What is the university clearing process and how does it work?

If you have had you A-level results and you haven’t got the points or the grades to get into your university course, you will automatically be entered into a process called Clearing – but what is the university clearing process and How does it work?

(If you are in this position you might also want to read my previous blog post getting a good degree course with bad A-levels.)

Clearing is where other university’s courses may be made available to you that you can apply for.

How does the ‘Clearing’ process work? Do you have to do anything?

UCAS has developed an online tracking system.

Basically, as soon as your results come through, now on the UCAS website track system, if you’ve failed to meet the grades that the university or universities you applied require,  you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

This will be indicated on your UCAS tracking status which can be viewed by logging in to the UCAS account he would have created when applying for university places.

What will I see when I login to view my UCAS tracking status?

If you are eligible, when you login to your UCAS account you will see that you have been automatically entered into the clearing process, and also what type of courses are now available to you.

The university courses that you can still go for and that still have places available will be listed.  Search through them to see which you might like to apply for.
You should make an order of preference of the ones that you are interested in, then you will have to contact those universities to confirm that they would be happy to accept you with your A-level point score or grades.

How can I maximise my chances of a place through clearing?

As soon as you have your A-level results, keep a regular eye on the UCAS track system.

If you didn’t get the A-level grades you were hoping for, you can start looking for courses on clearing as soon as they become available. This way you will know where you are heading as soon as possible.

Make sure you get on the phone to the universities – e-mails and the Internet at all well and good, but sometimes it really helps to be able to speak to someone!

If you feel you need advice, you could always contact the UCAS advice line or, alternatively, the Telegraph newspaper has many useful University application and clearing resources.

Most importantly, if you didn’t get the A-level results you required for your first choice university try not to get too downhearted! There are other things you can do, and taking a year out to gain some work experience or think about things isn’t the worst thing that can happen. You can reapply again, resit if you want to, and often it can open new ideas and things that you would not every have dreamt of doing but might be perfect for you. There is more to life than just your grades.

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