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Everything you need to know about: Clearing

RESULTS DAY: UCAS outline the main facts and de mystifies the ‘clearing’ process

TODAY IS the day when students find out if their scholastic efforts throughout the academic year have paid off.

For some this day brings relief and they look forward to claiming their chosen place at University, but for others it’s a time of uncertainty and the term ‘Clearing’ becomes a much used and sometimes misunderstood part of their lives.

In this article the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) outlines the main facts and de mystifies the ‘clearing’ process.

How to use Clearing: Five steps to follow on A-Level results day

1. Find out if you’ve got a place at university or college by signing in to Track, from 8am. If you haven’t, Track will give you a Clearing number to use. If you’ve been accepted by your insurance choice and decide you don’t want the place, you’ll need to contact them to ask to be released into Clearing.

2. If you’re certain you want to go to university this year, there will be plenty of courses available, in a huge range of subjects, at universities and colleges right across the UK. Start your search on and draw up a shortlist of options. If there’s a specific university or college you really want to go to, check out what other courses they’re offering.

3. Ask for advice from those who know you, or speak to a UCAS adviser on Twitter @ucas_advisers or Facebook. Careers advisers are also available to talk to on the Department for Education’s Exam Results Helpline – 0808 100 8000. has plenty of information, including videos and case studies.

4. Phone the admissions teams at the universities and colleges on your shortlist. You’ll need to tell them your qualifications, grades, and Clearing number, and they’ll ask why you’re interested in their course. You’ll have questions for them too – now is the time to gather all the information you need about the course, the university or college, and accommodation.

5. Consider your offers carefully. If you can, try to visit the university or college before you make a decision. Many have open days over the coming weekend. Once you’ve made up your mind, sign in to Track and add your Clearing choice. You can do this from 3pm on A-Level results day, and many students are placed by the following Monday.

Not sure? Take a rain check

If you’re not sure what you want to do, take a look at alternatives to university on the UCAS website, or speak to an experienced careers adviser using the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000. They’ll be able to offer you personal support, including advice about resits, apprenticeship opportunities, volunteering, or employment.

I’ve done better than expected. Can I change my decision?

If you have done better than you expected, you may want to reassess your decision and think about other options.

UCAS provides an Adjustment service, which allows you to hang on to your place, while also looking at other universities and courses, for five days. Before you change your mind, make sure you think about the practical things like accommodation and travel, as well as the course and university. There’s more information on

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