Clearing

Last updated: 22/07/2021

What is Clearing?

After results day, your offer is finalised - if you get the grades.

If not, well - Plan B.

Some university courses will still have places left as not enough people met the grade requirements. 

These universities will go into Clearing, which is another opportunity for unsuccessful students to apply.

Clearing usually runs between July and September each year and works on a first-come-first-served basis, i.e. no time to waste!

Over 70,000 students got into university via Clearing in 2020. This means that Clearing is a popular choice and can also be competitive, especially for courses like Medicine.

What is Clearing self release?

If you have a firm offer for a course you can decline that place and release yourself into Clearing. 

Only do this if you have verbal confirmation of a place at another university. 

This is useful if you didn't get any offers for medicine but you do have an offer from your fifth choice. 

What is Clearing plus ?

Clearing Plus matches you to suitable courses using an algorithm. If you haven’t got any offers or didn't get into your firm or insurance choice, log on to UCAS Track and click ‘see matches’. 

Once you click on it, you’ll be given a list of 50 courses matched to you. You then choose the ones you’re interested in and then the universities you’ve shown interest in will ring you to either discuss your application or offer you a place.

If medicine or a medicine-related course doesn't come up, you can still try Clearing the normal way.  

Clearing eligibility

Before you apply for Clearing, you must reject any offer(s). 

How to apply for a place through Clearing

  1. Look for available course places in the search bar on the UCAS website
  2. If you manage to find an available place, contact the university and ask them whether they will accept you. 
  3. They might simply ask for your grades, or you might be assessed on a telephone interview.
  4. If the university can offer you a place, you must head to the ‘Your choices’ section on UCAS Track and fill in the details of the course in the ‘add a Clearing choice’ section.
  5. The university will then make you an offer via Track, which you’ll need to confirm

How many choices can I add on UCAS Track?

You can ring as many places as you like, but you can only add one Clearing choice on Track. So make sure you’re happy with the university and the course before making your choice. 

If you’re not happy with the course, then you can ring up other universities in Clearing. There’s no limit to the number of verbal offers that you can receive so keep ringing until you’re happy.

Who to go to when you need help with Clearing?

UCAS call centre - 0371 468 0468

Although they won’t advise you on specific courses, if you’re having any technical difficulties with using UCAS, they’ll be able to provide you with support. It’s likely the staff will be extremely busy during Clearing.

Exam Results Helpline (ERH), 0800 100 900 

The Department of Education works with UCAS and the BBC to run an impartial and insightful helpline. The ERH can advise you if you’re stuck on what to do regarding your exam results and the course options available to you. 

Social Media

Keep an eye on the UCAS Twitter page for the latest updates and to see how other students in your position are feeling. You can also head to the UCAS Facebook page and either post or private message UCAS. 

Even though UCAS do have some extra people to help on the social media pages, you may still not get an answer as quickly as you’d like. Read other people’s comments and posts as well as they may have already got the answer to your question.

Teachers and Careers Advisors

Your teachers and careers advisors are also on hand to help. If you’re feeling stressed or unsure of what to do with the options available, ask them for advice. They’ve seen a lot more results days than you have and probably have some great tips.

Universities which offer Clearing

Universities offering Clearing differ from year to year. Here is a list of some of the universities which offered places for medicine through Clearing in 2020: 

One medical student’s experience of Clearing...

Olivia, who currently studies at the University of Leicester, got into medical school through Clearing. 

Imagine getting four medical offers and one biomedical science offer, and then losing it all on results day.

Olivia wasn’t fully prepared and didn’t know exactly what to do – this wasted valuable time. People were quickly filling up the limited number of places available through Clearing. 

Later in the day, she started to call different universities, but kept hearing that it was too late and all the places had gone. 

Fortunately, the last university that she called, Leicester, was able to offer her an interview. She immediately rushed to revise her medical application and prepare.

She couldn’t believe it when she got her place to study medicine at Leicester.

The lesson is that you should not waste any time, and try to call the universities which offer Clearing, as soon as possible, to improve your chances of getting a place.

Preparing for Clearing before the results day

How to ace your Clearing interview

If you haven't got any offers or you don't think you’ll get the grades, start your interview preparation before results day. Knowing that you’ve got a couple days of interview prep behind you can make all the difference.

It’s likely your interview will be over the phone.

  • Be professional in the way you speak to everyone on the phone, you never know who will take your interview
  • Sit in a quiet place to avoid disturbances

Questions

It’s very likely that you’ll be asked ‘why medicine?’ and ‘why this university?’. Be prepared. Universities want to see that this is a carefully considered and informed decision and not just a last ditch attempt to get into medical school.

Grades 

If you’re grades aren't quite up to scratch you may be asked to explain what went wrong. Be reflective and thoughtful in your approach. Don’t try to blame anyone. If you’ve had any genuine personal circumstances that could have affected your grade, explain them.

Brush up on any notes you have from your interview preparation, and read our interviews guide as a quick refresher.

Dealing with stress during Clearing

Clearing is stressful. It’s normal to panic. Being prepared will help to ease your nerves. 

  • If you're feeling stressed, talk to others and ask for help. 
  • Remember, whatever happens, you’ll be ok.
  • Accept that being on a phone for extended periods is stressful and consider how to mitigate this
  • Make sure you’re hydrated and well rested on results day.
  • Learn some mindfulness techniques

Stress can affect your interview performance, so it’s important to keep yourself calm and composed so that you sound professional during your interview.

You’ve got a place through Clearing - what next?

Congratulations! You’ve done it! 

The next step is to sort out your accommodation. You might not be going to the university you originally intended. Contact the university to see what options are available for accommodation, or read Finding accommodation in Clearing.

Considerations 

  1. You’ll also need to update your student finance to show your new place of study. 
  2. If the city is more expensive, you need to rework your finances.

What to do if you don’t get a place through Clearing

If you don’t get an offer through Clearing, you can:

Consider alternative careers in healthcare including nursing, physiotherapy, psychology, midwifery and public health.

Get Into Medical School

Try Medify's UCAT Course