Self-release into Clearing through the 'decline my place' button on Track Watch

Charlotte's Web
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For the first time, UCAS is allowing applicants to self-release themselves into Clearing through a 'decline my place' button.

In previous years, applicants who no longer wished to take up their unconditional offer and wanted to apply elsewhere would need to contact the university they had been placed with and ask to be placed into clearing. The problem with this was that universities tend to be pretty busy on Results Day, and weren’t prioritising these students - naturally, they gave more time and attention to the ones who actually wanted to go there. This resulted in huge amounts of stress for students, as their new university would often only agree to hold their place for a limited amount of time.

To tackle this, UCAS is now allowing applicants to release themselves in to Clearing using a 'decline my place' button on their Track. We’ve compiled a few FAQs to help you understand what self-release is, how to do it and what happens if things go wrong.

You can also take a look at our full Clearing and Adjustment FAQs for 2019 here:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6018120


Declining your unconditional firm place - what is it and how does it work?
Essentially, this button allows an applicant who holds an unconditional offer to place themselves into Clearing. This declines their place and allows them to apply to other universities which have vacancies. This can be done via UCAS Track and doesn’t require the applicant to contact the university they want to be released from.


Who can decline their place? Is it open to everyone?
"Decline my place" is open to any applicant who has been placed with a university and has an unconditional offer. You might have an unconditional offer early, if you already had your results, or, more commonly, your offer will turn unconditional on Results Day, once you meet the conditions set out in your offer.

If you are eligible, you will see a button on your UCAS Track stating ‘Decline my place’ from 5th July.


When should I release myself into Clearing?
You can press the button from any time when you have an unconditional offer, however you should only actually press the "decline my place" button once you have a verbal offer from a university. Of course, you should only release once you are satisfied you are completely sure you do not wish to attend the university you have been placed with.


What are the benefits of releasing yourself into Clearing?
Firstly, it’s a lot quicker than the old method. It can be done in a matter of minutes. You’re also totally in control - you aren’t relying on administrative staff from a university. It’s also hoped that this method will reduce a lot of stress associated with Clearing.


What are the risks?
Once you are placed in Clearing, your place at your original university becomes available to others. There is no easy way to reverse this and it may mean you lose your place.

Additionally, if you place yourself in Clearing and subsequently fail to secure a place at a new university (for example, if you don’t find anything you like the look of or if universities aren’t willing to offer you a place) then you may find yourself without any offers and facing the possibility of needing to reapply.

This therefore isn’t a decision you should take lightly.


Can I press the "decline my place" button by accident?
Potentially, but UCAS makes it very hard to do so. In addition to clicking the ‘decline my place’ button, you would also need to complete a drop-down questionnaire. You shouldn’t proceed with the self-release unless you are 100% sure you do not want to attend the university you have been placed with.


I pressed the "decline my place" button and now I wish I hadn’t. What do I do?
You will need to phone up your original university which you were placed with as soon as possible. Once you have been placed in clearing, your spot at that university becomes up for grabs. You need to contact the university to explain you made a mistake and that you still want the place. They will then instruct you about next steps.

It is possible that the university will already have filled your place, particularly if there is a time gap between your self-release and you contacting the university. If this is the case, you may need to look for another place elsewhere.



Have any questions about this functionality that aren’t answered here? Need more information before making a decision? Post below and one of our UCAS trained Applications and Clearing Advisers will do their best to help!

We’d also recommend that you take a look at our Clearing and Adjustment FAQs which you can find here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6018120
Last edited by Puddles the Monkey; 1 week ago
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PQ
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One thing ucas hasn’t clarified is whether this functionality will be available on Track on the morning of A level results or whether it will only be available at 3pm when Track becomes fully functional.
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by PQ)
One thing ucas hasn’t clarified is whether this functionality will be available on Track on the morning of A level results or whether it will only be available at 3pm when Track becomes fully functional.
Will add that to my list of questions to ask at UCAS training next weekend

I would assume it will be available on the morning to allow people time to contact universities with their clearing number and then add choices from 3pm but it will be interesting to see what UCAS have to say.
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
I would assume it will be available on the morning to allow people time to contact universities with their clearing number and then add choices from 3pm but it will be interesting to see what UCAS have to say.
You can 'contact Unis' without a Clearing number.

They can't confirm your place without you actually being 'in Clearing' but common sense says 'check that what you want actually is available and you have got the grades they want' before you reject any existing place.

The only advantage of the new do-it-your Release into Clearing' is speed - previously you had to wait for the Uni to do this - and understandably since they have better things to do (like filling courses with people who DO want to go to their Uni) they often didnt do the 'release' for hours. The Uni themselves have asked for this facility - to stop the endless nagging phone calls from applicants.

But PLEASE. Think very, very carefully before you use this facility.

Make VERY certain you really do have a course place to go to first.

Do not assume that you can just press this button and every course at every Uni will be instantly available to you in Clearing - it won't be.

Once you press this button, that's it, there is no way back.
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returnmigrant
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From UCAS :

If an applicant makes a mistake, we ask them to contact the provider immediately, but this must be done within one working day of the applicant releasing themselves (and there is no guarantee that any provider will want to reverse the decision). It will not be possible if the applicant has subsequently added a Clearing choice.

So - make VERY certain that this really is what you want to do.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by PQ)
One thing ucas hasn’t clarified is whether this functionality will be available on Track on the morning of A level results or whether it will only be available at 3pm when Track becomes fully functional.
From today, it sounds like it will be available as soon as an applicant has a confirmed place- so at 8am an applicant could in theory decline their place.
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PQ
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
From today, it sounds like it will be available as soon as an applicant has a confirmed place- so at 8am an applicant could in theory decline their place.
The problem is Track on results morning has limited functionality. Applicants with changed course offers can’t accept them, applicants in clearing can’t add choices, the adjustment button doesn’t appear until later and applicants who want to withdraw don’t have that option available. Those functions only get switched back on on results day at 3pm. I would be surprised if ucas had just one function available on Track to decline a UF place but not the other functionality. Especially given that they limit functionality to cope with high demand - so having something new and likely to be glitchy.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by PQ)
The problem is Track on results morning has limited functionality. Applicants with changed course offers can’t accept them, applicants in clearing can’t add choices, the adjustment button doesn’t appear until later and applicants who want to withdraw don’t have that option available. Those functions only get switched back on on results day at 3pm. I would be surprised if ucas had just one function available on Track to decline a UF place but not the other functionality. Especially given that they limit functionality to cope with high demand - so having something new and likely to be glitchy.
Well, that's what we were told today ¯\_(ツ)_/¯- he said it at least twice, and seemed pretty sure about it. Maybe Puddles the Monkey could check the slides to confirm?

I agree, it seems like an odd decision though!
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Isinglass
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Am I correct in thinking that this process can be used by those who hold Unconditional if firmed offers?
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by Isinglass)
Am I correct in thinking that this process can be used by those who hold Unconditional if firmed offers?
Yes, but your UCAS status will need to have changed from 'CF' to 'UF' before you can dump that offer and enter Clearing.
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Isinglass
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Yes, but your UCAS status will need to have changed from 'CF' to 'UF' before you can dump that offer and enter Clearing.
Thanks - actually asking re my daughter's situation. She genuinely likes the course and university she has firmed on that basis, but if she does get the specific A grade needed out of the ABB offer she had originally from another university, I can see that she might be tempted. That course is currently in Clearing.
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returnmigrant
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Btw, lots of Unis are offering 'Clearing Open Days' this year - good chance to look around/ask questions instead of picking a Uni 'blind'. Listed on the UCAS Open Day search : https://www.ucas.com/ucas/events/find/type/open-day
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Isinglass)
Thanks - actually asking re my daughter's situation. She genuinely likes the course and university she has firmed on that basis, but if she does get the specific A grade needed out of the ABB offer she had originally from another university, I can see that she might be tempted. That course is currently in Clearing.
So she needs to phone the uni that interests her the most when she gets her grades and if she gets the right ABB, she might be able to switch unis at that stage. Although.....she also needs to take into account the possible stresses of trying to get accomodation on campus, which is not normally guaranteed for people who enter a uni via Clearing.
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Isinglass
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(Original post by harrysbar)
So she needs to phone the uni that interests her the most when she gets her grades and if she gets the right ABB, she might be able to switch unis at that stage. Although.....she also needs to take into account the possible stresses of trying to get accomodation on campus, which is not normally guaranteed for people who enter a uni via Clearing.
Yes, indeed - which is one of the reasons I haven't yet enquired of her as to whether she has noticed this new facility, which at least takes one stressor out of the equation, but doesn't do everything.
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by Isinglass)
Yes, indeed - which is one of the reasons I haven't yet enquired of her as to whether she has noticed this new facility, which at least takes one stressor out of the equation, but doesn't do everything.
Its usually 'better' to take a gap-year and reapply with 5 choices.
She's have the opportunity to think clearly about what she wants to do, go to Open Days etc, and make a more informed choice.
There is a distinct correlation between dropping-out and Clearing - panicky decisions made without much real thought, or for all the wrong reasons.
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Its usually 'better' to take a gap-year and reapply with 5 choices.
She's have the opportunity to think clearly about what she wants to do, go to Open Days etc, and make a more informed choice.
There is a distinct correlation between dropping-out and Clearing - panicky decisions made without much real thought, or for all the wrong reasons.
Everybody is different and it's incredibly hard to know what is "better" for any one person. A gap year is a choice but it can be an expensive one, and it's a choice I wouldn't recommend on making based only on results.
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(Original post by Isinglass)
Yes, indeed - which is one of the reasons I haven't yet enquired of her as to whether she has noticed this new facility, which at least takes one stressor out of the equation, but doesn't do everything.
(Original post by Isinglass)
Thanks - actually asking re my daughter's situation. She genuinely likes the course and university she has firmed on that basis, but if she does get the specific A grade needed out of the ABB offer she had originally from another university, I can see that she might be tempted. That course is currently in Clearing.
Is her firm offer higher or lower than the other offer (or the same)?

If she meets all her offer grades and exceeds at least one of them then she could go into adjustment.

E.g. if her firm offer was BBB and she got ABB, then she'd be able to go into adjustment, which would lock down her firm uni and keep that offer. She could then ring up the other university, see if they'll take her, and if they will then they can pick her up through adjustment. This would save her entering clearing and losing the place she already had with her firm choice.

Apologies if I'm reading this wrong but what you're describing sounds like she needs higher grades for this other uni, which is what adjustment is aimed at.
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Isinglass
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She has accepted an Unconditional if Firmed offer (for which the original offer was AAB, no specific requirement re subjects, so a B in the particular one she was worried about would have been okay), therefore not eligible for Adjustment, as no offer to exceed. She didn't apply anywhere that she hadn't visited and liked, so this was a strong contender anyway.

The other offer was ABB, but with a specific requirement of an A in the subject of concern.

(Interestingly, although UCAS appears to have the course in Clearing, searching via the university website suggests that it isn't. As this is the only course that might tempt her into Clearing, the dilemma may never become reality anyway).
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She-Ra
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(Original post by Isinglass)
She has accepted an Unconditional if Firmed offer (for which the original offer was AAB, no specific requirement re subjects, so a B in the particular one she was worried about would have been okay), therefore not eligible for Adjustment, as no offer to exceed. She didn't apply anywhere that she hadn't visited and liked, so this was a strong contender anyway.

The other offer was ABB, but with a specific requirement of an A in the subject of concern.

(Interestingly, although UCAS appears to have the course in Clearing, searching via the university website suggests that it isn't. As this is the only course that might tempt her into Clearing, the dilemma may never become reality anyway).
If the course isn't in Clearing on the university website you can always give them a ring to confirm, alternatively ask whether the course was in Clearing last year on A-level results day. In the meantime, if there is any doubt and you have the time, it might be worth revisiting the unis that she might be tempted by if she gets the A and see how she feels.
At the same time find out whether they can confirm accommodation for students who enter via Clearing.

Hope this helps
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Isinglass)
She has accepted an Unconditional if Firmed offer (for which the original offer was AAB, no specific requirement re subjects, so a B in the particular one she was worried about would have been okay), therefore not eligible for Adjustment, as no offer to exceed. She didn't apply anywhere that she hadn't visited and liked, so this was a strong contender anyway.

The other offer was ABB, but with a specific requirement of an A in the subject of concern.

(Interestingly, although UCAS appears to have the course in Clearing, searching via the university website suggests that it isn't. As this is the only course that might tempt her into Clearing, the dilemma may never become reality anyway).
The UCAS website isn't always completely accurate as their information can be out of date. You would get more accurate information from phoning the University Admissions directly to ask if the course is in Clearing at the moment, although that situation could also change later in the year
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