Your years spent in university are some of the most important years of your early adulthood, so it’s important to carefully consider your options. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by university Clearing and how it all works, we’ve compiled a list of university Clearing tips including how to make best use of the UCAS search tool to find the most viable university courses in Clearing.

Do your research beforehand

Be sure to thoroughly research all universities you are considering throughout the clearing process. Consider all aspects of university life when doing your research. For example, do you need to live on campus? Does the institution you’re looking at have a good reputation and ranking for the course you are considering for study? This is one of our top university Clearing tips, since the right university can make a world of difference for starting a successful career.

Be ready with your shortlist

This is one of the top tips from past students for creating a Clearing checklist. Once you have completed your research, be ready with a shortlist of universities/courses you’d be happy to enrol in. Stick strictly to this shortlist unless none of these options are available – this way, you’re less likely to make an impulse choice that doesn’t truly align with your study ambitions.

Sell yourself as a candidate

When you contact universities to express your interest in a course vacancy via Clearing, it’s worth preparing yourself as though you were undertaking a job interview. Take the time to write down your accomplishments and other things about yourself that you can use to highlight your achievements.

Chances are you will end up talking to the head of the course, so be ready to talk passionately about why you would like to be considered for their course through Clearing. For example, if you’re applying to an art school, consider how to make an art portfolio for university in order to improve your chances of success.

Use UCAS’s portal

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’s Clearing tool is one of the most helpful tools for prospective students. UCAS’s search tool is active once Clearing positions open in July and helps connect you with all vacancies across a wide range of universities. This makes UCAS’s Clearing search extremely beneficial to you, as it’s an official list of Clearing vacancies in the UK.

UCAS will also provide you with your Clearing number, which you will need to cite to any universities you intend to apply to in order for them to find your application.

There are also some unofficial Clearing tools and apps that you might find useful such as Uni Compare’s Clearing app


Don’t panic

Once Clearing opens, it can be quite disheartening – even panic-inducing – to watch Clearing vacancies being snapped up by other applicants. When this happens, it’s important not to rush into a decision and apply for a course just because there is a vacancy. Make sure that the course really is right for you. If you haven’t achieved the results you were expecting, Clearing is still an excellent means of finding your place at the right university – maybe just one you had not considered.

Persistence will pay off

When Clearing vacancies start to open up, sometimes it’s worth being persistent in your goal of getting accepted. You may have to speak to 5, 8, or 10 universities before you find something for you. There’s nothing wrong with calling the same university more than once, either – as offers are accepted or rejected, vacancies will change constantly, and a spot previously unavailable to you may suddenly be available again.

While Clearing can be nerve-wracking, it’s important to keep calm and collected and take thoughtful actions for your future. For more information on the Clearing process, we have an article dedicated to applying to universities in the UK through Clearing.


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