How Clearing works

Clearing can be a confusing and stressful time - but it doesn't need to be. This is our guide to how Clearing works, what you need to do to make a university Clearing application, and what happens once you've applied.

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What is Clearing?

Clearing is an alternative way of applying to university. You may choose to go through Clearing if:

  • You’ve applied through UCAS but haven’t got the results you need to attend the universities you applied for
  • You got better results than expected and you’d like to apply for a different institution - this is called Adjustment
  • You’ve changed your mind about the course you want to study
  • You’re applying for university for the first time and you’ve missed the normal UCAS cycle

What is Adjustment?

Adjustment is for students who received better grades than they expected. For example, if you were predicted AAB and got AAA then you may want to consider applying through Adjustment.

The process of applying is slightly different to applying through Clearing. When you contact a university you need to make it known that you are applying through Adjustment and the university will talk you through the process.

How do I know that I need to go through Clearing?

You can see whether you’ve been offered a place at a university on UCAS Track. Even if you didn’t get the results you needed, you may still have been offered a place. Universities make offers based on a range of factors including your work experience.

Make sure you check UCAS Track on the morning of results day so you know what your situation is. If you haven’t got a place at a university, now is the time to start contacting universities to check whether you’re eligible for a Clearing place.

When does Clearing open?

The official start date for Clearing this year is 6 July, after which point all applications made automatically go into Clearing.

How do I sign up for Clearing?

There’s no need to sign up for Clearing, you can simply start contacting universities. However, some universities will offer a callback service or the ability to register your interest for available courses. That way institutions can start considering your application as soon as you get your exam results.

What grades do I need for Clearing?

Every university will have different grade requirements for their courses in Clearing. These are generally lower than the grades they’d ask for earlier in the year.

To check grade requirements, visit the institution’s website or give them a call. Even if you haven’t got the grades for the course you want to study, there may be other options including integrated degrees that may be available to you.

Can international students apply through Clearing?

Yes, international students are able to apply through Clearing. However, you’ll need to make sure that you meet any English Language Requirements and that you apply in time to be able to fulfil any visa requirements that are necessary for you to study in the UK. If you need advice then you can contact our International office or speak to our Immigration team.

How do I make a Clearing application?

To apply through Clearing, you contact universities directly. Many universities will have a dedicated Clearing hotline you can call to speak to an advisor about your situation. Some universities will also be able to give you advice online, for example over WhatsApp, or on social media. If you already have your results, it may also be possible to submit an application online. 

What do I need to make a Clearing application?

Universities will usually publish a list of available courses on their website – take a look at this before you get in touch. If the course you want isn’t available, or you don’t meet the entry requirements, the person you speak to may be able to suggest other courses you could apply for.

You’ll also need:

  • Your results – you’ll be asked what A-levels you have (or equivalent qualifications) and you may also be asked for your GCSE results
  • Your contact information

Self-release

If you have decided you no longer want to take up your firm choice and would like to take up an offer from elsewhere or use the Clearing Plus service you can decline your offer during Clearing by using the self-release function on UCAS Track. You just need to log into UCAS Track and follow the steps to self-release. Once you have been released into Clearing you have given up your place, if you change your mind you should contact Goldsmiths but we are not able to guarantee that you can get your original choice back.

Clearing Plus

UCAS is introducing a new service to help applicants find suitable courses through Clearing for 2020 entry. Clearing Plus will match you with a number of courses based on your qualifications, grades and your course choices if you have applied earlier in the cycle. You can then tick off the ones you are interested in on Track and those universities can then get in touch with you and potentially offer you a place on a course. Please take a look at the UCAS web pages for more information.

Do I need a personal statement for Clearing?

For most Clearing courses, you’ll be assessed purely on your exam results. However, some courses may require that you submit a portfolio, have a phone interview with an academic, or write a short statement about why you’re interested in studying the course. When you contact a university, they’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to make an application.

Do I need a Clearing reference number?

When your application enters Clearing you’ll be given a Clearing reference number. This is different to your UCAS ID. Most universities will only ask you for your UCAS ID, which they use to verify your results and track your application.

Can I apply for Clearing without a UCAS account?

You can apply through Clearing without a UCAS account. However, if you are made an offer you’ll need to accept it via UCAS. The best thing to do is to set up a UCAS account before you start contacting universities, so you’re ready to accept any offers that come your way.

How long does the Clearing application process take?

The initial phone call should only take around 10 minutes, and you’ll usually get a decision straight away.

Sometimes the university may require some additional information, or have to complete some additional checks before they can offer you a place. In this case, you can usually expect to hear back about your Clearing application within three to four hours.

Can I make an application through Clearing before I know my results?

Universities will need to know your results before they can make you an offer through Clearing. However, you can call a university the moment you have your results if you want to discuss your Clearing options. You are also welcome to get in touch before this to discuss your options based on your predicted results. At Goldsmiths you can get in touch with our Admissions Team:

Email: admissions (@gold.ac.uk)

Can I apply through Clearing if I already have an offer?

You will be able to make an application through Clearing even if you already have an offer to study at a university. However, Goldsmiths will not be able to make you an offer unless you are released from your initial offer, which you do by declining this offer on UCAS Track and releasing yourself into Clearing. 

If I’ve been rejected for a course, can I reapply for the course again in Clearing?

If there are places available, and you meet the new application criteria, then you are able to reapply for the course when it enters Clearing.

I’ve been made an offer through Clearing. What next? 

If you’ve been offered a place through Clearing you’ll need to log on to UCAS Track and accept it. If you've been offered a place on A-level results day, you'll be able to do this after 3pm on the day. 

This confirms that you’ll definitely be attending that institution in September. You’ll usually be sent an email outlining this after you’ve made your application.

Can I still apply for accommodation if I go through Clearing?

This depends on the university you're interested in. Some institutions will have accommodation places available for Clearing students.

At Goldsmiths our team in accommodation will be happy to discuss your options with you, including advice on finding private housing if you don't want to live in halls. 

Students at Goldsmiths also have access to the experts at University of London Housing Services (ULHS) who can assist and support you in looking for private accommodation. The ULHS has a dedicated Housing Advice Team who can also help provide legal advice and check private contracts. Most importantly they have an online housing database of private landlords, letting agents, private halls and other providers of private accommodation who have signed up to their Code of Practice

Please be aware that we often receive a higher number of applications for accommodation than we have places available. This means that it might not always be possible to offer everyone a place in halls of residence for the start of term, in which case some applicants may be placed on our waiting list. Alternatively there are a range of ways that we can support you in finding a place to live by renting privately, as detailed above.