The weeks leading up to the big day are nerve-wracking. You’ve been out of school or college for what feels like an eternity, patiently waiting for that all-important letter to come through the door to tell you if you’ve made it or not. The levels of stress you’re feeling have given you an almost zen-like perspective on life, the universe and everything; you have transcended anxiety and now experience space and time as a single entity.  

If any of that sounds familiar, then it means you’re probably waiting for your all-important exam results. The UK’s attitude to academic achievement has been criticised for depending too heavily on single results like GCSEs and A-levels examinations, which is why we’re happy to tell you that while that piece of paper may seem like the most important thing in the world, there are still plenty of options open to you if your results are not quite what you hoped for.  

Clearing 2018 – What Is It?  

While at your sixth-form or college, you will probably have spoken with a careers advisor about the steps you might take after you complete your studies. Some may go off straight into the world of work, others may be starting apprenticeships, but around half will likely go into higher education. To do so, each student will apply for a selection of courses at various institutions throughout the UK. 

Alongside your careers advisor, you probably selected courses and HE providers based on the projected grades provided by your teachers for a UCAS application. There are several ways Clearing can come into play; the primary reason being if you didn’t manage to achieve any of the grades required on your UCAS application. For the first time since you were five-years-old, you don’t have a rigid structure in place to tell you what you’ll be doing next, and that can feel pretty scary.  

There are other reasons students enter Clearing, such as submitting UCAS applications too late; nonetheless, an essential requirement is that you do not have a place on a higher education course. To enter UCAS Clearing, you can’t have any outstanding offers from HE providers. It may be that your selection of institutions didn’t make you an offer, you didn’t get the grades to fulfil the conditions of an offer, you declined the offer an institution made you, or you applied through UCAS too late. If you fulfil the conditions, you’ll automatically be given a UCAS Clearing number through your UCAS profile online. 

Once you’ve got your Clearing number, you can start checking vacancies within the platform via the Find Clearing Vacancies option (institutions usually begin postings vacancies in the summer). From here, you can directly contact institutions about the places available and ask questions, such as if they have any grade requirements and whether they can provide accommodation.  

What You Need to Know about Clearing 

Clearing criteria can be different from institution to institution; some may require a passing grade from a relevant course, while others will need reasonably good grades and an explanation as to why you are a good fit, both for the course and the institution. It’s also worth noting that getting in contact with an HE provider during the Clearing period can be tricky, so it’s best to have several backup options.  

After speaking with an HE provider’s admissions officer, you may receive a verbal agreement; from here you can enter the details via UCAS. The HE provider will then let UCAS know if the application has been accepted and changes will be updated via UCAS Track.  

There’s no limit to how many universities you can contact during the Clearing period, so aim for verbal agreements from several that interest you. If you know Clearing will be the route you follow to get into an HE course, start researching which cities or institutions you want to join now and get ahead of the crowd.  

Interested in applying for a UKCBC course but submitted your application too late? Contact UKCBC’s course advisors today to discuss what steps you can take. They’ve helped thousands of people apply for UKCBC courses both inside and outside of the Clearing period, and their advice might help you make that important next step. 

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