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Clearing hotline – 023 9284 8090

Sail through Clearing with these 7 steps

You can use Clearing if any of the following apply to you:

  • You don't get the exam results you need for your firm (first) or insurance (second) choice courses
  • You don’t hold any offers
  • You're applying for the first time
  • You've accepted an offer but change your mind about the course you want to do

Ready to apply to us through Clearing? Call our Clearing Hotline on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or complete this short application form.

Not quite ready or need to know what to do once you get an offer? Read this step-by-step guide to applying through Clearing.

Coronavirus information for students

Things will be a little different in 2020/21. We've put new safety measures in place across campus and have plenty of guidance on how to stay safe and what to do if you or someone you live with comes into contact with coronavirus.

See our coronavirus information for students to find out what to expect when you get here.

How to apply through Clearing

Applying through Clearing might seem complicated or overwhelming at first, but it's a simple process when you break it down into these steps:

1. Prepare yourself

There's lots you can do before Clearing starts. Our guide on preparing for Clearing 2020 covers what to do before you contact universities, including how to make a shortlist of courses and universities and what questions to ask when you get in touch.

We've also created a free Clearing help sheet (PDF) that you can download and print off to help shortlist courses and universities.

It's best to do this in the days or weeks before Clearing starts, even if you're confident about your exam results. But don't panic if you haven't thought about Clearing in advance – even spending a few minutes preparing yourself before you contact unis puts you in a great position.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, you can bookmark our guide on how to beat stress and anxiety during Clearing, and press play on the Spotify playlist we made you to help you stay positive during Clearing.

2. Check Clearing course vacancies regularly

The availability of courses changes rapidly in Clearing, so you need to keep an eye on the latest vacancies.

You can see all Clearing vacancies on the UCAS website and on university websites.

3. Contact universities and get offers

When you contact a uni, you need to make sure you're comfortable and have all the information you need to hand so you can show yourself in your best light.

You’ll need to tell them:

  • Your personal details – address, phone number and email address
  • Your qualifications and grades
  • Your UCAS Personal ID (if you applied through UCAS – but don’t worry if you don’t have this on you)

Most universities need you to call them or fill in an online form but you can contact some by email and social media too.

You can also use Clearing Plus by going to the 'My matches' option in UCAS Track and selecting the 'I’m interested button' for the courses you’re interested in. This allows universities to contact you. But it might mean you miss out on popular courses if universities have already filled places via their phone lines or websites.

To apply through Clearing:

You can also ask us a question or message us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Getting an offer

When you get an offer, ask for written confirmation and check for how long the offer stands.

Most universities give you a timeframe of 12–48 hours in which to formally accept a verbal or written offer in Clearing. So you should have a bit of time to contact other universities and consider your options before you accept.

If we make you an offer by phone or online chat, we confirm it by email. We'll give you 24 hours to accept it.

We'll ask you to read through our Clearing terms and conditions before you accept an offer.

Starting in 2022 instead of 2021

If you want to take a year out before you start your course, we consider ‘deferred entry’ for some courses during Clearing.

We'll let you know if this option is available for your chosen course when you contact us.

Tips for contacting universities during Clearing

  • Find a quiet, comfortable space with good phone and Web access, away from distractions
  • Keep a list of questions to ask so you get the information you need to make the right choice
  • Have an idea of what to say to stand out, such as highlighting your qualities and experience
  • If you're thinking of studying a different course to your original application, let the advisor know what area you're interested in and why – they can talk about courses they offer
  • Keep a notepad nearby to jot down information about your conversations – write down the person's name and a summary of what you discussed including any deadlines for accepting an offer or getting back to them
  • Contact universities yourself – don't ask a parent, teacher or friend to call, unless you absolutely must
  • Be prepared for a telephone interview with a lecturer as some courses might require this
  • Don't give up if the first few universities on your shortlist don’t offer you a place – stay positive and keep calling
  • If your first choice says no, give them another call, as entry requirements can change during Clearing
  • Don't forget to take breaks – get some fresh air and eat regularly to keep your energy levels up
  • Download and print our free Clearing help sheet (PDF) to list the contact details you'll need on the day

4. Accept an offer

Accepting an offer through UCAS

If you applied to university through UCAS, you can accept an offer in UCAS Track. Remember that you can only accept one offer in UCAS Track, so don't be too hasty in making your decision.

If you have any difficulty adding your Clearing choice in Track, or you've missed the deadline, let the university know as soon as possible.

Accepting an offer if you didn't apply through UCAS

If we offer you a place and you didn't apply through UCAS, follow the link in your email confirmation and complete our online Record of Prior Acceptance form to accept it.

Sending proof of qualifications

UCAS sends us results for most types of qualifications as soon as they’re available. So you usually don’t have to do anything when you get your results if you applied through UCAS.

We'll tell you if you do need to send us your results because you applied to us directly or UCAS can’t send them to us.

portsmouth clearing accommodation

5. Sort out your accommodation

Your next step after accepting an offer is to sort out where you're going to live. After all, it's only a matter of weeks until you start your course.

When you contact us about Clearing, we'll give you all the details you need about your accommodation options and put you in touch with a student housing adviser if you need help finding somewhere to live.

You can also contact our Student Housing team by calling +44 (0)2392 843 214 or emailing student.housing@port.ac.uk

6. Update your student finance application

If you're from England

If you've already applied for your student loan and you go through Clearing, you need to log into your account and go to Your Account > Change your application > University/college course to update your details. Student Finance England will re-assess your application and let you know if there are any changes to the amount you'll get. 

If you haven't applied for a student loan yet, don't panic. Apply as soon as you can through Student Finance England. Just bear in mind that applications take at least 6 weeks to process, so you might not get all your money in time for the start of your course. However, Student Finance England does its best to give you some of your loan as close to the start of your course as possible.

If you're from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man

If you’re from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Island or Isle of Man, you can update your details and apply for student finance through your local government or education authority:

7. Get ready for your arrival at uni

Once you've formally accepted your offer, sorted your accommodation and checked your student finance application, it's time to get ready for your arrival.

Our guide to joining the university lists everything you need to do before you get here.

Contact us about Clearing

To apply through Clearing:

You can also ask us a question or message us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

When you contact us by phone or online chat, we can normally give you a decision there and then.

When you complete the application form, we receive this straight away and an admissions officer will be in touch with you to confirm the next steps.

Our Clearing hotline and live chat is open 10.00am–4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 10.00am–4.00pm on Fridays.

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