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Clearing 2018: five things you didn't know about Clearing and results day

Think you're ready for results day (and potentially, Clearing too)? Here are five facts that might catch you off-guard...

Don't worry if you don't know much about Clearing. Our special advice section is the best place to start...

1. Clearing actually kicks off before results day

The system is best-known and most likely to be used by students who missed out on a place at their chosen universities come results day. But Clearing actually opens in July and can be used by students who, for whatever reason (perhaps they missed the Ucas deadline), have yet to secure any course offers.

I ended up going through Clearing because I didn't find a course when applying originally. I made my application and within an hour had a phone interview with a member of staff from the university department. I was made an offer within a matter of hours after that. For me it was stress-free and easy to do. Fourth Year English Literature Student | University Of Kent
Note that the majority of Clearing places won't become available until after A-level results are published in mid-August but if you do find a course that's listed in Clearing before then, make sure you apply early to avoid the post-exam result rush.

2. Not all universities take part in Clearing

Certain universities simply don't take part in Clearing, including the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and some of the competitive Russell Group universities.

Likewise, many of the most popular and competitive degrees – medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, for instance don't feature; they're usually oversubscribed already and often have a waiting list already in place.

If you’re eligible for Clearing and genuinely think you have something to offer these universities and courses and by that, we mean outstanding exam results, a wealth of extra-curricular evidence and a proven interest in the subject it could be worth approaching them directly. But be ready for rejection or an invitation to apply next year instead.



Watch now: Finding a university in Clearing
 

 

3. Don't assume you've missed out on your place

Come results day, if you've only narrowly missed out on your grades there’s still a chance that you will be considered by the unis of your choice.
Your firm or insurance choice university might have taken you anyway, so check your Ucas Track before you do anything else! If the university has not made a decision yet, ring them and discuss your situation with the admissions tutors. Wendy Hodgkiss | Careers Adviser - Hills Road Sixth Form College
Be prepared to contact them as soon as possible, armed with the strengths and talking points that could swing the decision in your favour. Think about any relevant work experience, awards or achievements that aren’t already on your Ucas application or personal statement.

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    4. Be prepared to work for your Clearing place

    What an admissions officer will discuss with you in regard to available Clearing spaces varies widely from one university to another. They might do a quick run-through of your grades or you could have a full-on telephone interview.

    Clearing can be easier than it's made out to be. I checked for vacancies as soon as the website became available just after midnight, phoned the university directly at half eight in the morning and was immediately offered a place. It was all finalised on the same day.
    Third Year History Student | University Of Lincoln
    I had a 30 minute telephone call which included filling out the application form and an informal interview. I received the email confirming my place on the course within two hours of my telephone call. My top tips: treat the telephone call like an interview, be confident, clear and concise and ask questions. First Year Tourism Student | London South Bank University
    Ensure you're ready for both possibilities and that your answers have been well researched and are ready to impress. 

    5. High achiever? You can also trade up places

    If you get better grades than expected (yes, it does happen) you may be eligible to enter Ucas Adjustment, which works in a similar way to Clearing.

    Your original first choice still has your name on it, of course, but you will be given a few days to contact other universities offering courses with more demanding entry qualifications.

    As always, make sure you research your course choice carefully, particularly if it's not one you've considered before. Higher entry grades doesn't necessarily mean it's a better fit for you.

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