Be available on A-Level Results Day

If possible, do not be on holiday or at work, keep the day free to contact universities. Make sure that you have access to the online information that you’ll need to check course availability and Helpline numbers as well as to be able to get onto the UCAS site. You need to be available to speak to admissions tutors and make decisions yourself – your parents, teachers and friends cannot do it for you. If you have to work that day or are away travelling / on holiday, it’s worth giving your parent/guardian nominated access to your UCAS application details so that they can speak on your behalf. 

Find out if you are eligible for Clearing

You may not have got the grades or points score that you needed, but your Firm or Insurance choice university may still decide to accept you onto the course. Contact them first and do not just assume that you are in Clearing.

If they decide not to accept you, or if you are not holding offers at any institution, you are eligible to apply for a place through Clearing. Applicants making applications after 30th June are automatically entered into Clearing and are also eligible.

You’ll know that you are in Clearing if your UCAS application states ‘You are in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’. 

If you are in Clearing, you must contact universities directly to enquire about available places on their courses and whether or not you meet their requirements.

Be prepared

Have your UCAS application number, Clearing number, course codes, your A Level results and relevant GCSE results to hand as the staff on the Helpline will ask for these. We will also need your contact details and e-mail address in order to send you your Clearing offer in writing.

Get advice

When you pick up your results, talk to your teachers, tutors or careers advisors at school or college and speak to staff from the universities, the current students, friends and family. They may be able to suggest courses and universities that you would never have considered.

Find out which courses have places available

On results day the UCAS website will have a list of courses with places available through Clearing. The UCAS vacancies list will be continually updated and the Daily Telegraph will publish an updated list daily, removing courses that are full, or adding courses which may initially have been full, but later have vacancies.

Prioritise what’s more important to you when selecting the course

Just like you did with your original choices, consider, for example, course content and structure, academic facilities, social life, distance from home, sports facilities and living costs. You may be relieved to be offered anything, but you still need to choose the right course at the right university for you.

You do not have to go for the same subject you initially applied for, but if you do go for something different, the university may still expect you to have specific A Level subjects. If your preferred choice of course is full, look at related alternatives, for example, for Medicine consider Medical Science or Biomedical Science.

How do I add a Clearing choice?

Once you’ve decided on which Clearing offer you want to accept, you need to go to the ‘Your choices’ section of your UCAS application and click on ‘Add Clearing choice’. You should only add a university as your Clearing choice if you’ve already spoken to them and they’ve made it clear that they’re able to offer you a Clearing place on the course discussed. 

If that’s the case and you know which course and university you want to enter through Clearing, then click on ‘Add Clearing choice’. You’ll then need to add details of the course (make sure you have the correct title and course code) as well as the University’s name and UCAS code. 

Remember, you can only add one Clearing choice at a time and adding a specific course and university counts as you definitely accepting that Clearing offer. So, if the university then confirm the place, it’ll show as an acceptance on your ‘choices’ page in your UCAS application.

However, if the university doesn’t confirm that Clearing place then you’ll be able to add another Clearing choice. 

Be patient - and take your time

Universities have a lot of expert staff waiting to answer your call, but the phone lines can be busy. You may also have to wait to be put through to the relevant department, asked to call later, or the university may ring you back. Don’t worry, Clearing lasts for far more than one day so you do have time to make up your mind and find a course.

Don’t think you necessarily have to accept the first Clearing offer you’re made. Most universities will be happy for you to take the time to make sure that the course and the university are right for you. However, do not rush into a decision for this reason, you need to be sure that the course and university suit you.

Visit the University

Most universities, like Bangor University, will organise events for Clearing applicants which you should attend so that you can have a look around the university and area, collect more information about the course, speak to staff and students and decide whether or not you would be happy studying at that institution.

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