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Parents & Guardians Clearing Advice

A few pointers to help make University Clearing smooth sailing

What is CLearing?

Clearing is a way to match up students who don’t have a university place with universities looking to fill extra places on degree courses. The Clearing process puts the ball firmly in the student’s court - it’s an opportunity for them to find out which universities are looking for students and to phone up universities to try to secure a place.

Contrary to popular belief Clearing isn’t only for students who don’t get the grades they need to take up a conditional offer. Anyone who hasn’t yet applied to university or hasn’t received any offers by 30 June will automatically be eligible to apply through Clearing. Students who change their mind about which university to go to, or which course or subject area to study can also go through Clearing to find a different place. Anyone who’s waiting to receive their results on 17 August 2017, can enter Clearing on results day. Students taking BTEC or other qualifications that release results during July and before 17 August can enter Clearing as their results become available; they don’t need to wait.

Clearing starts on Wednesday 5 July 2017 when UCAS publishes the list of vacancies and University Clearing hotlines open. Some university hotlines open earlier - including Portsmouth’s - so students can find out information about available courses ahead of Clearing starting, although universities can’t offer places until Clearing officially begins on 5 July.

Not all universities and not all courses are available in Clearing, so it’s worth checking what is available before results are known.

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How does Clearing work?

Students can find out if they’re eligible for Clearing by logging into their UCAS Track record. They will also receive an email from their Firm and Insurance universities confirming if they have been successful in obtaining a place. If your prospective student missed the grades they needed for both their Firm and Insurance offers, their Clearing Number will appear in Track automatically. The Clearing Number is the code they use to secure any future course offer they want to accept.

As soon as they have their Clearing Number and their list of university and course choices, they can start calling up university hotlines. If they’re asked to apply to a course and want to take up the place, they need to add the course as their Clearing choice in track. They can only enter one choice.

Clearing moves at a rapid pace; students are ready to make calls and find out which courses are available at different universities from early on results day. Preparation is key to students getting the course and university they want.

View our Top Five Clearing Tips

How to help your prospective student prepare for Clearing

Help them research alternative degrees and universities - If your prospective student is thinking of entering Clearing either out of choice or necessity, they should start preparing for Clearing as soon as possible. If they’ve done their homework and researched alternative universities and courses, they can start phoning universities as soon as the hotlines open or as soon as they get their grades on their results day.

You can help focus their research by discussing the pros and cons of different universities and courses such as affordability, distance from home, work experience opportunities and career prospects. You can find this information on the UCAS website, the universities’ own websites and other sites like the Complete University Guide and Guardian University Guide.

The thought of Clearing can be quite daunting or frightening, so it is worth being aware that thousands of students are placed through Clearing every year. With good preparation Clearing is often a successful process. View real student clearing stories.

Help them get ready for phoning universities - The phone call your prospective student makes to the university of their choice could be one of the most important calls of their life. They should treat it like a job interview and prepare themselves thoroughly.

You can’t make the call for them but you can help them get ready by running through their answers to possible questions, discussing questions they could ask the universities, reading their personal statement with them, and keeping them calm. You could also help gather the information they’ll need for the call: their Clearing Number, UCAS Personal ID, details of their qualifications (including A-level, AS-level, GCSE and equivalent results), login details for UCAS Track, and their notes on the course/university.

Head to our Clearing FAQs page for details of the University of Portsmouth’s clearing process.

Go to open days - If you’ve got the time, try to go with your prospective student to as many open days as you can. Open days are the best way to discover details about universities and courses that you might not find easily online. Make the most of open days by exploring the facilities, talking to lecturers and current students, and attending course talks. If you can’t attend an open day, try to visit the city to get a feel for where your prospective student might be living.

You could also speak to friends and family about their university experiences to discover universities and courses your prospective student might not have considered.

Find out more about Clearing Visit Days

Things to remember

  • Once the exams are over take some time to think about the possible need for Clearing - if it were needed, which courses and universities would be the best options for your prospective student.
  • Take time to look at websites, get to know what the universities offer, what grades students need to go there, and how suitable the universities might be.
  • Think about the process positively - Clearing is a normal part of every admissions year and universities welcome Clearing applicants. Students should not feel worried about it as there are lots of others doing the same thing.
  • Ask as many questions as is helpful to enable them understand and feel comfortable with the decisions that you both make. We want to help you make the right decisions.
  • Act swiftly - Don’t delay once the results are out. The quicker your prospective student finds out what is available and secures what they want, the sooner they can start planning their life at university and hit the ground running when they get there.

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