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UCAS Clearing 2021: A Complete Guide to Study in a University Once Again

The earlier you start the process of clearing, the more vacancies you will find. But if you fail to meet the deadline, then don’t worry; there are always options for bright students like you! Here’s our complete guide on how to prepare for UCAS Clearing. 

What is UCAS?


UCAS or Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is a centralized application service for applying to any university in the United Kingdom. For international students, there is another body called CAO (Central Applications Office) that handles applications from outside of the UK. 


When does UCAS open?


The earlier you start your application process, the better. The deadline for applications is in mid-January. This means that you should start researching universities, writing your personal statement early enough to have time to perfect it, and get at least one academic reference. If you’re a domestic student applying for an undergraduate course, then the process is relatively simple compared to a postgraduate or international student. 

You can start preparing for this as soon as you receive your A-level results in August or early September. 

However, there are different deadlines for different universities dependent on their requirements and availability of courses. Some institutions will require that you apply before the end of November while others may give you until mid-December. If you want to study a course that requires a supplementary application, then the deadline for this will fall in early December.


What does UCAS contain?


The UCAS contains information about courses available in universities and colleges across the UK along with their entry requirements and tuition fees. Students from outside of the European Union have a different tuition fee structure.


How to use UCAS?


You can search for courses offered at universities and colleges by subject, institution, location, grade requirements, and other factors. If you know the name of your desired university or college then you can look for them in the list. 

The most important part is where you enter all of your qualifications such as your GCSE, AS Level, and A-level results. There is a simple interactive guide to help you fill in the information correctly for this section.

After that, you will need to write your personal statement where you can show yourself off as an applicant who would be perfect for any university or college of their choice. 

If you’re applying to a highly competitive course, then you need to ensure that your personal statement is out of the world. Transtutors experts can help you write the best personal statement for college admissions!


What is UCAS Clearing?


The ‘Clearing’ is a process of matching students with vacancies in higher education. If you have not received the results of your application or want to study in a university after completing A-Levels, then ‘Clearing’ is the right option for you!

UCAS Clearing gives its name to the period when universities accept new applicants through this process. The main aim behind UCAS clearing is to offer its students, who secure poorer than expected grades or fail to meet the application deadline of UCAS, an opportunity to continue their education.

The ‘Clearing’ is meant for those applicants, whose conditions are not fulfilled by any other provision like Adjustment (where admission results of another applicant may be readjusted), Restricted (where universities set a limit on the number of students they want), or Conditional (normally saved as the last option).

To check whether you qualify to enter Clearing, follow these steps:

  • Check your UCAS application status and confirm if it is either ‘Offer’ or ‘Cleared’. If it isn’t, then follow the procedure below to find out your options:
    • Prepare a list of three universities that you would prefer to take a chance at Clearing. It could be any university from within UK or outside. Just start with those you have even the slightest interest in and later on, give them a final thought according to the rules of Clearing.
    • Check for A-Level grades or equivalent qualifications as all applicants will be asked to score a minimum of 300 UCAS points by the universities they wish to join. Prepare a list of the courses you are interested in and match it with your academic record. Remember that AAA is higher than BBC, so work according to your targets.
    • If you are still in dilemma, consult an adviser at the university or college you are interested in. This way not only will it help you decide better but will also benefit others who are stuck in a similar situation as well! You can take advice from multiple universities before deciding on one course to pursue.
  • After deciding on the course, contact universities that offer it through UCAS and let them know of your interest. You will have to quote their reference number along with your application number to get a response from them.

In case you still do not receive a satisfactory response or want more options, enter Clearing by following the procedure given in Clearing.


How to enter Clearing?

If you have not received a response from any of the universities that you applied for earlier, then here is how to enter the UCAS clearing process:

  • Check your application status on UCAS Track and confirm if it is either ‘Offer’ or ‘Cleared’. If it is the latter, then you are eligible to enter Clearing. Follow the steps mentioned above until consulting an adviser at the university or college you are interested in. 

This does not only help you decide better but also benefits others who are stuck in a similar situation as well! You can take advice from multiple universities before deciding on one course to pursue.

  • After deciding on the course, contact universities that offer it through UCAS and let them know of your interest. You will have to quote their reference number along with your application number to get a response from them.

You can choose any of the courses mentioned as part of your list and be eligible for them without wasting your time by going through the whole application process again. Keep in mind that your A-Level grades/equivalent qualifications will be the deciding factor when it comes to getting admitted to universities through Clearing 2021.


Important Dates to Remember:


The ‘Clearing’ is how universities and colleges fill any places they still have on their courses after their admission processes have taken place. You should check: 

  • A-Levels and Scottish Higher exam dates – Check your specific country’s entry requirements for this information.
  • UKCAT, BMAT, and LNAT test dates are also mentioned on UCAS Track.
  • Visit UCAS to download the official timetable and mark out the dates of your choice so that you can start preparing well in advance.

In 2021, you can apply for a course through UCAS Clearing from July 5 to October 19 – if you do not already have an offer from a college or a university and the course you want to apply for still has vacancies.

Generally speaking, you can use UCAS clearing if:

  • you’re applying after June 30 of your admission year,
  • you didn’t receive any offers you are interested in,
  • you didn’t meet the conditions of admission offers you receive, and
  • you have paid the multiple-choice application fee of £26.

Remember, to apply for Clearing, you must decline your place on any offers you receive in the UCAS Track.


How to make the best use of Clearing?


Though Clearing is the last option, you must not give up hope immediately and waste your time by applying here and there. It is because clearing courses are sometimes a better option than going through the whole application process again. Given below are some tips to help you make the most of it:

  • You can enter Clearing even before your A-Level results get published by following the steps given in this article.
  • Remember that your A-Level grades or equivalent qualifications are the most deciding criteria in most universities. Thus, you must calculate your chances of getting admitted before applying through Clearing 2021.
  • For some universities offering courses through Clearing, they only consider the first choices made by applicants so it is better to choose them as your first option. This way, you will remain safe and also not waste your chance by checking out other universities.

Apart from the course of your dream university, keep a hold on other courses as well that might be of interest to you and list them in order of preference. This way, if you receive any admission offers, later on, you can select the course that suits you best.

It is also advisable to keep in touch with the universities offering courses through a clearing list so that you are updated with all their latest information. This will help you make better decisions and apply only when the right course becomes available at your preferred university after A-Level results are out.


UCAS for International Students


International students must note that they do not need to go through the whole application process again if their A-Level grades/equivalent qualifications are not good enough for them to get admitted to their university of choice. If your results don’t meet the conditions of your offer, you can enter Clearing and search for courses starting from September.

British Council (a UK-based council) annually conducts a study to find out how much Clearing has benefitted international students.

The study reveals that the decision of the British council to credit A-Level results as part of their entrance exams has immensely helped international students applying for universities through clearing list as they now have an equal opportunity as British applicants.

Moreover, English language requirements have also decreased which allows more international students to apply.

Last but not least, the study has found out that applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds are benefitting from Clearing in a great way as universities these days focus on their inclusion in higher education.


What is Clearing Plus?


When you use the Clearing Plus service, UCAS scans your application and matches you with the courses you might be interested in and where universities and colleges are looking for students like you.

You are matched with 50 courses that match your profile best. You can choose which ones you are interested in and if they have vacancies, they might give you a call.

Please note that Clearing Plus isn’t available for everyone. It is only available to students who are applying for a place in Clearing for the first time, or those who have been unsuccessful with their college applications.

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October 20, 2021

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