Clearing 2021: five things you didn't know about Clearing and results day
Think you're ready for results day (and potentially, Clearing too)? Here are five facts that might catch you off-guard...
Don't worry if you don't know much about Clearing. Our special advice section is the best place to start...
1. Clearing actually kicks off before results day
The system is best-known – and most likely to be used – by students who missed out on a place at their chosen universities come results day. But Clearing actually opens in July and can be used by students who, for whatever reason (perhaps they missed the Ucas deadline), have yet to secure any course offers.
Get prepared for Clearing. Check out our video with advice from admissions experts
2. Not all universities take part in ClearingCertain universities simply don't take part in Clearing, including the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and some of the competitive Russell Group universities.
Likewise, many of the most popular and competitive degrees – medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, for instance – don't feature; they're usually oversubscribed already and often have a waiting list already in place.
If you’re eligible for Clearing and genuinely think you have something to offer these universities and courses – and by that, we mean outstanding exam results, a wealth of extra-curricular evidence and a proven interest in the subject – it could be worth approaching them directly. But be ready for rejection or an invitation to apply next year instead.
3. You could still keep your place even with lower gradesCome results day, if you've only narrowly missed out on your grades there’s still a chance that you will be considered by the unis of your choice.
4. You might have to work for your Clearing place
What an admissions officer will discuss with you in regard to available Clearing spaces varies widely from one university to another. They might do a quick run-through of your grades or you could have a full-on telephone interview.
5. High achiever? You can also trade up placesIf you get better grades than expected (yes, it does happen) you may be eligible to enter Ucas Adjustment, which works in a similar way to Clearing.
Your original first choice still has your name on it, of course, but you will be given a few days to contact other universities offering courses with more demanding entry qualifications.
As always, make sure you research your course choice carefully, particularly if it's not one you've considered before. Higher entry grades doesn't necessarily mean it's a better fit for you.