Guide to Clearing

With hundreds of thousands of students up and down the country preparing for A Level results day, don’t worry if you haven’t already secured your place! Every year, tens of thousands of students get places at HE institutions like us, through Clearing.  Not everybody gets the grades they were expecting and Clearing is an important part of the UCAS application process. It’s the way institutions fill any spaces they have on courses once everybody’s grades are released. Some people do better than expected, others not so, hence there is a lot of shuffling around. So even if you didn’t get the grades you expected, you could still get a place on a course.

For most, the option to go through Clearing will only appear once your grades have been released on results day and following this, it is up to you to contact a university or FE College to find a course to enrol on. Most will have a dedicated Clearing hotline for you to call and if they have vacancies you will usually be given an answer immediately, or very shortly after speaking to them. You will then have a certain amount of time to make a decision on whether or not to accept this offer, usually 24/48 hours before adding the institution as a choice on UCAS Track. Although you are free to contact as many institutions as you want, you are only able to enter one Clearing choice on UCAS after receiving verbal confirmation of an offer from the institution.

It is important to prepare in advance for Clearing – look up possible courses in places outside of your first and second choice institutions and the different subject areas you’d be interested in studying. Put these in order of preference to give yourself the best chance possible. This will also make it easier for you to check courses against the Clearing listings. Make sure you keep your Clearing number (which can be found on your UCAS Track) nearby too, universities or FE Colleges will need this number when you call them. It’s worth picking up a copy of the Telegraph newspaper, which is the only paper to publish the full list of Clearing places available which can be easier than searching via the UCAS website and they also offer a Clearing mobile app. You can call an institution if there’s one in particular that you have in mind, but make sure to call early – if they have any places available these will fill up very quickly, especially if you’re enquiring about a popular course of study!

That being said, although most places are allocated in the week after A Level results are released, some courses will have places for longer than this and will often update their website until full. City of Westminster College’s Clearing hotline is 020 7258 2828 and as we’re a non-traditional way to get a degree, we have places available on a wide range of HNDs and FdAs. Please look at our HE offer on our course pages for the full list of options available.