You may have heard the term ‘clearing’ a lot when you’ve been discussing universities and higher education, but sometimes it can get confusing on what it is and how it works. If you see that you don’t get the A level results you were hoping for, all is not lost! That is where clearing can come in to help.

Clearing is essentially universities’ methods of filling in the slots for their courses after the initial UCAS applications have finished. As we know, life happens, which means that some people withdraw from courses before they begin, or the course simply didn’t have enough people applying for them in the first place. Ultimately, what you need to know is that clearing is a potential progression route for you to get into higher education.

Clearing normally begins in early July where universities will highlight which courses have clearing openings. Clearing becomes especially relevant if you don’t manage to get the A-levels required on a conditional offer.

A key point is that clearing places goes very quick, especially for more competitive universities, so you need to act quick if you have a clear place in mind.

The clearing process may be slightly different so it’s best to have a bank of documents prepared (e.g. UCAS number, Clearing number, A-level/GCSE grades). It’s also worth revisiting your personal statement as it is still your ticket into higher education, so it’s best to know fully what you had initially put down.

Results day is always a stressful time as waiting for the results to come through is especially nerve-wracking. However, we recommend to ​Check your UCAS Hub as early as possible in the morning to see the status of your applications. If you’re eligible for Clearing, it will say so and you’ll be provided with a Clearing number (which you’ll have to give to universities you call).

If you’re eligible for Clearing, you can start phoning universities through their special Clearing phone lines to speak to one of their advisers – or someone from that course’s department – about the course you’re interested in.

So all in all, remember that clearing is another potential way to get in to higher education for a multitude of reasons; if you forgot to apply, had second thoughts about wanting to go, or didn’t quite get the grades required – always try to utilise clearing as it may just be the saving grace in beginning your higher education journey.

You can find out much more information with a step by step guide at A guide to Ucas Clearing: how to find your university place – The Uni Guide