Clearing top tips

Clearing explained

If you get your results and you don't get the university place that you’d hoped for, don’t panic, you still have plenty of options – the Clearing system could help you find your solution. In fact, it might unlock opportunities you had never even considered. Use our guide to navigating your way through Clearing, and remember – stay calm.

What is Clearing? 

Clearing is the process universities use to fill remaining vacancies on their courses (often with slightly lowered entry requirements), by matching them with a suitable student who is without a place at university.

Who can use Clearing?

You can use Clearing if you:

  • Apply after 30 June
  • Applied before 30 June, but didn’t receive any offers (or any that you wanted to accept)
  • Didn’t meet the conditions of your offer.

You can find out more information by visiting the UCAS Confirmation and Clearing toolkit

Clearing timeline

From the evening before A level results day, right through to when you confirm your place, our handy timeline will take you step by step through your Clearing journey.

Download your Clearing timeline

Finance and accommodation

Student finance

Undergraduate fees are published on university websites and you can get a tuition fee loan to cover the full amount alongside your student maintenance loan, so nothing is paid upfront to the university.

For more information visit student finance.

Already applied for a loan but your details have changed due to Clearing?

If this is the case, then your application details will need to be changed. If you’re funded by Student Finance England, this can be done easily and quickly at student finance by logging into your student account, or by contacting the relevant funder if you live elsewhere.

Applying to university through Clearing but haven't applied for a loan yet?

The official deadlines for student finance applications have past but don't worry you can still apply. However, please be aware that the funding body may not be able to process your application in time for the beginning of your course. Whatever happens, the funding body will make sure you have some money as close to the start of your course as possible.

Student maintenance loan

The online applicaton process does take a while to complete and your parents or guardians need to complete parts too so make sure you do it as early as possible. Maintenance loans are means tested against household income, but you don’t have to repay either loan until the April after you graduate and only if you are earning over £21,000. Until you reach this £21,000 earning threshold you won't pay a penny. Then the repayments are done on a sliding scale depending on your earnings.

Find your place with Plymouth University through Clearing and receive University guaranteed accommodation.

University accommodation

There are lots of university accommodation options out there, although your options available coming through Clearing may be limited and will vary across different universities, so it is worth doing a bit of research. When calling a university on A Level results day, you can enquire about what accommodation is still available.

We've detailed some potential options, but be aware different types of accommodation have a range of prices so make sure the rent is in your price range.

University owned halls

A great opportunity to meet people straight away when you arrive at university and it’s often your flat mates that become your first university friends!

Living at home

If you are going to a university that is commutable from home, then you can always continue to live at home during your studies, and perhaps save some money.

What happens next?

Once you have booked a room, research what to bring with you and arrivals information for the big move! You may also like to join university social media pages to meet new flat mates and find out about Fresher’s week events. For more information visit student accommodation.

"When I arrived, the Residence Life Team made me feel really welcome..."
Veronica – first year student living in Mary Newman Halls

Telephone: +44 1752 588644
Follow: @PlymUniResLife

What our students say...

Nanna Sivamanoharan
Biomedical sciences

"Clearing changed my life 100 per cent! I am more than happy that I ended up in Plymouth. It was not my first choice, as I lived in London. However, after visiting on an open day I fell in love with the city and the campus. It made me see how amazing it was, compared to other smaller universities that had less to offer. I was devastated when I failed to get the grades for optometry. But I was offered a place to study biomedical sciences instead, I did some research and was impressed enough to take a shot.

It has paid off as I’m currently undertaking various work experience programmes while studying, and really enjoying life here. My course has given me a load of experience into the field I initially wanted to study, meaning graduate opportunities will arise and I feel a lot more prepared for that. The student life here is great and I have made a lot of friends."

Nanna's top tip for Clearing: "Don’t panic. It may seem like there are no choices left but trust me, sometimes the best decisions come from going through Clearing. Call the place you want to go to as soon as you have your results, and make sure you know exactly what you want. Stay patient, positive, and keep persisting."

Sophie Lamden
Theatre and performance

"I am so happy I came here, it was definitely the right place for me and I threw myself into the University, joining a society, becoming an ambassador and doing everything that has made it the best years of my life.

My course is slightly different to the type of theatre I originally wanted to study, but it has developed my skills and ideas. There seems to be a stigma that if you go through Clearing you may not be smart enough, but I achieved a 1st for my second year, the top mark in my year for my course! Try not to see it as a bad thing, as it may be a blessing in disguise.

I think how lucky I am that I ended up going through Clearing. I love the course, I love the people and I love the place!"

Sophie's top tip for Clearing: "Trust your gut and make your decision as quickly as you can. I hadn't visited Plymouth but I felt that would be the best place so I confirmed the offer and then I went to the Clearing and Confirmation day and it was the best decision I ever made."

Our top tips for Clearing

Be prepared

  • Do your research before results day and make sure that you have a good back up plan if you don't do quite as well as you expect.
  • Talk with your school or college careers advisers about the different courses that can still help you along the same career path.
  • Consider the fact that entry requirements for courses with vacancies during Clearing can be more flexible so it's worth phoning up the university to find out more.  

Don't panic

Keep calm and take your time before you make any decisions. UCAS won't allow you to make any applications until 3pm on results day so there is time for you to phone universities and consider your options on results day.

Consider your options

Think about courses that are similar to the one you originally applied for, joint honours and maybe the option to study at foundation level.


Decide what is the most important thing for you. This could be the location, the course, or the university itself.

Keep an open mind

You may eventually settle for a course that is completely different to the one you originally applied for but it may work out much better than you expect.