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8 questions on Clearing 2020
Roshna Mohan

Roshna Mohan is a Content Writer at Hotcourses India - an IDP company. A post-graduate in Biotechnology, she chose content writing as her career out of sheer interest. Reading and cooking are her stress-busters. Talk about these to take the introvert out of the ambivert. Her all-time favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Yuval Noah Harari and Robin Cook.


22 days ago Book icon 5 mins Share

8 questions on Clearing 2020

What is clearing? How is it relevant to you? We bring you the answers to these questions and more.

22 days ago Book icon 5 mins Share
8 questions on Clearing 2020

If you are looking to study in the UK, you might have heard about clearing. Clearing is a service provided by the UCAS. UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admission Service in the UK. It is an independent organisation that helps students with their admissions to universities in the UK and provides information and advice related to higher education. The board of trustees of UCAS includes leaders of higher education institutions. If you are interested in some statistics on international students studying in the UK, UCAS is the best place to find out. Most, if not all, of admissions to UK universities happen through UCAS, including clearing.  

1. What is clearing? 

Clearing is your chance to secure a spot that is still available at universities across the UK. Many universities will have vacant places for multiple courses after the regular admission procedures are completed. They will be looking to fill these thousands of seats through clearing and hence there is a fair chance of successfully enrolling in one of those universities.  

2. How is clearing relevant to me? 

If you are an undergraduate student and dream of studying in the UK, but missed securing a spot, clearing might be your ticket to the UK. If you have applied through UCAS, but have not received an offer or have declined all the offers you received, or if you failed to meet the admission requirements or delayed your application (precisely after June 30), chances are clearing could help. It is not that you must accept the first offer that comes your way. You will still have the liberty to choose from the universities that are willing to make you an offer. 

3. What is the timeline for clearing? 

Clearing happens from July to September. It is the ideal time as the plus two results in India would be out by May and students can easily know whether they meet the conditions of the offers they receive. You should consistently check the UCAS website, as the list of vacancies will be constantly updated there. It fills fast especially after the A-Level results are released in the UK. So you have to do your research on universities before you apply for clearing. It will help you make a quick decision. Clearing is mostly on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

4. How long are clearing applications accepted? 

Clearing lasts for three to four months. This year, applications for clearing were open from July and it’s available until 20th October 2020. Universities will continue to make decisions and they too have time until 20th October to process the applications and fill in the vacancies. Be aware of how much time you have to make a decision. 

5. How can I apply through clearing? 

You should have a UCAS application to be able to apply for clearing. If you are eligible for clearing, your status in Track section in UCAS will say 'You are in clearing' or something similar. You will also find a clearing number which you will have to quote while contacting the universities. The crucial parts of the process happen over the phone. The vacancies will be listed on the UCAS website. You can call up the universities for enquiries and check whether they are interested in giving you an offer.  

Most of the universities will have dedicated numbers for clearing enquiries. It is also advisable that you have all the certificates and mark lists with you for ease of access when the university requests details over the phone. Some of these phone calls can even be considered a mini interview. So be prepared for it. At the end of the conversation with the universities, you might receive offers from several universities. Next, you can go back to UCAS Track (the place where you mark your choices) and select the course and university you would like to apply for. The option is called 'add clearing choice'.  

You can only make one choice. Make sure that it is the university that you want to go to. It is important to ensure that the university is interested in enrolling you. Otherwise, they would simply reject your application. If you make a choice and then change your mind, you will have to wait till the university accepts your application, after which you can decline and you can use clearing again. If the university accepts your application, it will appear under 'choices' and your acceptance will be official. 

6. What can I expect during the call with a university? 

It can be very informal and as simple as confirming your grades and letting you know whether they are ready to give you an offer or not. Other times, the university will be keen on confirming that you are suitable for the course. They might also be interested in knowing why you selected that particular university.  

 Talk in an enthusiastic and motivated tone. In short, you must be prepared to face questions. Do your research about the course, the university and the syllabus before the call. You should be able to convince the university that you are indeed interested in the course. A statement of purpose can come in handy. 

You might be given a deadline by a university to make a selection on UCAS if you are interested. Therefore it is ideal you contact several universities in one go. 

7. What is new for clearing 2020? 

UCAS has the new clearing system called the Clearing Plus. It is intended to simplify the whole process of clearing. In Clearing Plus, instead of students going through the multiple courses and university lists to make a choice, the system will automatically be matched to universities based on their academic achievements and their interests. Students can make use of this platform to inform the university about their interest in the course and the university will get in touch with the students to take it forward.  

Students will not have to make calls to multiple universities to express their interest. It is available for students who 'have been unsuccessful with their application or if you are applying for the first time for a place in clearing'. This helps students who might be overwhelmed with the long list of available courses and universities. 

UCAS is also allowing a self-release option starting this year. If you choose this option you don't need to wait till the university declines to get your status changed to clearing. You can click on 'Decline my place' button in Track and move to clearing. This option is available until 11th September 2020. You have to speak to your university before you take this step.

8. What is the fee for applying for clearing? 

If you already made a UCAS application, you would have paid a fee. If you paid the fees for a single choice, you would have paid GBP 20. In that case, you will have to make an additional payment of GBP 5. If you have paid for multiple choices, that is, GBP 25, then you needn't make any additional payment. If you are making a UCAS application for the first time for clearing, then you will have to pay a total of GBP 25. 

You can find more information on the UCAS webpage dedicated to clearing. There is also an FAQ page for you to find answers to questions that are not addressed in this article. Tens of thousands of students within the UK and abroad make use of clearing to secure their place at UK universities. It might be possible to directly apply to universities and not through UCAS. However, this is generally discouraged. 

Before you consider applying for clearing, research extensively and come up with a list of courses and universities that you are interested in. It will help to have the universities or courses listed on a priority basis so that it is easy to make a choice when more than one university make an offer. It can be stressful when your friends have secured places in colleges while you are still on the hunt. Do not rush into making a decision. You need not settle on the very first university that offers you the choice. Make an informed choice as l three or four years of your life will be spent at your selected university. 

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