Going through Clearing and Adjustment can be incredibly confusing and stressful. Thanks to this handy guide put together by the Student Hut team, it doesn't have to be!

What is Clearing?

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Clearing is how universities and colleges fill any remaining places on their courses. It’s an ideal way for you to find another course if you don’t meet the conditions of your offers on Results Day. It can also be used if you didn’t receive any offers (or only offers you didn’t want to accept) or applied for university late (after 30th June). Clearing allows you to identify courses of interest with vacancies, and then to contact the course providers directly to see if they will offer you a place. There’s a good chance that you’ll find another course through Clearing if your exam results are reasonable and you are willing to be flexible on subject/university location.


What is Adjustment?

If you achieve results that are higher than you expected and exceed the conditions for your firm choice, you might want to think about applying for a different course, with higher entry requirements, that you’d prefer. Lots of competitive courses may already be full, but if other applicants miss their conditions or swap their courses too, then places will become available. Adjustment allows you to browse for other places while still keeping a place on your original course.


Who can go through Clearing?

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Those who receive no offers

The most likely situation in which you will go through Clearing is if you don't receive any offers or don't achieve the grades that you need to meet the entry requirements for your firm or insurance choice.

Don't forget: If you don’t get the grades you need, there is still a small chance you will receive an offer if your results aren’t too far off the requirement - check the status of your offer on the UCAS website before thinking about Clearing! If it has not been updated, call the university directly to find out if you have a place.

Those who apply to university late

If you made a last minute decision to apply to university and submitted your application after June 30th, you’ll automatically be entered into the Clearing system. Make sure you start contacting universities as soon as you get your results.

Those who change their mind

If you do not want to accept an offer from your firm or insurance choice, you can go through Clearing. If you were accepted by your firm choice, you will need to ask that university to put you into Clearing (this is at their discretion).

You are unable to ‘swap’ your firm and insurance choices. If you decide you would prefer to go to your insurance choice, but have received a conditional offer from your firm choice, you can ask them to release you (at least a week before Results Day, with agreement from your insurance university) in order to be passed on to your insurance option. If your offer from your firm choice has been confirmed (unconditional), you will have to apply through Clearing if you wish to go to your insurance choice (and if your insurance choice still has places). 


Who can go through Adjustment?

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If you’ve received an unconditional offer from your firm choice, or you have exceeded the entry requirements, UCAS Adjustment allows you to find a place on a course you prefer which has higher entry requirements.

Once you’ve registered for Adjustment in UCAS Track, you can look for places by contacting university admissions offices directly (there is no official vacancy list). Adjustment is open until 31st August.

Don’t panic! Your original offer will not be discarded until you confirm an alternative place.


Where to look for places

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  • UCAS: Clearing vacancies are listed in the UCAS search tool, and some are available to view before Results Day. Listings are updated regularly by universities, so keep checking back if you are interested in a particular course or university. You can narrow down your search by course, institution and location.

  • University Websites: Some universities will advertise vacancies on their own website. You can contact universities via their Clearing phone line to see if they can offer you a place or if they will reconsider you if you failed to meet the entry requirements on Results Day.

  • The Telegraph: Like UCAS, The Telegraph will be listing official Clearing vacancies.

  • There is no list of Adjustment vacancies. Contact admissions offices at unis and colleges directly to discuss any possible vacancies.


Between what dates are Clearing and Adjustment open?

  • Clearing is available from 5th July to the end of September. When you can use it depends on your circumstances; if you already have your exam results but you have no offers, you can use Clearing from early July. However, the majority of places will be allocated from Results Day (17th August) onwards.

  • The deadline for adding Clearing choices on UCAS is 23rd October.

  • Adjustment is available to you for five days after your conditional firm offer changes to unconditional firm, or on A-level publication day, whichever is the later. Adjustment closes on 31st August.                                           For example: If you do the International Baccalaureate Diploma you will receive your results on 5th July 2017. If you meet the requirements for your firm conditional offer, it will change to an unconditional offer in UCAS Track, but you will have to wait until A-level publication day to access Adjustment.


Survival Tips!

Before Results Day:

  • Doing some initial research into alternative universities and courses will help prepare you, just in case things don’t go as planned on Results Day. Check the UCAS Clearing vacancies search tool to see which universities are offering places - vacancies are listed before, during and after Results Day.

  • Read degree reviews by real students to help give you an idea of what it’s really like to study at a particular university. Student Hut allows you to browse over 34,000 student-written course and module reviews, and see where different universities rank for student satisfaction and teaching quality in the Student Hut Alternative League Table.

  • Give some thought to alternative options and formulate a backup plan in case things don't turn out as expected.

  • Avoid booking any holidays or taking any trips during the Results Day period (on and around 17th August) - being at home with a secure internet connection and phone-line will make Clearing a lot easier if you need to use it.

Results Day and Beyond:

  • Remember to check the UCAS Track website as early as possible on Results Day - if you’re eligible for Clearing, UCAS Track will let you know. You should still go to your school or college to collect your exact marks and UCAS points as you may need them.

  • Clearing places are filled quickly, so act fast. That being said, Clearing continues into September so keep calm and persevere if you don't secure a place on Results Day.

  • Before you contact a university, make sure you are prepared to answer any questions they may have about your motivations to enrol on a particular course. Some may just ask for your grades and make a decision based on those, while others may choose to ask more in-depth questions. Some examples include:

          » Why do you want to study this course?

          » What sets you apart from other candidates?

          » Where do you think this degree could take you in the future?

          » Why do you think you missed your predicted results?

  • When calling about a course vacancy, make sure you keep these bits and pieces handy:

          » Your Clearing number

          » Your personal UCAS ID

          » Your A Level/GCSE grades

          » The name or code of the course you're interested in joining

          » A pen and paper, just in case you have to write any important information down

  • If a university is willing to offer you a place, they will let you know on the phone - you will have 24 hours to accept the offer.


Key dates!

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  • 30th June - University applications received after this date are sent straight into the Clearing system

  • 5th July - Clearing opens

  • 13th July - Deadline for uni decisions on applications submitted before 30th June

  • 20th July - You must reply to unis (if they have told you their decision) by this date

  • 17th August - A Level Results Day

  • 31st August - Adjustment closes & remaining offer conditions must be met

  • 20th September - Final deadline for 2017 entry applications

  • 30th September - Clearing vacancies are removed from the search facility

  • 23rd October - Final deadline for adding Clearing choices and for universities to make their decisions


Next steps

What To Do If You Are Unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful in finding a place through Clearing, there are a number of options available to you:

  • Why not think about taking a gap year before applying again next year? Gap years are a great way to take some time out of education and give yourself a chance to earn some money, get work experience and travel.

  • It’s also worth considering non-university options like enrolling on a school-leaver programme or pursuing an apprenticeship.

  • And don’t forget, you can always re-take your exams and apply for university again next year. Speak to your subject tutors to find out when/if you will be able to re-sit your exams, or look into private options (e.g. CIFE Colleges).

All of this probably sounds a little flippant if you have just found out that you will not be attending university this year after all. This is simply a starting point; somewhere to direct your thoughts once you feel a little less disappointed. Remember: not getting into university this year is not the end of the world - there are plenty of things to do while you wait until next year, and who knows, you might even find something you’d prefer to do instead of university!

What To Do If You Are Successful

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Congratulations on getting a place at university! After you let that sink in, the next important step is to find accommodation.

Considering that you’ve found your place later than others, you may have less choice. Here are our basic next steps with regards to securing yourself university accommodation:

  • First things first, contact your university to find out if there are any rooms still available in halls of residence (sometimes universities do hold some rooms especially for those students joining the university through Clearing!)

  • If not, you university accommodation service should be able to recommend privately-run halls nearby

  • The other option is living in a privately-rented shared house

  • Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do your research! Think about what you can afford and where you would be most comfortable, but try to be as flexible as you can.



We hope our Essential Guide to Clearing and Adjustment 2017 has been helpful!

Once you've celebrated your success and had a glass of champagne (or three!), don't delay in tackling your next task - finding student accommodation. Sound a bit daunting? Don't panic because we've got your back!

Check out our super helpful guide packed full of tips and advice for when you need to find accommodation after you've been through Clearing.

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