8 months ago

UCAS Clearing 2020 is a process that allocates unfilled uni places to students without any offers. 

You can use university Clearing if you are applying after the 30th June or if you haven’t yet received any university offers. For example, if you have your exam results already but don’t have any university offers (so if you took your exams last year but didn’t apply to uni, you can apply through Clearing this year) 

You can also apply through Clearing if you didn’t meet the requirements of your offers or have declined your place at university using Track.

How Does UCAS Clearing 2020 Work? 

Clearing is an ideal way of finding whether any universities still have any places available on their courses. Basically, if you don’t meet the entry requirements to secure your place with your firm or insurance choices then there’s a list of unis with available places on the UCAS site. All you do is start working your way down the list, calling unis with course details that interest you and seeing if they have anything available for you. It doesn’t have to be anything to do with your previous choices.

If you haven’t applied to university already then you’ll first need to submit an application. Once this has been done UCAS will send you a starter pack which will include crucial details of how you can log on to Track. You’ll also receive a Clearing number as well as advice, searching for vacancies, how to contact universities and how to add the course in Track.

When Does Clearing Open? 

Wondering when does Clearing 2020 open? You’re not the only one! UCAS Clearing officially opens on Monday 6th July 2020. If you’ve already got your results, you can start your clearing UCAS application  process. If not, you’ll be able to enter Clearing on A Level results day (4 August in Scotland, Thursday 13 August in the rest of the UK), if you decide it’s for you. You can apply to UCAS Clearing up until the deadline which is the 20th October 2020. 

How to Use UCAS Clearing 2020?

When using the UCAS Clearing process you should try to prepare in advance, make a list of all the universities and Clearing vacancies which appear to interest you and put them in order of highest priority. That way if you do wish to find a new opportunity you’ll have them all organised. 

Higher ranked university places can fill up extremely quickly so if you have the contact details ready on A Level results day you can start ringing straight away. Top Tip: make sure you have your Clearing number with you.

How Do I Get a Place? 

Missed out on your grades, or decided to turn down your offers? Start working down the lists and calling unis, with your Clearing number, UCAS ID and results to hand (all that info is available on Track). 

Got your grades already? You’ll need to complete a full application (which you can do after the 30th June) on the UCAS site first. After that, you follow exactly the same process as above. Unis will let you know what they have available and if they’re willing to make you an informal offer. You can then go away and think about it. Once you’ve made your mind up, contact them and accept the offer. Once they give you permission, you can add that course to your choices on Track. 

Adding the course to Track means you’ve accepted the offer, and they’ll send you a confirmation. And that’s it! You’re going to uni. Time to start investigating student finances and looking forward to the road ahead. We recommend perfecting your tea making skills too, it’s a great ice-breaker during Freshers’ Week. 

Don’t go on holiday during clearing or results day for that matter. This is a vital time of the year for students and can ultimately set you up for your future! Try to remain positive if you didn’t get accepted to your chosen university. It’s not the end of the world and you can still go to university if that’s what you want!

Check Track!

Ensure you regularly check UCAS Track for the feature ‘Add Clearing Choice’, once you are eligible this option will appear on the Track Choices screen. If you’re limited to options you could always consider broadening your subject search or consider a joint course if it suits your career aspirations. 

It’s not advisable to ask someone to ring the university on your behalf. We understand this can feel nerve wracking but it doesn’t have to be and the university will only want to help you! Most universities will only offer you a place when talking with the applicant directly.

Clearing can be stressful but it’s important to keep going! Remember there are 1000’s of students in the same boat as you so keep trying and you will get there!

Don’t forget: you can only have one Clearing choice at a time so pick wisely.

Teenagers going to university through UCAS clearing 2019

Why Might I Consider Clearing?

Clearing is a fantastic backup option if you didn’t get the grades required to attend the university of your choice. It’s also a useful tool in many other circumstances. These can include:

You’re interested in a different course – you may have become more aware of a different career you want to pursue and an alternative degree might be required

You’ve changed your mind – feelings can change from your first university application and that’s completely fine! You might not want to move away from home and need to look for a closer university or vice versa. 

No previous offers – Clearing is a useful tool to use if you don’t currently hold any offers. 

Unsure about university – Don’t worry! Everyone has their doubts and it’s such a big step in your life so if you decided to wait until Clearing and you now know that this is the right route for you.

Better grades than your expectations – Well done you! If you receive better grades than what you expected then that’s brilliant. You can now apply for a different course or university that require higher grades. This can be done through Clearing or the UCAS Adjustment Service. 

Clearing Open Days

Are you worried that you didn’t attend an Open Day for the university you’re considering through Clearing. Many students go to Open Days when choosing their first to fifth choice unis. 

However, most universities now run Open Days for Clearing applicants. If there isn’t an Open Day event then don’t worry, you could always contact them and ask to look around prior to committing. 

Introducing the New UCAS Clearing Feature – Self-release

UCAS has a new Clearing feature this year, if you already hold a university but want to apply to a different university then you will be able to use UCAS self-release.This is available from the 1 July 2020. 

In past years, students would have to contact their chosen university to ask to be released prior to applying for an alternative uni. Now you can use UCAS Self-release to enable eligibility to Clearing. To do this you will need to:

Log into your Track account and decline your place using the button on your profile page.
You will then be taken to page which helps you to understand your actions and what this will mean. You’ll then complete a series of questions and confirm whether you want to release yourself into Clearing.

Made a mistake? Phone UCAS immediately!

There are many advantages to Self-release, you’ll no longer have to wait for universities to accept your request to enter Clearing 2020. Instead the power is in your hands! Clearing hotlines are extremely busy and you can spend a lot of time on hold but not this year. 

Self-release isn’t something that should be done without deep consideration. Your existing university may not still be available should you change your mind. So make sure you are 100% certain on your decision.

UCAS Clearing 2020 Tips 

  • Missed your grades? Before you do anything, contact your Firm and Insurance offer unis and explain the situation. They may still accept you
  • No luck? Take a breath. If you end up with no offers, give yourself time to feel that disappointment, get some hugs in, have a small cry, whatever you need. No shame in it. Then dust yourself off and hit the phones: thousands of people get to uni through Clearing every year, so you can as well
  • Be calm, be courteous, be confident: the people on the end of the phone want to help you find a place
  • Don’t worry if you’re not sure about anything: unis are very good at this and have experts on hand to advise you
  • Get input from your school, parents and friends. You’re making big decisions, it’s fine to get help

Direct Contact Service

UCAS also offer a direct contact service which was created to help you find a uni place. If you sign up universities will contact you during Clearing if they feel they have a course suited to you. 

What to Do If Clearing Doesn’t Work Out?

If you decide against applying through Clearing you can always look into other options. You might decide to take a gap year and revise your plan at a later date. You might also decide to work, volunteer or even resit your A Level exams and apply again next year. Additionally, if you’re looking for a different pathway you might want to look into degree apprenticeships. A degree apprenticeship combines hands on training and off the job learning enabling you to work towards a degree qualification while earning. 


If you’re worried about results day, don’t be! We understand that this is easier said than done but there are plenty of options through Clearing and Adjustment. Think of this as a big achievement in your life and enjoy it regardless of the outcome!

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