Male and female student smiling in graduation robes

What is Clearing?

Clearing is how universities fill places on their courses. You can apply to university through Clearing if:
  • You haven’t met the conditions of your offers
  • you haven’t made a UCAS application this year
  • you haven’t received any offers (or none that you want to accept).

Before results day

Be proactive in the lead-up to results day by informing yourself of the timelines and creating a Plan B.
  • Applicants can register their details now to access our priority line for Clearing and save time on results day. 
  • Be aware of important times and dates. Clearing is open from 5 July 2024. 
  • Make yourself aware of the process – read our step-by-step guide to Clearing 
  • Encourage your child to think about backup universities and course choices ahead of results day.
  • If you know your child is going to be away or unavailable on results day, make sure to set yourself up as an intermediary contact on their UCAS application beforehand, this allows you to talk to universities on behalf of your child.

Our son did look at league tables for his subject and locations he was interested in, but I tried to remind him other things were important to him initially and that the league tables fluctuate so much, they aren’t everything.


On results day

Although lots of schools will have teachers on hand to advise, you can also help your child navigate Clearing.
  • Stay calm and positive. Your child may be disappointed but there are so many options out there for students going through Clearing, and there is still time to make a considered decision.
  • Make sure your child has any university correspondence and reference numbers to hand, including their UCAS reference number.
  • If your child has narrowly missed the required grades for their firm and insurance choice university, don’t panic. It is still worth ringing the universities to find out whether they can be offered an alternative course or what options they have available.
  • A lot of universities hold Clearing open days for students, considering attending one of these events with your child. 
  • If your child is too upset to ring universities, you can do this on their behalf. Universities will need confirmation from your child that they are happy for you to talk about their application, this can be done over the phone or via email.

I basically hung around my son’s room and joined him (when I was allowed!). The key was to let him know I was showing an active interest in his research, and ultimately encouraging him to come to his own decision.


One parent’s 10 tips for other parents during Clearing

Parent Mark helped support his son to apply through Clearing last year. He tells us how the day looked for them and what his advice would be to parents.
  1. Do some further research on the universities and courses you have as offers
  2. Make a list of others that you might also consider in Clearing
  3. Look for student reviews and even live chats (not directly on their website)
  4. Just before Clearing, have links or open web pages for all the university course pages – get phone numbers and pre-register
  5. Make sure phones and laptops, etc. are all fully charged
  6. Check on anything important like clubs and societies, guaranteed accommodation, or halls policies and costs, and make a shortlist
  7. Speak to friends who are considering university to see what they’re researching
  8. See whether your child can talk to one of the lecturers or a student who is studying the subject they are interested in
  9. Double-check any reviews before accepting
  10. Ensure that your child has made a note of names and contact details and is clear on what they need to do next