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In 2019, there were 50,050 applicants across the UK placed on degree courses through the Clearing process. This catered for more than a tenth (495,620 total) of all placed applicants 28 days after A level results day.

Although the number is certainly an impressive one, there are still certain people who think that Clearing represents somewhat of a lesser entrance into university — these opinions couldn’t be further from the truth. Here, we take a look at the myths around the Clearing process and where people have gone wrong in their judgements.

Clearing – what is it?

Clearing is an admittance scheme that takes place between the months of July and September. The purpose of Clearing is to offer another opportunity for those who haven’t applied or applied for the wrong course to do so. But who can apply via Clearing? If you happen to fall under any of the following descriptions, then you can apply for Clearing:

  • You didn’t receive the grades you needed for your selected course, therefore your offer was not confirmed
  • You didn’t receive any offer(s)
  • You declined a changed entry point, a changed course of study, or a changed start date
  • Your application was not received by UCAS until after the 30th June, as by this stage they will not have been able to submit it to higher education institutions on your behalf
  • You had paid the full application fee for a course which has either been declined or unsuccessful
  • You either didn’t respond by the due date or declined your offer(s)

Myth: There are no good courses on Clearing

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Speak to anyone who has been accepted to their university degree through Clearing and they will tell you that this is simply untrue.

The reason many behind fall into the trap of thinking that Clearing only has the courses that nobody wants is because they panic, flustered by circumstance, and jump at the first course which flutters its eyelashes at them.

Take time to decide what universities and courses that you might consider — it’s fine to make this list slightly long and ambitious, cutting it down as you go. Most top universities do, in fact, have Clearing courses on offer and in good courses too. The only thing is, with more popular universities, you may find that the courses get snapped up pretty quick!

Whatever you do, don’t rush and dive feet first into a course you’re unsure about just because it promises a place at university — remember this will be three, if not four or more years of your life.

If you’ve done your research, planned in advance, and jumped on Clearing as soon as possible, chances are you’ll find all those courses that, quite frankly, you never expected to see on Clearing.

Clearing matches students to courses which are not filled — the credibility of the course isn’t diminished in anyway because it features in the Clearing process — you could literally find anything on there!

Edward Brooks is a recent graduate of Northumbria University. After completing his first year at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, Edward began to look at alternative locations for the remainder of his studies. He wanted to be closer to his family in Newcastle. Unfortunately, because he had missed the cut off for UCAS applications, he would have had to wait for another year if he was going to apply using the standard procedure.

Thanks to the university Clearing process, Edward was able to apply to Northumbria. He details how his process was utterly seamless: “I was a bit stressed at first. I’d heard that Clearing can be really confusing and time consuming, but I got in touch and everything was pretty simplistic — I was on the right course for me, in the right location within a few weeks”.

A-Level aftermath

It is often perceived that Clearing is only for people who have failed their A-levels or not got the grades they needed to get onto their desired course. While it does indeed cater to this situation, it is by no means limited to it.

For those who do come through the Clearing process, it isn’t something to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it’s something to embrace — you’ve made it! Once the first day of your university degree begins, the start of a new chapter in your life begin.

Similarly, Clearing also offers an opportunity for students who didn’t know what course it was they should have applied for during the chaos that was their A-level year.

It is often a daunting time in life and in some cases it can be one where you pick a degree and a university simply to tick something off from the list, not necessarily considering if it’s right for you. Once summer has passed and you’ve got your results, you might have more clarity and be more confident about what you want to apply for — enter Clearing!

Know the system

Understanding what how the Clearing process works will play a big part in whether or not it helps you. This is why it is important to spend time prior to results day familiarising yourself.

As well as understanding what you may need to do when Clearing comes, it’s also important to know what you need when it comes to calling the universities. UCAS has pieced together a checklist of things you should have had at the ready:

  • Your UCAS number
  • The grades of your A Levels
  • Your UCAS points
  • Your CV and personal statement
  • Your Clearing number

Get yourself one step ahead of the game by downloading the UCAS Clearing app.

Clearing is not something to fear, it could be the way to success for life!

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