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Clearing Advice for Parents and Carers

By: Haydon Anstis


A-Level Results Day (Thursday 18th of August 2022) is a day that students and parents alike, anxiously await. It’s the day that students find out if they have gained enough UCAS tariff points from their exams to meet the requirements of the course on which they wish to enrol.

It can be a tense time for many applicants if they don’t gain the results they had hoped for, but fear not! The common misconception is that these students will be left with limited options. The Clearing process is a safety net that should not be perceived as the bargain basement option.

As a parent or carer, your knowledge of the clearing process will be a great support for your child.

What is it?

Clearing is a bank of university and college courses that are yet to be filled. It’s available to any of the following students if:

  • they have submitted their UCAS application after 30th June.
  • they did not receive any offers (conditional or unconditional) from the universities they applied to.
  • they did not achieve the grades required for either of their choices.
  • they declined a firm place on UCAS Track.

Clearing applications can be made from 5th July to 18th October, and the vacancies are available to view now. Also, your child can sign up to the UCAS free contact service in case things don’t go to plan. By signing up, universities and colleges with spaces on courses similar to those they’ve applied to can contact them with an offer – they don’t have to accept any offers they receive, and if they do secure a place on results day, they won’t be contacted.

Clearing can be a positive

Remind your child that admissions teams, universities, and colleges really want them on their courses, otherwise they’d all be out of a job!

Last year, thousands of places were available through Clearing, and popular courses such as English and Law, also had spaces. In total, over 66,770 applicants obtained places in higher education through the Clearing process in 2018.

Many people who’ve gone through the Clearing process say the change in direction has opened up opportunities they never imagined.

“Initially, I was extremely stressed and worried – battling being disappointed with some of my grades and having a negative perception of Clearing. Clearing should not be viewed as a negative – it’s a great way to explore different options that previously wouldn’t have crossed your mind. There’s such a large period of time between making your choices with UCAS and getting your results. A lot can change” (Ella Graham Goodman, History with English BA (Hons) graduate).

Find out here why successful pharmacist and motivational speaker Stephen Seki is a “massive fan of the clearing system”.

Why do universities have clearing?

There could be many reasons why universities still have courses available. Mainly it’s due to universities and colleges not filling all their places for certain courses, this could be due to students not reaching the requirements or low initial take up for the course.

Click here to download a copy of our Clearing Handbook, and make sure your child has a Plan B on results day. For more Clearing support and stories from real applicants be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter.

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