Applying for university is exciting and you actually get more than one shot at getting on the course of your dreams! In this guide we’ve worked with the University of Law to take you through Clearing and Extra to help you find your HE heaven.
What is Clearing and how does it work?
In simple terms, Clearing is an opportunity for you to find a course and university that’s right for you if you don’t already have a confirmed place, or if you’re not happy with your place. Although you can’t apply until you have your results, Clearing is open from the 5th July until October so there’s plenty of time for you to make your enquiries and applications. Bear in mind though that different courses start on different dates, so don’t leave it until the last minute!
The places on offer are unfilled vacancies rather than ‘extra seats’, and if you get your place at university through Clearing, you won't be treated any differently in class to students who were accepted the first time round. You may find that there is less availability when it comes to things like accommodation though - check out our guide ‘Results Day and Clearing: What should you do after you accept a place?’ for more information.
If you apply through Clearing, universities will make you offers over the phone, via email, livechat, or social media, then confirm them in writing. While you can chat with as many universities as you like, you can only accept one offer on UCAS Track, so do your research before you start!
What’s the difference between Clearing and Extra?
The aim behind these processes are essentially the same - they’re an opportunity for you to find the course or university that suits you best. There are differences between who is eligible though, what they’re eligible for, and when they can apply:
If you don’t receive any offers at all or your application is rejected, you can approach universities one at a time between 25th February and 4th July to try to secure an offer. You can do this again and again until you are offered a place you’re happy with, so don’t be discouraged if your first choice doesn’t pan out! You don’t have to use this service though - you can wait until Clearing opens on the 5th July, or until after you receive your results.
Clearing follows on from Extra and works as a way for students to find a course if they have not received any offers, if they receive lower grades than they were expecting, if they’ve changed their minds, or if they are applying to university for the first time this year. You can also use Clearing to find a university with a higher offer, if your results were higher than you'd expected. It’s an opportunity for universities to fill any vacancies on their courses, so it works for everyone!
You have until October to apply through Clearing, but the more competitive courses fill up quickly and you need to have accepted an offer before the course start date, so apply sooner rather than later to avoid missing out. To find out more, check out our guide ‘Results Day and Clearing: lower results than expected?’.
How and when do you apply?
The dates for each process are above, but applying asap gives you a much better chance of being offered the place that you want the most or is the most suitable for you. If you apply through Clearing, you’ll be offered a place over the phone, or via email, live chat, or social media - most universities will only deal with the applicant themselves, so be brave and get in touch yourself!
To help you prepare for Clearing, check out our guide ‘Results day and Clearing: are you ready for Clearing?’. You can also use our new Clearing tool to find vacancies on courses you’re interested in from the 5th July. Just like with the UK university shortlisting tool, you’ll be able to filter, rank, and search to find the right course for you. Remember to always check that vacancies are still live by calling the university or checking their website - places in Clearing change so quickly and universities will always be the best place to find the most up to date information.
One final thought...
All of these options are available, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them! If you achieve higher grades than you expected, you don’t have to change your course or university. Equally, if you decide you want to take a year out to work or retake your exams, you don’t have to find a place through Clearing. You can apply to university at any stage of your life, so if you’re not sure, it’s ok to take a break!
Good stuff from elsewhere
University of Law's Clearing page
More information about Clearing direct from the University of Law