Clearing stories


Clearing is just another way to apply to university, thousands of students successfully get a place at university through Clearing each year. We know it can be an anxious time and you need to act quickly, so check out our top tips for going through Clearing, or find out key information below.

What is Clearing?

Clearing is how universities and colleges fill any places they have remaining on their courses. It's an ideal way for you to find another course, if you do not meet the conditions of your offers. 

Alternatively it is used by applicants who only decide that they would like to apply to study at a university after 30 June.

When can I apply through Clearing?

  • Clearing is available from July to September each year.
  • If you have applied through UCAS and you think you may need Clearing, you can do this once you have you exam results; UCAS Track will show you if you are eligible.
  • Clearing official opens at UCAS on 5 July 2019.
  • UCAS Clearing closes at the end of September, however, each university will close to clearing when all spaces have been filled.

When do results come out?

  • IB results come out on Friday, 5 July 2019; some other results for qualifications such as Access courses may also be out around this time.
  • A-level results day is Thursday, 15 August 2019.

Where are vacancies listed?

  • The UCAS website contains the official list of course vacancies and will be continuously updated.
  • University websites will be constantly updating their list of Clearing places once it opens - we will be updating our listings from the first week of July on the vacancies page here.
  • National papers like The Guardian and The Telegraph will list Clearing places on the morning of results day.

How do I find a place through clearing? 

  • Telephone or make online contact with the universities or colleges you are most interested in to ask what grades or points they require, and whether they have places available.
  • You do not need to wait for UCAS Clearing to be open to do this and if you are in Clearing, contact universities as soon as you can as places go very quickly.
  • Research details of specific courses online - our undergraduate study site has detailed course descriptions (and lots more information about the University).
  • Most universities will tell you by phone whether your grades are a good fit and some will offer you a place on the phone (a verbal offer); others will ask you to email or fill out an online application form.
  • At Exeter, you need to apply using our online form in order to be considered for a Clearing/Adjustment offer. 
  • When you speak to universities and colleges, check that you know what they want you to do next. Write this down in case you forget once you are off the phone; it is a good idea to record the name of the person you speak to and the time of your call.
  • If you get a verbal or written offer from your preferred Clearing choice university, add your choice through UCAS Track; this is the only way to get an official and formal Clearing offer.

What happens once I have an offer?

  • If you receive an offer you will be given a deadline by which you need to accept and refer your application to us via UCAS TRACK.
  • If you are holding a place at another university you will need to get released before you can refer your application.  Applicants are able to self-release via UCAS track.
  • If you have applied and received an offer for a place at our Penryn Campus you will be given until Monday 19 August to nominate us as your Clearing choice on UCAS Track to accept the offer. This is to enable you to visit our Penryn Campus over the weekend before making your final decision.
  • Some universities may put pressure on you to decide within a couple of hours; however, you cannot refer yourself until 3pm on Thursday, 15 August. We don’t believe you should have any more stress at this busy time, so we will email you with our decision and let you think about it. 

I'm accepting an offer through Clearing - where will I live?

  • Your offer letter will indicate if we are able to guarantee you an offer of accommodation and how to apply.
  • Think about the costs of accommodation and travel before you make your final decision.
  • See our website for more information on applying for accommodation in Exeter or Penryn as a Clearing or Adjustment student

I've accepted an offer and sorted out my accommodation - what now?

  • We will be in touch regularly before you come to University.
  • In the meantime: Relax, celebrate, and enjoy the moment. You’re going to university. Congratulations!

What is Clearing and how does it work?

Clearing is simply a later element of the UCAS application cycle. Clearing is when we advertise the places we have left to those students who find themselves unplaced, either out of choice or because they did not receive or accept any offers. It runs from the beginning of July until the end of September but is busiest around A-Level results day in August.

It can be a little daunting but with some pre-planning and organisation it is proven to provide students with successful places at university every year. 

How to help your student prepare for Clearing

Research and preparation are key. If your student decides to change their mind, or they think they might not get the grades they need in the summer, start to think about alternative universities or courses now. Go to websites, call admissions offices and think about the types of questions they will need to ask. You can do this before the formal processes start even though it may not be possible to submit an application.

Remember that in Clearing, entry requirements might change. Universities may accept students with several grades below the entry requirements published in their prospectuses. Call ahead and ask what the chances look like, call hotlines early in the morning on results day and check websites on the day itself.

On a practical level students will need a pen and notepad, UCAS ID number, details of their qualification results and log in details for UCAS Track. It’s really helpful to have the internet open on a device other than the phone being used to make the calls.

Phone in or apply online?

Many universities will encourage students to call in on a dedicated phone number. The University of Exeter has an advice line 0300 555 6060 or +44 (0) 1392 723044 from overseas but the quickest way to get your Clearing offer is to fill in the online Clearing application form

We are only able to discuss an application with a third party if they are recorded as the ‘nominated contact’ in the applicant’s UCAS Track. School Counsellors can access more information about Confirmation,  Clearing and Adjustment via this UCAS Advisors Toolkit.

Visiting the University of Exeter

Over the Clearing period we will be holding clearing visit days at both the Streatham and Penryn campuses. Visiting in person is often the best way to help make any last minute decisions. We are happy to show parents around on behalf of applicants, if for example they are overseas.  

Will they get accommodation?

Our offer letter will indicate if we are able to guarantee an offer of accommodation and explain the next steps. In the meantime our webpages provide further information about our accommodation provision in Exeter or Penryn for applicants applying after 1 August.