What is Clearing?
The Clearing system refers to the process of allocating unplaced students to UK universities and courses.
Students can also try to get into a ‘higher ranking’ university if they have over-acheived in terms of the grades required by their ‘firm’ offer, through the UCAS adjustment process.
Places become available once examination results have been released to students on Thursday August 18th, although the Clearing system runs from July to September.
Clearing differs from the normal UCAS application process in that you contact universities directly.
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How does Clearing work?
If you have been declined by both your first choice (firm) and your insurance and you still wish to get into a university this year then Clearing is an option for you, but you may need to be flexible about your subject or location. If you have failed to achieve your offers, then Clearing system opens-up to you.
If places are available in your preferred subject, then you only need to be flexible in terms of where you study. Similarly, if your heart is set on a particular university, then places may be available in different subjects. However, you need to ensure that your A Level grades (or points) will be accepted on your new course.
You will know you are in Clearing if your Track status, which is updated on results day, says ‘You are in Clearing‘ or ‘Clearing has started‘. If Track does not indicate this it is still possible that your firm or insurance university are still considering you, so you need to contact them to check your position. If they are still considering you then get chatting and show you are keen and have the skills and qualities they are looking for.
What should I do?
Clearing is a ‘first come first served’ system, so you need to act quickly. The Clearing list is constantly updated so you do need to be online and have your phone with you. Make sure that you make your phone calls and not your parents or teachers. The key advice from UCAS is to keep checking as the system is updated constantly.
When you contact a university make sure you have your Clearing number with you along with your Personal ID number.
The aim of your phone calls is to get as many informal offers as you can. You also need to ask for time to consider their offer, and when their deadline for an answer is.
Make sure you know something about the course and university before you call as this puts you in a better position than simply calling ‘cold’. You are likely to be asked why you are interested in a particular course, so please make sure you have done some research on the course and the university – you have to ‘sell’ yourself.
Also, read through your Personal Statement to focus on your strengths and give yourself positive thoughts.
Although you are in a competitive market and need to make a quick decision this does not mean that you have to accept the first offer you are given.
If you get offers make a note of the Course Code and Institution Code.
Gather your options, talk to teachers, friends, family and even visit the institution – many hold special open-days for Clearing. Without any doubt, visiting the institution is the best thing to do.
Once you have made your choice and the University has offered you a place, add the course to the add Clearing course in Track. You must only do this if you are accepting the place.
You can also register for the Direct Contact service, which is an optional service. Once you sign up, universities and colleges can contact you from 18 August until 9 September 2016, if they have places on courses that might be suitable for you.
If you do not make the grade this time around you could also consider resitting your ‘A’ Levels, and re-applying next year. You need to consider your priorities and ambitions, and accepting a Clearing place at a university you do not really want to go to, or to study on a course you are not suited for may not be the best solution for you in the long run.
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