Prospective student with parents speaking to University staff on Open Day

Help your child in clearing

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

When a child you care for gets their exam results it's a stressful time, especially if you're worried that they might not quite get the grades to get them where they want to go.

Try not to worry. Every year thousands of young people find a different path through Clearing. Here you'll find information to help you understand Clearing and to help you support your child if they don't get the results they were hoping for. 

What is Clearing?

Clearing happens every year and it's the process where students are matched with courses that universities have available. Most universities in the UK will have places available in Clearing, but not all courses will be available. Courses such as medicine are rarely available in Clearing.

Clearing opened this year on 5 July. UK, EU and International students can apply through Clearing as soon as they have their results. Most students in the UK are taking A levels or T levels and will apply through Clearing on results day, which this year is Thursday 18 August. On this day, and for several days afterwards, universities will have hotline numbers to call about Clearing, alongside online application forms and chatbots to answer questions.

Things move very fast on results day and the most popular courses fill-up quickly. It is therefore important to be prepared. 

How does Clearing work?

When they log into their UCAS Hub on results day your child will be able to see if they've been successful in getting their firm or insurance places. If they've been unsuccessful they'll see that their Clearing number has appeared automatically. This is the code they'll need to use to secure any future course offer they want to accept.

If they've been successful in getting a place, maybe at their insurance choice of university, but they don't want to go there, they can also use Clearing to change universities. 

Either way, it's essentially a 2-step process. They must: 

  1. call, email or chat to universities they're interested in to get an offer of a place through Clearing
  2. once that offer is confirmed they then use UCAS to release themselves into Clearing and submit their new offer and acceptance

If your child hasn't applied for university this year at all yet they can also use Clearing to get a place to start in September. In this instance the whole process would be handled directly with the university. 

How to apply through Clearing

Your child is not alone

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

Meet students who joined us through clearing

How to help your child prepare for Clearing

Your child is likely to be stressed and upset if they don't get the results they need. Feeling prepared and understanding their options in advance can really help to manage this stress.

You can't call universities for them, but you can help them make sure they've got everything they need when they make the call. They'll need to know their GCSE grades as well as their Year 13 results, they'll need their UCAS ID, their full address and postcode and they'll need an idea of what questions to ask - what do they want to know about the course and university?

Have a look at some of the resources we've created to help you and them manage this stressful time.

What to do about student finance

It's really important that your child remembers to update their student finance application. If they're changing university, or changing where they plan to live (such as staying at home instead of being in halls), then student finance need to know this.

If they haven't yet made their application for student finance then they need to do it now. With a late application it's worth thinking about how your child might be able to cover a gap in funding if their loan doesn't come through before the start of term. 

Student finance for Clearing guide

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.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions – Encourage your child to think about what they want to know before they call universities. If you - or your child - have questions before results day send us your questions and we'll be happy to reply
  • Act quickly on results day – 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.

Still got questions?

You may find the answer in our Clearing frequently asked questions.

Clearing FAQs