How the Clearing process works

Clearing may seem like a confusing process, but in reality the process is really quite simple if you understand what you need to do and by when. Clearing is traditionally seen as an opportunity to find a place at university if you haven’t performed as well as expected. However clearing should be seen as an opportunity if you are thinking of changing your mind on your university choice or perform better than expected.

We’ve created a simple ten step process to help you understand clearing:


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Step 1: Check your Eligibility

If you’ve applied for a course via the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), you’ll be eligible for their Clearing process if:

  • You’re applying after 30 June
  • You didn’t receive or accept any offers for a course from a university.
  • You didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
  • You want a place at a university but haven’t yet applied.
  • You’ve declined your firm place because you changed your mind about your chosen course or location.
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Step 2: Build your application

If you haven't already applied, you need to register and make an application for 2020 entry. Once you've sent your application and received your welcome email from UCAS, you can see how it's progressing by signing in to Track, the online application system. If you didn’t meet expectations and you fulfil the eligibility requirements after A-level Results Day on August 13 or SQA Results Day in Scotland on August 4, your application will be automatically entered into Clearing and your Clearing number will be displayed in Track.You can also apply for Clearing if you changed your mind after Results Day and decide that you now want to attend university.

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Step 3: Monitor the Clearing vacancies on UCAS

This summer, Clearing vacancies - otherwise known as course openings - will go live on the UCAS website. You will be able to monitor vacancy updates via the website, as well as browse potential courses and universities you plan to apply for before these vacancies go live.

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Step 4: Note down the Clearing contact details

Once you have your exam results, you can contact your chosen universities about vacancies. Contact numbers for Clearing will be available via the UCAS search tool and on university 

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Step 5: Prepare questions and answers

It’s best to prepare any questions you have about the process, such as securing accommodation or any key dates, before getting through to the university’s Clearing advisor. Have your results ready and practice engaging answers in response to potential questions they might ask, such as: Why are you interested in applying to our course?

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Step 6: The consideration stage

If you receive verbal permission to be considered for the course via Clearing, you can then add the Clearing choice in Track. Be sure to fill in the course details by the date the university or college gave you on the phone. They will then decide if they can offer you a place through Clearing and will let UCAS know.

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Step 7: Decisions will be displayed in Track

If you’re accepted, UCAS will send you an email to tell you that the status has changed and that you need to check Track. You can then view and print your acceptance letter - a handy document to have when opening a student bank account. However, if the university or college can’t offer you a place. You can still contact other education providers to see whether there are other vacancies of interest.

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Step 8: Don't Forget the time limit

It’s true that there’s no limit to how many universities you can contact or hold verbal offers with via Clearing, but please remember that each one will have a deadline and you’ll only be able to accept one through UCAS. Also, note that your accommodation choices may be limited due to the rush of Clearing and previous applications.

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Step 9: Consider Clearing Plus

New from UCAS this year is Clearing Plus.

If you find yourself in Clearing this year, they’ll personally match you to courses you may be interested in based on your UCAS profile.

If you’re unplaced or have started a new application, a button will appear in Track – ‘My matches’. This will take you to your top 50 course matches. You’ll then be able to tell universities and colleges you’re ‘interested’ in their courses

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Step 10: Set your Clearing goals now

Clearing choices are yours to make. If you already know which university you want to choose in the UCAS Clearing process, don’t be afraid to reach out and learn more about your potential university by booking a virtual campus tour, speaking to a current student or member of staff.


And if you like the sound of UEA, visit our course pages or find out more from our current students via our Ask a Student platform.


You can also contact UEA via or telephone +44 (0)1603 591515 for further information.