Have you secured your place for an undergraduate course starting in September 2021? If not, don’t stress. You can still land yourself a place through the Clearing process.
This rapid guide explains everything you need to know about the UCAS Clearing process — including how Clearing works, who can apply through Clearing and the basics of Clearing Plus.
What is Clearing?
OK, first thing’s first: Clearing is part of the UCAS application process. It matches applicants with UK university places that haven’t all been filled up yet.
Clearing is the perfect way to secure your place for September 2021 if you have already applied, but have either not received any offers from UK universities or you’ve declined the offers you did get.
Who can apply through Clearing?
The eligibility requirements for Clearing applicants are super broad. Generally speaking, you’ll be allowed to apply for a space through Clearing if you:
- Didn’t apply before 30 June 2021
- Applied before 30 June 2021 but aren’t holding any offers
- Declined the offers that you’ve received
- Were unable to meet the criteria of your conditional offers
Do you fit into any of these categories? If so, you’ll be able to apply to a UK university using the Clearing process.
How Clearing works
The Clearing process may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s actually pretty straightforward.
Clearing opens every year in July. This year, Clearing officially starts on 5 July 2021. Most universities participating in Clearing will publish a list of all the courses they’ve got available at the start of the Clearing.
If you see a course you like and have already received the qualifications that you need to secure your place, you can apply right away.
That being said, most applicants aren’t in a position to apply right away. The majority of students will normally wait to apply until they receive their exam results in August. This year, both A Level Results Day and SQA Results Day are on the same day: 10 August 2021.
Regardless of whether you need to wait for Results Day, it always pays to start doing your research as soon as Clearing opens.
That means you must search for Clearing vacancies. You can either search for Clearing courses on the UCAS website or on the websites of universities you may be interested in.
In 2020, UCAS launched a brand-new Clearing service that’s called Clearing Plus.
Using Clearing Plus, applicants are matched to courses of interest based on all the information you included on your application. UCAS will use all the data it has on you, your interests and what universities have available to offer suggested courses.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, you can learn more about UCAS Clearing Plus on the UCAS website.
Get in touch with universities and colleges
Found a course that you’d like to pursue? You should call or live chat with the university that does the course as soon as you can. They’ll be able to let you know the entry requirements and whether there are spaces available.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve already got the qualifications you need. It never hurts to call and discuss your options.
Calling on or after Results Day? There are a few things you need to remember.
First, make sure you’ve got your results and your UCAS Personal ID at hand. When you call about a Clearing space, you’ll normally be asked for this information. You’ll then need to explain your situation, what qualifications you’ve got, and why you’d like to study the course you’re applying for.
If you meet the eligibility requirements for the course you’d like to study, the university you’re calling should then be in a position to give you a verbal offer.
We can’t speak for every university, but here at Stirling we always send offer holders a confirmation email on the same day we give them a verbal offer.
How to accept your Clearing offer
After you’ve received a verbal Clearing offer, you must then log onto UCAS Track. There, you’ll need to add the course as your Clearing choice.
Listen up, because this bit is important: you only have 24 hours to confirm your offer through UCAS Track before that offer ends up expiring.
You should see this as an option when you log onto Track. As long as you’re eligible for Clearing (see above), it will be under the ‘Next Steps’ section. If you’re unable to apply through Clearing, you won’t see it.
That’s how to secure your place through Clearing and accept your offer. It’s that simple.
But there are a couple important things you need to remember.
First off, you can only apply for a single course at a time when you’re using UCAS Clearing. If you pick a course, you won’t be allowed to add another course unless you’ve been unsuccessful in getting a place with your first choice.
Please be extra careful when you’re adding courses on Track. Some universities have courses with very similar names — and if you fail to add the exact course you’ve been given a verbal offer for, it’s going to cause problems.
Also, be aware that you will likely need to pay an extra fee to apply through Clearing if you only applied for one choice on your original UCAS application.
Finally, you’ve got to bear in mind that conservatoires don’t use Clearing to fill their vacancies. If this is the route you’d like to go, then you will have to get in touch with the conservatoires you’re interested in or search UCAS to learn more.
Haven’t applied for 2021 entry?
If you’ve missed the 30 June UCAS deadline and you haven’t applied at all for 2021 entry, the Clearing process is a tiny bit different.
To start off, you’ll have to register with UCAS. After registering, you can then make an application and add a Clearing choice after submitting your application.
UCAS should send you a welcome email after you hit submit. This email will give you all the basics on UCAS Track and how everything works.
After that, simply follow the steps we’ve already covered. Find your course, get in touch, then confirm your Clearing course on Track.
Why you belong at Stirling
At the University of Stirling, we offer way more than just world-class qualifications.
Our commitment to employability, excellent support services, five-star teaching (QS World University Rankings 2020) and incredible location at the heart of Scotland have helped us create an international campus environment that’s ranked 1st in the UK and top 5 in the world (UK ISB and Global ISB Benchmark 2018).
Stirling has also been named one of the UK’s top 30 universities (The Guardian University Guide 2021), the safest student city in the UK and top 20 in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2020).
Take the next step: register for Clearing updates
Clearing opens on 5 July 2021. Register for our Clearing support and we’ll deliver all sorts of Clearing tips, tricks and advice to your inbox help you find a university place for September 2021.