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How to prepare for UCAS Clearing

Clearing opens on 5 July 2024

Most students will wait until they’ve received their exam results before they consider Clearing, but there are plenty of ways to help prepare for that day, no matter your results.

Check out these steps to ensure your journey through Clearing is as smooth as possible.


Plan for different outcomes

It is impossible to predict the future, but you can plan for unexpected exam results.

Note down a few scenarios to base your Clearing preparation around. Some scenarios could include receiving improved grade results or scenarios where you didn’t quite do as well as you had hoped.

For each scenario, make a note of the entry requirements so you can easily compare your exam results when they are released.


Research courses and universities before you get your grades

Clearing 2024 opens 5 July and this is the date most universities publish their Clearing vacancies, although some may publish later.

This gives you just over a month to research courses and universities based on the scenarios you noted down in the previous step.


Starting your research

Approach your research as if you’re applying to university for the first time and consider all possible courses you’re interested in, even if you didn’t apply for them the first-time around.

You may have picked up new interests since initially applying or found a new focus. For example, you may have chosen to focus on Forensic Psychology as opposed to your original choice of Psychology. You could even pick a totally new subject, such as Sport and Exercise Science, if you wanted to change directions. Check out our full range of undergraduate courses to get an idea on what you could apply for.


Building a shortlist

It’s important to write down a shortlist of all possible course options and bookmarks or save the course web pages for quick referencing.

You don’t have to rank your possible courses and universities on entry requirements alone. You can rate them on other factors, such as teaching quality, scholarship availability, course content, student support, accommodation, facilities, sports clubs and societies, anything that’s important to you.

Keep in mind that entry requirements can change during Clearing, so don’t rule out a course if you just don’t quite meet the entry requirements.


Don’t rush into anything

You could even consider a gap year if your results surprise you.

A gap year provides you with additional time to make the best choice that suits you. You can gain valuable work experience in your chosen field, or simply take some time to consider your options you can reapply.


Prepare for a busy few days

Clearing is a very competitive time of the year, keep results day free, as well as a few days afterwards. So you don’t miss out, we recommend applying early as spaces do fill out quickly.


Write down university Clearing contact details

Once you’ve shortlisted your universities, write down their contact details in the order you’d like to contact them when you get your results. This will stop you from wasting any time finding the correct details on the day and potentially losing out.


Sort out your finances

Ensure you have your student finance sorted as soon as you possibly can. You don’t have to wait until you receive an offer from a university before applying for your student loan or other student finance.

When you’re filling out your finance form, simply put down the university and course that you wish to join. Once you have an offer, you can simply go back into your student loan account and correct the details.


Prepare for questions during Clearing

When you contact universities during Clearing, they will likely ask you the following questions as a formality to make sure your chosen course is the right one for you.

  • What qualifications do you have and where did you get them?
  • Why are you interested in this course?
  • Why are you interested in the university?
  • Why do you think you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for?
  • Why are you applying for a different course?
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