While many revel in the joy of securing spots at their chosen universities, others find themselves facing the prospect of missing their target grades, leading to the emergence of UCAS Clearing—a second chance for educational aspirations.
The Clearing process, a mechanism for matching students with available university and college courses, becomes a beacon of hope for those whose results don’t align with their initial offers. Students who’ve surpassed their predicted grades can also use this process to explore alternative options. More than 50,000 students navigate Clearing every year, seeking suitable placements through the platform, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
Clearing officially opens on July 5 and extends until October 17, though select courses might close earlier due to popularity. Notably, a broad spectrum of universities in the UK, including prestigious institutions under the Russell Group, offer courses through Clearing, opening up opportunities for a diverse range of students.
However, some universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, abstain from participating in Clearing. On the contrary, there’s a noticeable shift as even traditionally competitive courses like medicine now find representation in the Clearing landscape. For instance, St George’s, University of London, has consistently offered medical placements via Clearing for six consecutive years.
Clearing allows rejected applicants to reapply for vacancies at institutions that had initially declined them. Those intrigued by available courses can contact admissions teams, to discuss their eligibility and opportunities. Introduced in 2020, Clearing Plus enhances this process by suggesting courses that align with a student’s preferences and qualifications. While expressing interest doesn’t guarantee an offer, it establishes a more streamlined interaction between students and potential institutions.
Things to Keep in Mind
Making decisions through Clearing involves contacting universities or colleges, and sharing personal information like:
- UCAS ID
- Clearing number
- Your Grades/ UCAS tariff points
- Course preferences
A courteous and optimistic demeanour during these conversations is essential. The decision-making process should be thorough, considering input from family, friends, and educators. Once students receive permission from the chosen institution, they can add their Clearing choices one at a time through UCAS Track and subsequent email confirmations.
As A-level results day unfolds, the journey towards higher education continues, fostering both resilience and adaptability among students. UCAS Clearing stands as a testament to the education system’s commitment to ensuring opportunities for all, offering a lifeline to those whose academic paths take unexpected turns.
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