligible for Clearing?

If you are not holding any offers but have applied through UCAS in the 2017-18 application year, paid your application fee and not withdrawn your application, you should be eligible for Clearing.

You will know you because it will show in UCAS Track on your phone. And because you will be allocated a Clearing number in addition to your original Personal ID number. This is important because you will need both of these should you need to call any of the Unis as it allows them to view your UCAS application.

Why would I need to use Clearing?

There are several reasons why you might need to use Clearing. If you are applying to Uni this year, Clearing is relevant unless you want to apply to a Uni – or for a particular course – which isn’t part of the UCAS process.

Clearing is also needed unless you want to study a specific course at a specific Uni and are prepared to defer entry if you don’t get the right grades this year – or if you have an unconditional offer and expect to take that up. For everyone else, Clearing is worth understanding if you –

Applied before 30th June but are not holding any offers – this could be either because you have not received any offers – or because you declined those you received, for example because you changed your mind about a course or Uni after going to an open day.

Want to start applying over the summer – As 30th June was the cut off for any late UCAS applications, you will need to look for places in Clearing if wanting to start applying to Uni now.

Are ‘Unsuccessful’ on Results Day – If you do not get the required grades for your firm or insurance choices, you have the option to turn to Clearing on or after Results Day.

Decline an unconditional offer – If you have been holding an unconditional offer for your firm or – if needed – your insurance choice, you will automatically be in Clearing.

Reject any alternative offers – If you turn down alternative offers from Unis on Results Day, such as an offer to study a different course, you will need Clearing instead if you want to still apply this year.

We’ll cover the Results Day scenarios nearer the time but for now we’ll continue with our overview.

Which Uni and degree course can I apply for?

One at a time – You can apply to any Uni and any course that has vacancies during Clearing (July-Oct), but allow for the fact that via Track, as for UCAS Extra, you can only apply one at a time.

Not all Unis use Clearing – Universities such as Oxford and Cambridge don’t usually enter Clearing as there’s a huge demand for places at these universities anyway. Some of the other top Unis do enter a few of their courses in Clearing and so, when in doubt, look at their website and pick up the phone to check with the Uni direct – although be prepared for an enquiry to potentially turn into a mini-interview.

Check the Uni website or UCAS Search – If you know exactly where you want to study, go direct to the Uni’s own website, but if you are looking more generally, the UCAS Search website is ideal. On there, you’ll find all the Unis with courses which still have vacancies. There is a filter on the left to show courses with spaces available. Other places to look include The Student Room website and Telegraph online.

Contact the Uni first – Also, the Uni is unlikely to consider your application at this stage unless you have spoken to them because places are limited, and they will want to better understand your reasons for being in a position without any offers and how serious you are about your choice of degree course.

And finally, …

If you find a suitable course listed in Clearing now and you aren’t holding any offers, don’t leave it until the August Results Day rush to apply.

There will be demand in Clearing well before Results Day because the exam results in Scotland are published as early as 7th August, and the international Baccalaureate results were published yesterday, 5th July. International students also have exam results on a variety of dates and if they applied via UCAS, they too are eligible to use Clearing.

There’s lots of advice and guidance about Clearing on the UCAS website as well as on specialist higher education websites such as Which? University and The Complete University Guide.

Call UCAS on 0871 468 0468 with any queries about your application, or for general enquiries about the Clearing and application process. But speak to your careers adviser or teacher if you need any advice about which university or course you should apply to. Even if your choices are limited by availability, you are still trying to find the right place to study the right degree course for the next three (or four) years of your life so please always choose carefully.

* Information accurate at the time of going to press, but you are always advised to please check the latest details direct before applying or visiting.

Careersnearhere: It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started!

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