Clearing advice for Parents and guardians

A prospective student and parent talking to an assistant at a University of Portsmouth Open Day

Help your child in clearing

Use our guide to support your child in choosing the right university and course

What is Clearing?

If a student's results aren't what they expected, they've changed their mind about where or what to study, or they've only just decided to go to university, Clearing is the process they enter to select the right course and university. Anyone who hasn't applied or received an offer by the 30th June is eligible to apply through Clearing.

Anyone who’s waiting to receive their results can enter Clearing on results day in mid-August. Students taking BTEC or other qualifications that release results during July and before mid-August can enter Clearing as their results become available.

Clearing officially starts on Wednesday 5 July 2018, when UCAS publishes the list of vacancies. Some hotlines, including ours, open earlier so students can get all the information they need before Clearing starts.

Not all universities and not all courses are available in Clearing, so it’s worth checking before your child calls their chosen university.

How does Clearing work?

If your child missed the grades they needed for both their Firm and Insurance offers, they can find out if they’re eligible for Clearing by logging into their UCAS Track record. Their Clearing Number will appear in Track automatically. This 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 university Clearing 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.

Clearing moves at a rapid pace, with students calling early on results day. Preparation is key to students getting the choice they want, so it's worth taking the time to research options beforehand.

A University guide assisting a person and a parent at Open Day

Your child is not alone

Clearing is a normal part of the admissions process. Thousands of students find a Clearing place every year.

How to help your child prepare for Clearing

If your child is thinking of entering Clearing, they should get ready as early as possible. Give them a hand in researching possible university choices and course options. That way, as soon as the Clearing hotlines open on results day, they can get in touch early, and stand a better chance of securing their preferred choice. Your child might like to read our Clearing tips which include guidance on how to prepare for important university phone calls. 

Research course and university choices

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.

For an overview of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth, browse our 'Why Portsmouth' section.

Clearing can seem quite daunting, but it’s worth remembering that thousands of students find a university place through Clearing every year. It's a normal part of the admissions process, and universities will be welcoming and happy to help secure your child a place at university. With good preparation, Clearing can be a successful process, as some of our students say.

Prepare to phone universities

Help them get ready for phoning universities. The phone call your child 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, 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 and university.

Things to remember

  • Take time to look at university websites – Get to know what the universities offer, what grades students need to be accepted there, and how suitable the universities and cities are for your son or daughter.
  • 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 lots of their peers are in the same boat.
  • Ask as many questions as you need - Help them understand and feel comfortable with the decisions that you both make.
  • Act swiftly – Make sure your child responds quickly once results are out. The quicker your child finds out what courses are available and secures the place they want, the sooner they can start planning their life at university and hit the ground running when they get there.