It can be a stressful time leading up to A Level results day 2024, set to be on 15th August 2024, but we are here to help. From understanding what clearing actually is, to how to apply to university through clearing, our guide gives your all the answers.

So, what is clearing?

Clearing happens around A Level results day. This is when universities start to advertise and make available the remaining places they have available across all their courses. This time period allows students who have not secured a place at university yet (for whatever reason) to speak directly to universities or re-open their UCAS applications again.

The clearing process opened on the 5th July 2024 and closes on the 17th October 2024.

Why should you consider clearing?

Now you know what clearing is you probably want to know if you’re able to go through this process yourself. Although the main reason students go through clearing is because they haven’t got the results they wanted, there are also lots of other reasons to go through the clearing process:

  1. You might have decided originally that you didn’t want to go to university but have now decided you want to go
  2. You applied later than the 30th June
  3. You might have achieved higher grades than you were first expecting
  4. You might have achieved lower grades than you were first expecting
  5. You’ve simply changed your mind about either the course you first chose or the university
  6. You might not hold any offers from your original applications

It’s important to understand that clearing doesn’t mean a last resort and should be seen as a second chance.

Should I apply to university with a UCAS account?

Despite what you might believe, you don’t have to have a UCAS account to go through the clearing process to apply to university. This differs from uni to uni, but on the whole for the clearing process you can apply and speak directly to the university of your choice if they have places available.

So in essence what we are trying to say is it isn’t too late to apply to university through clearing, no matter what your circumstances might be. You can do this through your UCAS account if you have one or reach out directly to the university itself!

How to log into clearing?

So if you haven’t got a UCAS account you can register online with UCAS and make an application. UCAS will then send you a Welcome email with details of how to access Track on the UCAS website – this goes live at 8am on A Level results day with your university clearing number which you’ll need to give universities.

Who is eligible to apply to university through clearing?

You can apply to university through clearing if you have no offers. That includes if any offers you might have received by going through UCAS Extra. If you have an offer, but want to apply to university through clearing, then you need to be released from this offer, which can take as long as 10 days.

How does clearing work?

UCAS has a site search tool which will regularly be updated with new places as they become available. So make sure to keep checking this area.

The search tool also gives you contact details for universities and colleges, so once you have your exam results you can reach out to institutes with available vacancies.

How many university choices can I have through clearing?

Clearing works on a one-by-one basis, so you’ll have one choice at a time. You’ll be able to add another if this choice isn’t accepted by the university.

How to contact universities?

We would recommend preparing some questions before getting in contact with the university, such as questions about accommodation or the course. You should also think about why you’re interested in that university as this is something they might ask you.
Applying to university can be stressful, especially if you don’t get the grades you expect. However, clearing can be a great way to gain access to university, and may even offer a surprising change.