How does the Clearing process work?

Clearing may seem like a confusing process, but in reality the process is really quite simple if you understand what you need to do and by when.


Clearing is traditionally seen as an opportunity to find a place at university if you haven’t performed as well as expected. However clearing should be seen as an opportunity if you are thinking of changing your mind on your university choice or perform better than expected.


We’ve created a simple ten step process to help you understand clearing:


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Step 1: Check your Eligibility

If you’ve applied for a course via the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), you’ll be eligible for their Clearing process if:

  • You applied before 30 June 2021.

  • You’ve paid the full application fee of £18 for a single choice or £26 for multiple courses.

  • You don’t hold any offers because you didn’t receive any, you didn’t meet the conditions of your offer, you declined your offers, you applied too late or you didn’t apply for any but after receiving your results, you now want to apply.

If you haven’t already applied via UCAS, see STEP 2.

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Step 2: Build your application

If you haven't already applied, you need to register and make an application for 2021 entry. Once you've sent your application and received your welcome email from UCAS, you can see how it's progressing by signing in to Track, the online application system. If you didn’t meet expectations and you fulfil the eligibility requirements after A-level and SQA Results Day on 10 August 2021, your application will be automatically entered into Clearing and your Clearing number will be displayed in Track.You can also apply for Clearing if you changed your mind after Results Day and decide that you now want to attend university.

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Step 3: Monitor the Clearing vacancies on UCAS

This summer, Clearing vacancies - otherwise known as course openings - will go live on the UCAS website in early July. You will be able to monitor vacancy updates via the website, as well as browse potential courses and universities.

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Step 4: Note down the Clearing contact details

Once you have your exam results, you can contact your chosen universities about vacancies. Contact numbers for Clearing will be available via the UCAS search tool and on university websites if they have spaces during Clearing. UEA’s live chat team will be available from the 5 July 2021 and the team will be on hand to answer any questions. Our main Clearing hotline will be available on 10 August 2021.

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Step 5: Prepare questions and answers

It’s best to prepare any questions you have about the process, such as securing accommodation or any key dates, before getting through to the university’s Clearing advisor. Have your results ready and practice engaging answers in response to potential questions they might ask, such as: Why are you interested in applying to our course?

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Step 6: The consideration stage

If you receive verbal permission to be considered for the course via Clearing, you can then add the Clearing choice in Track. Be sure to fill in the course details by the date the university or college gives you. At UEA we will follow up our discussion with an email confirmation of the offer and how long it is available to you. Once you have filled out the Clearing choice in Track we will then check all the information is correct and formally offer you a place through Clearing and will let UCAS know

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Step 7: Decisions will be displayed in Track

If you’re accepted, UCAS will send you an email to tell you that the status has changed and that you need to check Track. You can then view and print your acceptance letter - a handy document to have when opening a student bank account. However, if the university or college can’t offer you a place. You can still contact other education providers to see whether there are other vacancies of interest.

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Step 8: Don't Forget the time limit

It’s true that there’s no limit to how many universities you can contact or hold verbal offers with via Clearing, but please remember that each one will have a deadline and you’ll only be able to accept one through UCAS. Also, note that your accommodation choices may be limited due to the rush of Clearing and previous applications.

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Step 9: Consider the Clearing Plus Service

UCAS also provides Clearing Plus in case things don’t go to plan. UCAS can match your details to courses that they think you might be interested in. If you match yourself with any of the suggestions universities and colleges can contact you from July to mid-September through this service if they have places on courses they think might be suitable, based on your application. You’ll only be eligible for this service if you are not waiting for any university decisions, you aren't holding any offers, you submitted your application by June 30, paid the full fee and you’re eligible for Clearing.

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Step 10: Set your Clearing goals now

Clearing choices are yours to make. If you already know which university you want to choose in the UCAS Clearing process, don’t be afraid to reach out and learn more about your potential university by booking a campus tour, speaking to a current student or member of staff. And if you like the sound of UEA, visit our Virtual Open Day, ask our students what life is like here or book onto one of our Campus Tours. . You can also contact UEA via live chat, or telephone +44 (0)1603 591515 for further information.