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Clearing and Adjustment FAQ 2020
Clearing, Self-Release into Clearing, Adjustment and COVID-19 Changes FAQ


Back by popular demand is our FAQ for Results and Clearing for 2020! This thread contains several FAQs covering all aspects of Clearing and Adjustment, from what Clearing is and how to apply, to instructions for placing yourself into Clearing.

We have also added an extra bonus FAQ focusing on COVID-19 and the impact this is likely to have on the Clearing and Adjustment processes this year.


Click here to jump to our Self-Release into Clearing FAQ

Click here to jump to our Adjustment FAQ

Click here to jump to our COVID-19 Pandemic - Changes to Clearing and Adjustment FAQ!

See our thread on the new 'Clearing Plus' service here!


Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!








Clearing FAQ

This is a list of are some of the most common questions asked by students on TSR each year. From Clearing basics (what it is and how to apply), to troubleshooting and changing your mind, we’ve compiled a list of popular questions and answers from previous years, all updated for 2020 applicants.



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!





Clearing - What is it and how does it work?
Clearing is essentially a way to access university for those who did not apply in the main cycle or for those who do not hold any offers.

During Clearing, you are able to directly contact universities to see if they have a place available on a course you wish to access. Generally, this is done by phone (although some universities are utilising social media too). You can search for available vacancies via the UCAS website, make a list of universities you think you may be interested in and then give them a call.

Universities can then make you a verbal offer. Once you have this, you can enter it into your UCAS Track. On Results Day, this can be done from 3pm - this allows you to call several universities and gives you some time to consider your options. Universities will often give you a time period to enter your choice on Track - they don’t want to hold places for people who may not be interested. Once you’ve submitted the choice on Track, the university will then formally accept your place.


Who is eligible for Clearing?
Essentially, anyone who does not have an offer of a place. This might be because you applied directly to clearing, because you were rejected by your choices or if you asked a university you were placed with to put you in clearing.

In order to be eligible you need an application in the current UCAS cycle and to have paid the full £24 fee. You also need to have a Clearing number (sometimes referred to as a Clearing ID).


Is Clearing only for unpopular courses? What about Law and Medicine?
There is a common misconception that Clearing is only for courses where there weren’t enough applicants. Courses may be in Clearing for many reasons, such as not enough applicants meeting the minimum entry requirements, applicants performing poorly at interview, or poor advertising of the course.

In recent years, we’ve seen places for Law, for example, at some very popular universities. We’ve also seen Medicine in Clearing too!


Will universities reduce their entry requirements in Clearing?
Potentially. Some do, some don’t. Some have the option to be more flexible depending on the strength of the rest of your application. There really isn’t any way to predict whether entry requirements will fall, and, if so, by how much. Grade requirements may also change as Clearing progresses.

For courses with requirements for GCSE English and Maths at a particular grade, these are highly unlikely to be lowered.


What is a Clearing number?
A Clearing number or Clearing ID is a number which appears on your Track once you no longer hold offers. You need this number in order to process your Clearing application. When you speak to universities, you will need to provide this number in order for them to find your application.


Will universities speak to me without a clearing number?
They may or may not. Universities might be able to give you limited informal information, however generally they will require you to have a Clearing number in order to give you a formal verbal offer.





How do I contact universities to get an offer in Clearing?
Clearing is quite different to the main UCAS process in that it works based on verbal offers. The onus is on the applicant to contact universities, obtain a verbal offer (or multiple verbal offers if they wish) and then choose one offer to enter onto UCAS Track, which the university will then confirm. The applicant needs to search clearing vacancies, identify universities and then contact them directly to open a dialogue.


Will a university have places for my course in clearing?
Clearing vacancies are published from 6th July 2020 only on the UCAS website. You can search for Clearing vacancies here: https://digital.ucas.com/search.

Clearing vacancies change all the time - what is available on the 6th of July is likely to be very different from what is available after Results Day, for example.


What do I say when I call the universities?
You simply need to say that you are interested in X course and were wondering if they had any places available. You will likely then be asked to provide your Clearing number/ID so that the university can access your application.

Universities might ask you to confirm personal details or academic results, so it’s a good idea to have a transcript of your results to hand. The operator will guide you in terms of any information they require from you.

You should always take a note of the name of the person you spoke to and any important information, so keep a pen and paper handy!


Can I call as many universities as I like?
Of course! It’s a good idea to consider all of your available options. There is no limit to the number of verbal offers you can hold, although you can only add one choice on UCAS Track. It’s a good idea to prioritise the universities you want to go to most, as these offers are on a first-come-first-served basis, and obviously if you decide you no longer want a place at a university, it’s a good idea to let them know so that that place can be offered to someone else.


Can I call a university which hasn’t advertised any clearing vacancies for my course?
Yes, however it’s unlikely they will have places. Universities do, occasionally, operate internal clearing lists for very popular courses, or courses where there may only be one or two places (which therefore aren’t worth advertising).

If there is a particular course or university you have your heart set on then it may be worth a try, however you should be aware it’s very likely you will be disappointed.


Do I need a new personal statement?
Universities you apply to in Clearing will see your original UCAS application. If you are applying for a different course, you can ask explain this to the university and ask if they would be willing to consider an additional statement. Obviously, you would need to have this prepared in advance.





I’ve got a verbal offer - now what do I do?
Once you’ve secured a verbal offer, you can enter it into UCAS Track. This is your formal submission of your offer. You absolutely must make sure you enter this offer within the timeframe stated by the university - failure to do so can mean you lose your place.


When can I enter a clearing choice on track?
If you already have your exam results, you can enter a choice as soon as Clearing opens. If you have results to collect on Results Day, you won’t be able to enter a choice until 3pm that day. This gives you time to look at your options, call some universities and make a decision. You can only enter one choice in Track - so you need to make sure it’s the right one!


I’ve changed my mind or added the wrong choice in Track - help!
You’ll need to contact that university and explain the mistake, and ask them to put you back into Clearing. Be aware that this can take some time - universities are more likely to prioritise people who actually want to attend! It’s a good idea to ask what their timescale for this is, and also to contact the university you actually want to go to in order to make them aware of the delay.


Will I need to attend an interview?
It’s unlikely. Most universities don’t have the capacity/facility to hold interviews during Clearing. There are, however, some exceptions to this.

For healthcare courses (Nursing, Midwifery, Medicine etc.), you may need to attend an interview. Often universities are required to interview prospective students as part of the requirements of their professional regulatory body.

For Art and Design courses, you will usually be required to send over a web-based portfolio before being given an offer. It’s therefore really important that you’ve had a look at portfolio guidelines beforehand and have one prepared.

Performing arts courses may require provision of a video audition (usually pre-recorded). It’s a good idea to have a selection of monologues, music or choreography as appropriate prepared.





Troubleshooting - When things don’t quite go to plan...
Anything that happens outside of the ‘normal’ UCAS process has the potential for issues to occur. By following the advice above, you should limit the chances of any problems, however things unfortunately still do go wrong on occasion. The process is human, and mistakes can be made on both the side of the applicant and the university. Here’s how to deal with them.


Can I be rejected after I’ve entered the choice on Track?
Yes - there are two main reasons why this may happen. The first is failing to obtain a verbal offer before adding the choice. The university won’t accept someone they have never heard of. If you’ve done this, you would need to contact the university to explain. The second reason is that you have failed to add the choice by the deadline specified by the university at the time of the offer.

If you do find you have been rejected and can’t work out why, it’s important that you contact the university as soon as possible to find out why.


I accepted a Clearing offer, but I’ve changed my mind. What do I do?
Once you have accepted a verbal offer and added it to UCAS Track, you are committed to that offer to some degree, so it’s important you are sure about your choice before entering it.

If you definitely do not wish to attend that university, you would need to contact them and request that they place you back in Clearing. The university is under no obligation to do this quickly, so if you have another university in mind, ensure that they are happy to wait.


I have been accepted into my firm/insurance but I’ve seen something I love in Clearing. Can I apply?
Firstly, you would need to call the university in Clearing to see if the place is still available and get a preliminary idea of whether they would accept you.

You then would need to contact the university you hold a place with to ask them to place you into Clearing. The university is under no obligation to do this at any particular speed (they’re likely to prioritise those who do want to attend!) so it’s important that you get an idea of their timescale and ensure your new university is willing to wait that amount of time.

Your other (quicker) option is to use UCAS Track to place yourself in Clearing. You can do this by following the ‘Decline my place’ option on Track and filling in the form. If you're interested in this route, check out our self-release FAQ here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6018164

Once you have been placed into Clearing, you can follow the normal Clearing process of adding the choice to your UCAS track. Do be aware that there is risk associated with this - if your original university takes a long time to put you into Clearing then you may lose your new offer. Be aware that UCAS are often unable to assist with this.


I have been accepted by my firm but I now want to go to my insurance, what do I do?
You would need to follow the same steps as above, as once you have met the conditions of your firm choice, your insurance offer ceases to exist. You would need to contact the insurance choice to see if they still have places and would be willing to consider you.


I’m waiting for a decision from my firm/insurance, but I've found a course I like in clearing, what do I do?
You can call your firm/insurance to let them know you no longer want to be considered so that they can record an unsuccessful decision and then you can be placed in Clearing.

Unlike asking to be placed in Clearing when you hold an offer, UCAS will normally be able to help you out in this situation if you are having trouble with delays from your original university.


I’m worried about accommodation. Won’t it all be taken by the time I apply?
This is something it’s important to discuss with universities at the time when you are given a verbal offer. Some universities may have places in their own accommodation, others may not. Some universities can offer you additional support if you are accepted in Clearing to secure private accommodation.

Generally it’s unlikely you would be stuck without any accommodation at all - even if what is available would not be your first choice.



Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
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Self-Release into Clearing FAQ


Since 2019, UCAS has allowed applicants to release themselves into Clearing through a 'decline my place' button. This is an irreversible decision and it is therefore extremely important that students fully understand the implications. Self-release proved fairly popular in its first year, with 28,030 students using the feature.

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.




What is Self-Release into Clearing and how does it work?

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 really 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 allows applicants to release themselves in to Clearing using a 'decline my place' button on their Track.


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’.


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.
There are lots of safeguards in place to ensure that this doesn't happen - in 2019 only one student did this and UCAS were able to work with them and the provider to assist.


I released myself into Clearing 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!
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Adjustment FAQ 2020
This section covers Adjustment - a UCAS tool which enables students who have met or exceeded their firm choice offer to 'trade up' to a different university.




What is Adjustment and how does it work?

Adjustment is different to Clearing, in that it is aimed at people who have exceeded the conditions of their offer and would like to try to go to a better university.


Who is eligible for Adjustment?
Adjustment is designed for people who have met all the conditions of their firm offer and exceeded at least one. So, if your offer is ABB and your get AAB, you would eligible. If you get A*A*C you would not be eligible, as you haven’t met all of your conditions.


What if I have an unconditional offer before Results Day?
If you hold an unconditional offer before getting your results, regardless of the previous conditions of your offer, you will not be eligible for adjustment. This is because once your offer becomes unconditional, you have no conditions to meet or exceed.


When can I apply and how long do I have?
Adjustment works quite differently to Clearing, in that you have only 5 days to ‘trade up’ to a different university. Adjustment ends strictly on 31st August, so if, for any reason, your results are delayed, you may end up with fewer than 5 days.

If you are eligible for adjustment, you can select the button on UCAS Track and this starts your 5 day timer.


How do I find a place?
Unlike Clearing, there is no advertised list of Adjustment places. You find a place by calling universities, however, it is the university which adds your choice to UCAS Track, not you. Once you’ve been verbally accepted, most universities will require written confirmation from you that you wish to accept the place (usually via email) prior to entering your choice on Track. You should never allow a university to amend your Track unless you are 100% sure you want to do there.


What if I don’t like any of the other universities or don’t secure a place?
There is no risk whatsoever - you hold onto your original offer throughout the process. If you don’t like another university, or you don’t get accepted then you simply wait out the rest of the 5 days and automatically revert to your original offer.


A university added an Adjustment place to my track, but I’ve changed my mind. What do I do?
As with Clearing, any offers you accept through Adjustment are intended to be final. Once your Adjustment offer has been added to track by the new university, your original offer ceases to exist. If you really don’t want to go there, you could ask the Adjustment university to place you into Clearing, however this can entail a delay and may mean you are without a place entirely.


Can I call a university about a course that is not advertised as having Clearing spaces?
Yes. Some universities will accept students through Adjustment even if they don’t have Clearing vacancies. You may ring up and find they don’t have any vacancies, but it is usually worth a call.
Sometimes universities will state on their website that they are not accepting students from Adjustment or that a particular course is completely full, so it’s worth checking websites before you call.


Help - I clicked the button for Adjustment to see what happens but I don't want to go anywhere else! What do I do?
Don't panic - a lot of applicants do this (the button appears for everyone who has their firm offer changed from conditional to unconditional - even if they didn't meet or exceed their firm offer conditions).

Your firm choice will be notified that you've clicked the button, but as long as you don't speak to any universities about going elsewhere then you'll stay with your firm choice. Your firm choice won’t be offended by this and you don’t need to contact them - this happens all the time!


Have a question we didn't answer? Need more information? Post below and one of our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
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COVID-19 Pandemic - Changes to Clearing and Adjustment FAQ

We expect that there will be some changes to the way Clearing works due to the current pandemic. This will primarily impact UCAS and university call centres. It's worth being aware of these changes to help during the Clearing/Adjustment process. We also know that more students may be considering deferring their application, or might have concerns about remote teaching.




Changes to Clearing due to COVID-19
Here is a summary of the key changes and frequently asked questions relating to the impact of the COVID pandemic.


Will unis be more flexible about entry requirements considering the current situation?
Obviously we are looking at the grades we receive. Consideration being given particularly to those who have not been able to receive their assessed grades. Universities generally trying to be sympathetic and trying to support. Personal statements, work experience and other qualifications are very important.


What are the options for those considering deferring?
It is a very personal choice. Important that students recognise that a lot of the blended learning things have been in the pipeline for a long time. There has been a huge investment into remote learning so universities are likely to continue with this into the next year in some form regardless of the COVID situation. Universities generally see this as a benefit to students. Deferring to avoid remote learning is generally not a realistic approach.
Universities may be limited by their targets, they will consider on a case-by-case basis.

Students cannot have a deferred offer and apply again however at the moment there is nothing stopping them registering for 2021.


What happens about the 31st August deadline for meeting conditions?
Normally students need to meet conditions by 31st August - it is likely this year will be different however until we know about autumn exam arrangements this can’t be confirmed.

At the moment all indications are that the 15th Oct deadline will be retained.


Is it still possible to call UCAS in the case of problems?
UCAS and universities are being honest in that they feel it will be a longer call wait. They are generally expecting more calls and since lockdown, their calls and social media interactions have gone through the roof. The call centre is still being operated as per any usual Clearing but staff will be at home.


What will university contact look like on results day?
Universities will have options - either a partially physical location or fully remote service. Generally they will be doing more remote work and things like live chat will be utilised more than in previous years.

If you need to be transferred to another department it may mean a longer wait than usual as many of the advisers and staff will be working from home.

For courses requiring an interview, universities are looking at having academics on standby.


What about IELTS exams?
IELTS exams require physical attendance which is not possible for most people due to travel restrictions. Universities generally have implemented alternative options such as online tests. Speak to the university directly to find out your alternative options.


How will Clearing work for Advisers and teachers this year?
Email sent to advisers every year to let them know about their unplaced applicants. UCAS currently not in a position to confirm whether this is happening or what support will be given to advisers yet. This means your teachers may not be quite as prepared, but will still be available to provide support if you need it.


Have a question we didn't answer? Need more information? Post below and one of our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
Adjustment FAQ 2020
This section covers Adjustment - a UCAS tool which enables students who have met or exceeded their firm choice offer to 'trade up' to a different university.




What is Adjustment and how does it work?

Adjustment is different to Clearing, in that it is aimed at people who have exceeded the conditions of their offer and would like to try to go to a better university.


Who is eligible for Adjustment?
Adjustment is designed for people who have met all the conditions of their firm offer and exceeded at least one. So, if your offer is ABB and your get AAB, you would eligible. If you get A*A*C you would not be eligible, as you haven’t met all of your conditions.


What if I have an unconditional offer before Results Day?
If you hold an unconditional offer before getting your results, regardless of the previous conditions of your offer, you will not be eligible for adjustment. This is because once your offer becomes unconditional, you have no conditions to meet or exceed.


When can I apply and how long do I have?
Adjustment works quite differently to Clearing, in that you have only 5 days to ‘trade up’ to a different university. Adjustment ends strictly on 31st August, so if, for any reason, your results are delayed, you may end up with fewer than 5 days.

If you are eligible for adjustment, you can select the button on UCAS Track and this starts your 5 day timer.


How do I find a place?
Unlike Clearing, there is no advertised list of Adjustment places. You find a place by calling universities, however, it is the university which adds your choice to UCAS Track, not you. Once you’ve been verbally accepted, most universities will require written confirmation from you that you wish to accept the place (usually via email) prior to entering your choice on Track. You should never allow a university to amend your Track unless you are 100% sure you want to do there.


What if I don’t like any of the other universities or don’t secure a place?
There is no risk whatsoever - you hold onto your original offer throughout the process. If you don’t like another university, or you don’t get accepted then you simply wait out the rest of the 5 days and automatically revert to your original offer.


A university added an Adjustment place to my track, but I’ve changed my mind. What do I do?
As with Clearing, any offers you accept through Adjustment are intended to be final. Once your Adjustment offer has been added to track by the new university, your original offer ceases to exist. If you really don’t want to go there, you could ask the Adjustment university to place you into Clearing, however this can entail a delay and may mean you are without a place entirely.


Can I call a university about a course that is not advertised as having Clearing spaces?
Yes. Some universities will accept students through Adjustment even if they don’t have Clearing vacancies. You may ring up and find they don’t have any vacancies, but it is usually worth a call.
Sometimes universities will state on their website that they are not accepting students from Adjustment or that a particular course is completely full, so it’s worth checking websites before you call.


Help - I clicked the button for Adjustment to see what happens but I don't want to go anywhere else! What do I do?
Don't panic - a lot of applicants do this (the button appears for everyone who has their firm offer changed from conditional to unconditional - even if they didn't meet or exceed their firm offer conditions).

Your firm choice will be notified that you've clicked the button, but as long as you don't speak to any universities about going elsewhere then you'll stay with your firm choice. Your firm choice won’t be offended by this and you don’t need to contact them - this happens all the time!


Have a question we didn't answer? Need more information? Post below and one of our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help
If I get a place through Adjustment, can I then ask for a deferred entry?
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(Original post by aram_si)
If I get a place through Adjustment, can I then ask for a deferred entry?
You can ask, but it's likely you would be told to reapply in the next cycle. Generally universities accepting applicants through adjustment etc. are looking to fill their current cohort, and managing deferrals takes a lot of extra work.
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Hi I wanna ask that whether adjustment can be used before the result day? I'm currently holding a conditional offer but my qualification is my current Uni transcript (I'm international student).And I expect that I will receive the transcript grade better than the condition that my firm choice gave me, So if I meet the criteria after that and get unconditional offer from my choice, will I be able to use adjustment?(I expect it would be met 4 weeks later, and before the result day.
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(Original post by bigfatpenguinQ)
Hi I wanna ask that whether adjustment can be used before the result day? I'm currently holding a conditional offer but my qualification is my current Uni transcript (I'm international student).And I expect that I will receive the transcript grade better than the condition that my firm choice gave me, So if I meet the criteria after that and get unconditional offer from my choice, will I be able to use adjustment?(I expect it would be met 4 weeks later, and before the result day.
Adjustment opens for everyone on Results Day (13th August) and can't be used before then, even if you have your results.

In order to be eligible you need to meet all of the conditions of your firm choice and exceed at least one of them.
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
Adjustment opens for everyone on Results Day (13th August) and can't be used before then, even if you have your results.

In order to be eligible you need to meet all of the conditions of your firm choice and exceed at least one of them.
Thank you,that's help a lot
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Hi, I want to ask if adjustment works for EU students.
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What clearing places become available on July 6th?
I was meant to be travelling in September and then starting university in 2021 but I have decided I want to start this year instead. I already have my A-level results and I just want to secure a place on a course as soon as possible, specifically computer science courses.

If anyone can remember what was available last year please let me know.
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(Original post by minitoya)
Hi, I want to ask if adjustment works for EU students.
Yes if you meet and exceed your firm offer conditions.
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(Original post by wz100)
What clearing places become available on July 6th?
I was meant to be travelling in September and then starting university in 2021 but I have decided I want to start this year instead. I already have my A-level results and I just want to secure a place on a course as soon as possible, specifically computer science courses.

If anyone can remember what was available last year please let me know.
We don't know what is available in Clearing until it starts (today). What was available last year is likely to be totally different to this year, and it's worth bearing in mind that Clearing places change fairly rapidly, especially around A level results, so the courses available now might not be everything that will be available.

You can find the full list of current courses available here: https://digital.ucas.com/search
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)

Clearing and Adjustment FAQ 2020
Clearing, Self-Release into Clearing, Adjustment and COVID-19 Changes FAQ


Back by popular demand is our FAQ for Results and Clearing for 2020! This thread contains several FAQs covering all aspects of Clearing and Adjustment, from what Clearing is and how to apply, to instructions for placing yourself into Clearing.

We have also added an extra bonus FAQ focusing on COVID-19 and the impact this is likely to have on the Clearing and Adjustment processes this year.


Click here to jump to our Self-Release into Clearing FAQ

Click here to jump to our Adjustment FAQ

Click here to jump to our COVID-19 Pandemic - Changes to Clearing and Adjustment FAQ!

See our thread on the new 'Clearing Plus' service here!


Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!








Clearing FAQ

This is a list of are some of the most common questions asked by students on TSR each year. From Clearing basics (what it is and how to apply), to troubleshooting and changing your mind, we’ve compiled a list of popular questions and answers from previous years, all updated for 2020 applicants.



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!





Clearing - What is it and how does it work?
Clearing is essentially a way to access university for those who did not apply in the main cycle or for those who do not hold any offers.

During Clearing, you are able to directly contact universities to see if they have a place available on a course you wish to access. Generally, this is done by phone (although some universities are utilising social media too). You can search for available vacancies via the UCAS website, make a list of universities you think you may be interested in and then give them a call.

Universities can then make you a verbal offer. Once you have this, you can enter it into your UCAS Track. On Results Day, this can be done from 3pm - this allows you to call several universities and gives you some time to consider your options. Universities will often give you a time period to enter your choice on Track - they don’t want to hold places for people who may not be interested. Once you’ve submitted the choice on Track, the university will then formally accept your place.


Who is eligible for Clearing?
Essentially, anyone who does not have an offer of a place. This might be because you applied directly to clearing, because you were rejected by your choices or if you asked a university you were placed with to put you in clearing.

In order to be eligible you need an application in the current UCAS cycle and to have paid the full £24 fee. You also need to have a Clearing number (sometimes referred to as a Clearing ID).


Is Clearing only for unpopular courses? What about Law and Medicine?
There is a common misconception that Clearing is only for courses where there weren’t enough applicants. Courses may be in Clearing for many reasons, such as not enough applicants meeting the minimum entry requirements, applicants performing poorly at interview, or poor advertising of the course.

In recent years, we’ve seen places for Law, for example, at some very popular universities. We’ve also seen Medicine in Clearing too!


Will universities reduce their entry requirements in Clearing?
Potentially. Some do, some don’t. Some have the option to be more flexible depending on the strength of the rest of your application. There really isn’t any way to predict whether entry requirements will fall, and, if so, by how much. Grade requirements may also change as Clearing progresses.

For courses with requirements for GCSE English and Maths at a particular grade, these are highly unlikely to be lowered.


What is a Clearing number?
A Clearing number or Clearing ID is a number which appears on your Track once you no longer hold offers. You need this number in order to process your Clearing application. When you speak to universities, you will need to provide this number in order for them to find your application.


Will universities speak to me without a clearing number?
They may or may not. Universities might be able to give you limited informal information, however generally they will require you to have a Clearing number in order to give you a formal verbal offer.





How do I contact universities to get an offer in Clearing?
Clearing is quite different to the main UCAS process in that it works based on verbal offers. The onus is on the applicant to contact universities, obtain a verbal offer (or multiple verbal offers if they wish) and then choose one offer to enter onto UCAS Track, which the university will then confirm. The applicant needs to search clearing vacancies, identify universities and then contact them directly to open a dialogue.


Will a university have places for my course in clearing?
Clearing vacancies are published from 6th July 2020 only on the UCAS website. You can search for Clearing vacancies here: https://digital.ucas.com/search.

Clearing vacancies change all the time - what is available on the 6th of July is likely to be very different from what is available after Results Day, for example.


What do I say when I call the universities?
You simply need to say that you are interested in X course and were wondering if they had any places available. You will likely then be asked to provide your Clearing number/ID so that the university can access your application.

Universities might ask you to confirm personal details or academic results, so it’s a good idea to have a transcript of your results to hand. The operator will guide you in terms of any information they require from you.

You should always take a note of the name of the person you spoke to and any important information, so keep a pen and paper handy!


Can I call as many universities as I like?
Of course! It’s a good idea to consider all of your available options. There is no limit to the number of verbal offers you can hold, although you can only add one choice on UCAS Track. It’s a good idea to prioritise the universities you want to go to most, as these offers are on a first-come-first-served basis, and obviously if you decide you no longer want a place at a university, it’s a good idea to let them know so that that place can be offered to someone else.


Can I call a university which hasn’t advertised any clearing vacancies for my course?
Yes, however it’s unlikely they will have places. Universities do, occasionally, operate internal clearing lists for very popular courses, or courses where there may only be one or two places (which therefore aren’t worth advertising).

If there is a particular course or university you have your heart set on then it may be worth a try, however you should be aware it’s very likely you will be disappointed.


Do I need a new personal statement?
Universities you apply to in Clearing will see your original UCAS application. If you are applying for a different course, you can ask explain this to the university and ask if they would be willing to consider an additional statement. Obviously, you would need to have this prepared in advance.





I’ve got a verbal offer - now what do I do?
Once you’ve secured a verbal offer, you can enter it into UCAS Track. This is your formal submission of your offer. You absolutely must make sure you enter this offer within the timeframe stated by the university - failure to do so can mean you lose your place.


When can I enter a clearing choice on track?
If you already have your exam results, you can enter a choice as soon as Clearing opens. If you have results to collect on Results Day, you won’t be able to enter a choice until 3pm that day. This gives you time to look at your options, call some universities and make a decision. You can only enter one choice in Track - so you need to make sure it’s the right one!


I’ve changed my mind or added the wrong choice in Track - help!
You’ll need to contact that university and explain the mistake, and ask them to put you back into Clearing. Be aware that this can take some time - universities are more likely to prioritise people who actually want to attend! It’s a good idea to ask what their timescale for this is, and also to contact the university you actually want to go to in order to make them aware of the delay.


Will I need to attend an interview?
It’s unlikely. Most universities don’t have the capacity/facility to hold interviews during Clearing. There are, however, some exceptions to this.

For healthcare courses (Nursing, Midwifery, Medicine etc.), you may need to attend an interview. Often universities are required to interview prospective students as part of the requirements of their professional regulatory body.

For Art and Design courses, you will usually be required to send over a web-based portfolio before being given an offer. It’s therefore really important that you’ve had a look at portfolio guidelines beforehand and have one prepared.

Performing arts courses may require provision of a video audition (usually pre-recorded). It’s a good idea to have a selection of monologues, music or choreography as appropriate prepared.





Troubleshooting - When things don’t quite go to plan...
Anything that happens outside of the ‘normal’ UCAS process has the potential for issues to occur. By following the advice above, you should limit the chances of any problems, however things unfortunately still do go wrong on occasion. The process is human, and mistakes can be made on both the side of the applicant and the university. Here’s how to deal with them.


Can I be rejected after I’ve entered the choice on Track?
Yes - there are two main reasons why this may happen. The first is failing to obtain a verbal offer before adding the choice. The university won’t accept someone they have never heard of. If you’ve done this, you would need to contact the university to explain. The second reason is that you have failed to add the choice by the deadline specified by the university at the time of the offer.

If you do find you have been rejected and can’t work out why, it’s important that you contact the university as soon as possible to find out why.


I accepted a Clearing offer, but I’ve changed my mind. What do I do?
Once you have accepted a verbal offer and added it to UCAS Track, you are committed to that offer to some degree, so it’s important you are sure about your choice before entering it.

If you definitely do not wish to attend that university, you would need to contact them and request that they place you back in Clearing. The university is under no obligation to do this quickly, so if you have another university in mind, ensure that they are happy to wait.


I have been accepted into my firm/insurance but I’ve seen something I love in Clearing. Can I apply?
Firstly, you would need to call the university in Clearing to see if the place is still available and get a preliminary idea of whether they would accept you.

You then would need to contact the university you hold a place with to ask them to place you into Clearing. The university is under no obligation to do this at any particular speed (they’re likely to prioritise those who do want to attend!) so it’s important that you get an idea of their timescale and ensure your new university is willing to wait that amount of time.

Your other (quicker) option is to use UCAS Track to place yourself in Clearing. You can do this by following the ‘Decline my place’ option on Track and filling in the form. If you're interested in this route, check out our self-release FAQ here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6018164

Once you have been placed into Clearing, you can follow the normal Clearing process of adding the choice to your UCAS track. Do be aware that there is risk associated with this - if your original university takes a long time to put you into Clearing then you may lose your new offer. Be aware that UCAS are often unable to assist with this.


I have been accepted by my firm but I now want to go to my insurance, what do I do?
You would need to follow the same steps as above, as once you have met the conditions of your firm choice, your insurance offer ceases to exist. You would need to contact the insurance choice to see if they still have places and would be willing to consider you.


I’m waiting for a decision from my firm/insurance, but I've found a course I like in clearing, what do I do?
You can call your firm/insurance to let them know you no longer want to be considered so that they can record an unsuccessful decision and then you can be placed in Clearing.

Unlike asking to be placed in Clearing when you hold an offer, UCAS will normally be able to help you out in this situation if you are having trouble with delays from your original university.


I’m worried about accommodation. Won’t it all be taken by the time I apply?
This is something it’s important to discuss with universities at the time when you are given a verbal offer. Some universities may have places in their own accommodation, others may not. Some universities can offer you additional support if you are accepted in Clearing to secure private accommodation.

Generally it’s unlikely you would be stuck without any accommodation at all - even if what is available would not be your first choice.



Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
Hi thx for this. I’m a mature student so it’s been a while since I last did ucas. I was wondering if I apply now just so that I can try and get a place through clearing, but am unsuccessful, can I still apply in Sep coming for next years entry? As that was what I was originally planning to do (apply for Sep 2021 entry) but have since learned there are April 2021 places so am interested in applying for then. Please help. Thx.
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cheerIeader
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Is clearing open early this year because of coronavirus or does it usually open around this time?
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(Original post by Aneesa-tk)
Hi thx for this. I’m a mature student so it’s been a while since I last did ucas. I was wondering if I apply now just so that I can try and get a place through clearing, but am unsuccessful, can I still apply in Sep coming for next years entry? As that was what I was originally planning to do (apply for Sep 2021 entry) but have since learned there are April 2021 places so am interested in applying for then. Please help. Thx.
You can, but you would have to pay for a new application, get a new reference etc. when you apply in in next year's cycle I'm assuming you've got a specific uni in mind since not many will offer April 2021 entry? If not you may have to be rather selective to find a course starting then!
(Original post by cheerIeader)
Is clearing open early this year because of coronavirus or does it usually open around this time?
Nope, clearing always opens at this time IB students get their results today so clearing opens for them (and anyone who has applied after 30th June and has results already)
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