IF A-level results day didn't go your way, then Ucas clearing, and the new clearing plus services are here to help.

Here's what you need to do if you haven't quite made the grade and don't want to start over.

How does clearing work?

Students are able to use clearing if they missed out on a university place, including if:

  • They are applying after 30 June
  • They didn’t receive any offers (or none that they wanted to accept)
  • They didn’t meet the conditions of their offers
  • They have paid the multiple choice application fee of £25
  • They have declined their confirmed place using the ‘decline my place’ button in Track

The process works by helping students find out what university courses still have places remaining.

Hopefuls are able to search for a course against the subject they are interested in, or the university they want to head to.

Clearing is a way for universities to fill any places they still have empty, while applicants who did not receive an offer have another chance at getting into university.

What is Clearing Plus?

Clearing Plus is a new personalised matching service that matches courses you may be interested in via your application to universities and colleges.

The service is new for 2020 and works by looking at your original choices you applied for, combined with your qualifications and grades.

It then makes suggestions based on courses that universities have already specifically made available for Clearing Plus.

If you are unplaced or have started a new application, a button will appear in Track under "My matches".

This will take you to your top 50 course matches, allowing you to easily indicate that you're "interested" in universities courses.

If they still have vacancies and you meet their entry requirements, they may call you, but the call isn't guaranteed so it's best to get on it as soon as you can and use it alongside the traditional clearing process.

How do I start the clearing process?

People can actually apply through clearing from June 30 – but it is most frequently used after results day by people who have just missed out on their grades.

It remains open until September and the idea is that you identify courses, which still have spaces, that interest you and then you contact them directly.

Unlike applying before Clearing, you’ll only be able to add a choice after you’ve submitted your application.

You still need to register on Track and make an application as you did when you originally applied.

This must be done in the same way and include that dreaded personal statement.

After you've done this you should receive an email from Ucas which will give you a "clearing number" and how to access your new Track account.

What happens once you've started the clearing process?

Once your Track status switches to "You are in clearing" or "clearing has started" then you're good to go on to the next step.

To start with it is wise to contact the university you originally applied to to talk about your situation and see if they are willing to take you on under the circumstances regardless.

At this stage you should also seek some advice from someone you know about other options and have a search for courses that could work better for you.

Go and speak to your school careers adviser, a parent or a friend or relative who's been through the process to get an idea of what you're in for.

If you definitely do not have a place at your original choice then the next thing to do is to check what courses are available that work to your strengths, or that your grades might be better suited to.

Before you add a clearing choice in Track, you need to call the uni and give them your Clearing number (you can find this in Track), and Personal ID, so they can look up your application.

Only add a Clearing choice once you have permission from the university or college.

Is there a list of courses?

Ucas will have an official vacancy list on its website which is updated regularly.

Some positions may become vacant later so KEEP CHECKING.

What can you do next?

Once you've found out the courses and universities you like the look of and have availability pick up the phone and give them a call.

Once you get in contact with someone who can offer you a place give them your clearing number and Personal ID number which will let them see your application online.

Talk to the person about the course and the university and ask if they'll accept you.

Once you've made up your mind which one you want to accept go back to your UCAS profile and click "Add clearing choice".

Then pop in the details of the course by the date they gave you an offer over the phone.

You can only add one at a time but if they aren't confirmed by the uni you will be able to add more.

Once you've done all that and you've had your offer accepted you are good to go.

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