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Clearing 2021: four things you didn't 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 opened 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.

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
Note that the majority of Clearing places won't have become available until after A-level results are published on 10 August but if you do find a course that's listed in Clearing before then, make sure you apply early to avoid the post-exam result rush.

Get prepared for Clearing. Check out our video with advice from admissions experts

2. Not all universities take part in Clearing

Certain 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 grades

Come 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.
Your firm or insurance choice university might have taken you anyway, so check your Ucas Track 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
Be prepared to contact them as soon as possible, armed with the strengths and talking points that could swing the decision in your favour. Think about any relevant work experience, awards or achievements that aren’t already on your Ucas application or personal statement.

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.

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
Ensure you're ready for both possibilities and that your answers have been well researched and are ready to impress. 

Want to know what to expect from the call? Watch our video.

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