It’s safe to say that A-level exam process in 2020 has been a bit of a rollercoaster. But now that students have been awarded their original teacher-assessed grades, they can start looking ahead to the future. If you didn’t get the grades you needed, want to change course or didn’t receive an offer the first time round, you may want to consider university clearing.
We’re here to break down what university clearing is and how to secure yourself a university place.
What is university clearing?
Clearing gives students a second chance to secure a university place. The system collates available places at institutions across the country. Students are then able to search for a course and university that meet their requirements, and apply for the open place.
However, you can only use clearing if you:
- Didn’t get into your firm or insurance choice universities
- Didn’t receive any offers when you first applied
- Are applying after 30 June
- Don’t want the place you have been offered and are self-releasing into clearing
- Got better grades than predicted and want to change course
Clearing starts on 6 July and closes on 20 October. You need to have received your exam results before applying.
How can I apply through clearing?
If you do find yourself looking for a place through clearing, the onus is on you to find a university prepared to accept you. Here are some top tips on how to secure a place:
- Research in advance. If you think you might need to use the clearing system, aim to get ahead by making a list of possible courses and institutions that meet your needs. That way, when the listings are published you can focus your search.
- Apply as soon as you have your results confirmed. For 2020, all revised grades should have been confirmed by 21 August.
- Log on to UCAS Track regularly. This is where you will find out when you become eligible for a clearing place.
- Check the clearing listings on the UCAS website, but also on university websites.
- Start calling universities to see if they have places available. Try to do this yourself, rather than letting someone else do it on your behalf. Universities are more likely to accept you if you are the one asking. Also, have your UCAS clearing number to hand. You can find this on your homepage on UCAS Track.
Once you have been offered your clearing choice, you need to add this to UCAS Track. Only add a choice if you have permission from the university or college. This can be done by logging on, clicking ‘Add clearing choice’ and then filling in the details. By doing this, you are accepting the offer from the university. They will then confirm, which will show up as an acceptance on your ‘Choices’ page.
What is Clearing Plus?
For 2020, there is a new system called Clearing Plus. This matches you to courses that you may be interested in based on your application and previous choices. However, this is only available to you if you’re unsuccessful with your application or applying for the first time for a place in clearing.
What happens next?
Once you have confirmed your clearing choice, you will need to sort out the other logistics of attending university.
One of the big ones is finance. If you are planning on using a student loan, you will need to apply for this through The Student Loans Company. You may also want to look at setting up a student current account. You may even want to get yourself a student credit card. Check out our top picks for student credit cards.
You will also need to apply for student accommodation or find somewhere to rent if you aren’t able to commute from home. Most universities will have information on their websites about on-campus accommodation or alternative options.
In terms of start dates, most universities in the UK have begun to indicate their plans for students arriving or returning in September and October. Look out for any information from your university.
All that’s left to do then is work hard and enjoy your university years!
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