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Clearing 2024: four things you might not know about Clearing and results day

Think you're ready for results day (and potentially, Clearing too)? Here are four 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 early July and can be used by students who, for whatever reason have yet to secure any course offers.

I ended up going through Clearing because I didn't find a course when applying originally. I made my application and within an hour had a phone interview with a member of staff from the university department. I was made an offer within a matter of hours after that. For me it was stress-free and easy to do. Fourth Year English Literature Student | University Of Kent

As soon as Clearing opens, you'll be able to search through available course spaces. However, if you're waiting on exam grades you will need to wait until results day before you can apply for a place through Clearing. Bear in mind that course listings will change throughout Clearing - particularly on A-level results day (which is on Thursday 15 August 2024).

2. Not all universities take part in Clearing

Some universities simply don't take part in Clearing; including the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and a handful of other high-ranking universities.

Likewise, many of the most popular and competitive degrees – medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, for instance  generally don't feature. They're usually oversubscribed already and often have a waiting list already in place.

Read more: preparing your Clearing back-up plan

3. You could still keep your place even with lower grades

Let's say you check your grades on results day and you've missed your firm and insurance offers by one or two grades. Don't immediately assume you're going to be in Clearing - check your Ucas Hub first.

It's very common for universities to still accept students who have only narrowly missed the grades needed for their offer - and you'll be able to see this on Ucas Hub. If you've got a place at either your firm or insurance uni, that university offer will now show up as unconditional.

Your firm or insurance choice university might have taken you anyway, so check your Ucas Hub before you do anything else! If the university has not made a decision yet, ring them and discuss your situation with the admissions tutors. Wendy Hodgkiss | Careers Adviser - Hills Road Sixth Form College

If you are in Clearing - you'll see your Clearing number there instead. You're now able to start phoning up universities that have Clearing places you might like. Take your time with this bit - there's no immediate rush as no-one is able to accept a Clearing offer until 1pm on A-level results day 2024.

4. You might have to work for your Clearing place

When you do call up universities in Clearing, you'll be put through to a member of staff. How this conversation pans out will vary from one university to another - but it's smart to be prepared. They might just do a quick run-through of your grades or you could have a more full-on telephone interview.

Clearing can be easier than it's made out to be. I checked for vacancies as soon as the website became available just after midnight, phoned the university directly at half eight in the morning and was immediately offered a place. It was all finalised on the same day.
Third Year History Student | University Of Lincoln

I had a 30 minute telephone call which included filling out the application form and an informal interview. I received the email confirming my place on the course within two hours of my telephone call. My top tips: treat the telephone call like an interview, be confident, clear and concise and ask questions. First Year Tourism Student | London South Bank University

You can use the time before results day to make sure you're ready for anything that could come up. 

Visit our sister site The Student Room's dedicated Clearing, applications and Ucas forum to find out even more about Clearing and see what other students are saying about their experiences. 

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