Clearing: your frequently asked questions

16th April 2016 at 11:50
Results day 2016
University clearing is an important phase for A-level students. Here’s how to make sure you’re prepared to make the most of the Ucas clearing process.

What advice should I give my students if they have not received the A-level results they needed?

Stay calm. It is not the end of the world. Every year thousands of students find themselves in this situation and yet go on to have hugely enjoyable and fruitful experiences at university.

How should my students apply through clearing?

Once they have found out that they do not have the results they were hoping for, they will need to complete an application at the Ucas website. They need to do this quickly – if they have not applied to Ucas by 20 September, they will have to approach universities individually to discuss their options.

Is clearing only for people who have received lower exam results than they expected?

Clearing can be for people who receive either lower or higher exam results than they expected, but it is also available for those who missed the 30 June application deadline for deciding to apply. It is also a potential route for those who did not get into their first choice university and who have rejected their insurance offer.

How should my students find out which courses are in clearing?

Ucas Clearing – the direct application route to university courses that still have available places – is already open.

Any students who already have their exam results and do not have any Ucas offers for university courses can apply through clearing from July 2016, while students who do not make the grades for conditional offers can use clearing after A-level results are released. 

There are more than 300 different universities and colleges offering places through clearing 2016. You can view all the ranked universities open for clearing applications here.

When A-level results are released in the UK on Thursday 18 August, students should check the Ucas website for a list of courses that are available. 

Why are places available through clearing?

Universities and colleges may have places available for a number of reasons – it may be a subject for which there is a shortage of applicants or additional places may have been allocated to the course late in the application cycle. The third option is that it might be a new course that has only recently started recruiting.

How many universities can students approach?

They can approach many as they would like but we would recommend taking a more focused approach – they should target those that they think might say yes. It is worth remembering that a university may make an offer for a different course to the one that your student was asking about.

When does clearing finish?

Ucas will process new applications up to 20 September and a list of course vacancies in clearing will be available on the Ucas website until 30 September. The last date for students to add clearing choices, and for unis/colleges to accept applicants, is 23 October 2017. 

Clearing flow chart


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