A Guide To UCAS University Clearance

A-Level results day (August 15th 2019) is fast-approaching, and can be a day of celebration, or immense success. Although, it is good to be optimistic about your grades, it is also important to prepare in the circumstance that you do not make the grade.

You may need to use Clearing if you don’t get into your firm (CF) or insurance (CI) choice of universities.

UCAS Clearing may be your second chance to get into University, as it matches students who need a University place, to Universities who need places filling.

We have created a list of top tips to make the most out of clearing day.

Prepare in advance

If you are reading this article before 15th August then congratulations: you are already on the right path to Clearing success! Make a list of Universities and possible courses you’re interested in, this will help when looking at the Clearing listings after they’re published.

Remember: if you are studying a different qualification to A-Levels, then Clearing started in July.

Be present

Physically be present (this is no time for a holiday!) and get time off work. This is an important day and every minute does count.

But also be present mentally. Stay calm, and focus. If you do not get the grades you want then remember that it is not the end of the world and that you can still go to University and do the course you always wanted to!

Check, check, check

Make sure that you are regularly checking UCAS Track, to see if/when you become eligible to use the ‘Add clearing choice’ option, which will appear on your Track Choices screen. Also, keep checking the official clearing listings on UCAS or on university websites.

Ring up

You want to ring universities as soon as you can as vacancies at higher-ranked universities can be filled very quickly! Remember to have your clearing number at hand. Always make sure YOU are the one calling up as this will make the process faster as they have to speak to the candidate. If the university is happy to take you, they will either accept you straight away, or call back very soon to accept you. Clearing can be stressful, but don’t stop trying. If you’re not having much luck on the phone, try sending an email too. Remember, it’s not just you going through this process.


  • UCAS: 0371 468 0 468 (UK callers) or +44 330 3330 230 (if you are calling from outside the UK).
  • The SQA candidate advice line: 0808 100 8000, open from 8am-8pm on 6 and 7 August, and from 9am-5pm from 9-15 August. You can also email: [email protected]
  • Skills Development Scotland’s exam helpline offers advice on careers and university and college vacancies. It will be open from 8am until 8pm on 8 and 9 August and from 9am until 5pm from 10 until 16 August. The number is 0808 100 800

To view the current official list for Clearing open days, click here.


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