Understanding UCAS Clearing: Your path to Higher Education - CCCG
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Understanding UCAS Clearing: Your path to Higher Education

Not got the grades you need for your chosen university? Don’t panic, here’s our guide to UCAS Clearing and how to find a place.

Understanding UCAS Clearing: Your path to Higher Education

With A Level results day just around the corner, what do you do if you do not get the grades for your preferred university or have second thoughts about where and what you want to study?

This is where the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Clearing comes into play, providing a vital lifeline for students who find themselves without a confirmed place.

What is UCAS Clearing?

UCAS is responsible for managing applications to Higher Education institutions. Clearing is a system that operates within UCAS to help students secure university places if they haven’t received offers or met the conditions of their offers.

When does Clearing take place?

Clearing typically opens in July and continues until late September. However, it is most commonly used on A Level results day when students receive their exam grades.

It’s important to note that Clearing is not just for students who didn’t achieve their expected grades. It is also for those who have changed their minds about their course choices or institutions after receiving their offers.

Who can use Clearing?

UCAS Clearing is available to various groups of students:

  • Those who have applied after the 30 June deadline.
  • Students who didn’t receive any offers or declined all their offers.
  • Individuals who didn’t meet the conditions of their offers.
  • Students who’ve changed their minds about their chosen course or institution.
  • Those who have been released from their firm choice through the UCAS Adjustment process.

How to navigate Clearing

  • Research: Before Clearing begins, research universities and courses that have available spaces. UCAS publishes a list of institutions with vacancies, and many universities also post them on their websites.
  • Contact universities: Once you’ve identified potential courses, contact universities directly to find out about available places. Be prepared to discuss your qualifications, grades and reasons for wanting to join the course.
  • UCAS application: Update your UCAS Track account with the details of the university that’s made you an offer. This is essential for your application to be processed officially.
  • Receive confirmation: If a university decides to offer you a place, they’ll update your UCAS Track account. You’ll have a limited time to accept this offer officially.
  • Confirmation and acceptance: Once you’ve accepted an offer through UCAS, you’re committed to that university. This means you won’t be able to enter Clearing again, so ensure your decision is well considered.

Tips for success

  • Be prepared: Have your personal statement, exam results and UCAS ID ready when contacting universities.
  • Stay informed: UCAS updates its vacancy list regularly, so keep an eye out for new opportunities.
  • Stay positive: Clearing might not have been your initial plan, but it can lead to fantastic opportunities you may not have considered.
  • Act swiftly: Available places can fill up quickly, so don’t delay in contacting universities.

UCAS Clearing helps to ensure Higher Education remains accessible to all students by helping to find a place that suits them. Whether you’re seeking an alternative path or a fresh start, remember that Clearing is there to support and guide you toward your academic aspirations.

CCCG offers a number of Higher Education courses. Find out more and apply here.

More information about university and careers advice at CCCG’s colleges can be found here.


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