Fearing Clearing? - Our Guide To Clearing 2019Academia
What is clearing?
Clearing is the system run by UCAS where universities and colleges can fill any vacant places on their courses. For students it is the best way to secure a last minute place if you aren’t holding an offer already.
From 5th of July to 23rd of October UCAS clearing is the only official resource allowing you to search for course vacancies and then contact the providers.
Are you eligible?
You are eligible if you are a prospective student, UK or international, who isn’t currently holding an offer from a UK university or college.
This can be because you weren’t made any offers, you declined the ones you were given or you didn’t meet the required conditions of the ones you intended to go for. Or perhaps you applied late, after the 30th of June.
If you already have a firm choice, but have decided that you no longer want to take it, you need to call the uni to inform them. Only after you have discussed the matter with them can you be released into clearing.
How to sign up for clearing.
If you haven’t already registered with UCAS you need to sign up and make an application.
UCAS will then send you an email issuing you a Clearing Number and Personal ID and giving you instructions how to access Track.
Track is the system that allows you to check the progression of your application once you have submitted it, so you can check if any of the universities you have been talking to have made you an offer.
It is in Track that you will know that you have definitely entered clearing, as your status will read: ‘You are in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has Started’.
If you didn’t get the results you thought you needed but Track hasn’t yet confirmed your clearing status, get in contact with the university/college, it may be that they are still considering your application despite your results being under the usual requirement.
How to use clearing.
Even if you think you are likely to hit the requirements of your offers, it is still worth using the UCAS search tool to see what your backup options might be. Clearing can be a hectic process and the more prepared you are the better.
The search tool has a very useful filter to refine your search.
The obvious first step is to search for your originally intended course, but also consider the possibility of side-stepping to other subjects that you might have transferable skills for, or even consider joint honours courses.
Another approach might be to filter by location, this might be useful if you wanted to be close to friends or family, or had your sights set on a particular city. Also use the map function so you can see where the campus is located in relation to other amenities.
Remember to keep checking regularly as availability can change on a daily basis, sometimes places that are listed as full may get vacancies later on.
Research the university that you are interested in thoroughly, student reviews on such sites as whatuni can be very useful for impartial insights beyond the university marketing material.
How to make contact.
After you’ve made a shortlist of the universities you are interested in the next step is to call them. This process can be tiring especially if you are contacting a lot of places, but keep in mind that you’re still trying to sell yourself, and although the universities are eager to fill places there may well be a lot of competition.
So take some time to prepare yourself as you would for an interview. Have some notes in front of you from your research about what attracts you to the course. Have a copy of your personal statement and grades for easy reference, and have some questions ready about the course and any practical considerations, such as whether they provide accommodation.
You should find a quiet place to sit and have a notebook ready to take down any information. Most importantly you should have your Clearing Number and Personal ID at hand so you can give the provider access on Track to review your application.
If the call goes well then the university may offer you a verbal confirmation, it is also good practice to request an email to have it also confirmed in writing in case of any miscommunication later.
What to do with a verbal offer.
Once they have given you a verbal offer you can now add the clearing choice in Track. This can be done by clicking on ‘Add Clearing Choice’ and filling in the details before the deadline the university/college has given you.
Doing this means that you have definitely accepted the offer, so if it is confirmed by the course provider then it will show up as an acceptance on Track in the ‘Choices’ page.
Only add a choice after you have spoken to the university, if you add before speaking to them it may slow down the whole process.
How you’ll receive an email offer
After speaking to you on the phone the university/college will review your application and decide if they can offer you the place, they then inform UCAS and this is when your clearing choice will become confirmed.
If you’re accepted UCAS will send an email to inform you that something has changed in your clearing status.
In Track you can view and print your acceptance letter, as well as showing it to your relieved family and friends you might also need this as evidence to open a student bank account or book into student accommodation.
Direct Contact Service
An additional option that UCAS now offers to students in clearing is the Direct Contact Service. It is an optional service which you have to sign up for, whereby universities and colleges that offer similar courses to those you applied for can contact you directly to make you an offer. Although it means you will have to be prepared to talk at any moment it does give you the potential of many more options, perhaps ones you would never have considered when just searching for yourself.
Before signing up it is important to be aware of your consumer rights, the course providers must ensure that you have all the necessary information before you make this life changing decision.
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