Clearing: the good, the fun and the exciting


Category: All about university

28 June 2022

What is Clearing, how does it work and who’s it for? Let us be your guide...

Apply to ARU through Clearing

In this blog, we take a look at exactly what happens, dispel a few myths, and offer some top tips. We also hear from ARU students Emma and Ahmed about their Clearing experiences.

Many people think Clearing happens on A-level results day and this is, of course, the busiest time. But in fact Clearing opens in July and usually continues into September.

If you’ve applied to university through UCAS, then Clearing is a part of the application process. It gives applicants who don’t hold an offer a chance of finding a university place.

However, you don’t need a UCAS account to apply through Clearing. You might have decided to apply after the UCAS deadline passed, in which case you can generally apply directly to your preferred university.

A common Clearing myth is that it’s for people with low exam results – FALSE! There are lots of reasons why you might apply through Clearing. Perhaps you’ve declined all your previous offers, or you’re applying late. Or you might not hold any offers, which can happen if you’ve applied for a particularly competitive course. Clearing is for everyone.

If you haven’t met the offer conditions for your chosen university, it’s not the end of the world. In some circumstances you may still be offered a place on your chosen course, or you may be offered an alternative. Speak to your university first before making any assumptions. If things don’t work out then remember there’s a range of good courses available in Clearing.

You might choose to apply to different courses, which is an option during Clearing.

If you’re applying for courses that are different to your original choices, you’ll be asked to write a new personal statement and send it to the university directly (you won’t be able to change your personal statement on UCAS). As ever, your personal statement is really important: it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate why you’ve changed your mind and why you are right for the course in question.

Although Clearing usually runs from July-September, universities will be especially busy on A-level results day and course availability can change quickly. Some courses have a capped number of places whilst some may only offer a set amount of interviews.

You can beat the rush by applying before results day but if you are looking for courses in August, we recommend regularly checking Clearing vacancies on UCAS and individual university websites.

Clearing can feel hectic but remember, there are lots of people in the same situation and universities are here to help you. You can help yourself by responding to university correspondence within any timeframes given – and if you have any questions, there’s always someone at the end of the phone or on live chat to help.

Top tips for Clearing

  • Don’t wait until A-level results day to assess your options, many universities advertise Clearing vacancies from July and you can apply online from that date. 
  • If you’ve only just missed out on your grades, contact the university that’s given you an offer. Check if will still accept you or, if not, ask about similar courses they may offer
  • Do your research before calling – some courses will still require an interview during Clearing, while others may only be available at certain campuses.
  • Make the calls yourself, as universities can only offer places to you. Have your UCAS ID (if applicable), Clearing number and grades to hand when you call, including GCSE results.
  • Once you’ve made all your calls, take time to consider your options before making a decision.
  • If you have offers from more than one university make sure that as well as accepting your first choice, you decline the other offers.
  • Don’t panic – we’re here to help and get you a place on your ideal course.

Case study: Ahmed

I joined ARU through Clearing, and I'm now in the second year of a Business Management degree in Cambridge.

After my A-levels I decided to enter the world of work and build my experience. However, I came to realise, not only do we need work experience, we also need a degree to open more doors in life and also have the opportunity to meet new friends and most importantly to enjoy my young life!

Despite making this exciting decision, I wanted to choose the right course for my career and most importantly study at the right university, where I would find great social life and a high education level.

I had less than two weeks to apply before starting, so you can imagine the stress! I began contacting universities for a business management course, and couldn’t be convinced enough by any of them. Until I came across Anglia Ruskin. I contacted a few students and they especially loved the location in one of the most exciting cities in the UK: Cambridge.

I continued looking through the University's website and was especially excited about the sports membership they provide, and also helping you build your own business while studying.

I picked up the phone and contacted the Clearing centre, where I spoke to a very helpful gentlemen who went through the process in less than seven minutes and gave me an offer. Possibly one of the most exciting feelings in my life!

As a student, I managed to meet friends on the first day when I joined the sports centre. Luckily for me the process couldn’t have been easier, and I’m proud I made the right decision to join ARU through Clearing.

By Ahmed Elnmroti

Case study: Emma

Clearing... everyone dreads it, but it happens and can be a positive experience for many of us. It certainly was for me.

My Clearing experience wasn’t like the norm, I had started a degree and decided I didn’t like it and wanted to swap, so then began trawling through the thousands of courses available to try to figure out a degree which I did want to do.

I began the usual process of searching through UCAS Clearing and looking at which courses were still open for applications – and stumbled upon ARU. I began looking through the website and found the Human Resources course and it just felt right.

I continued to have a look around as I didn’t want to rush into any decisions but every course I found, I was just thinking ‘This isn’t as good as the one at ARU’. That’s how I knew I was making the right decision for me.

Then came the daunting bit: picking up the phone. I rang through and got put through to a lovely lady (who I have since met and now know really well) and was made an offer. Woohoo! A huge smile was put onto my face which still hasn’t left.

What is Clearing?

Clearing is an opportunity to reconsider your options, and join a university where you can study something you really want to learn about.

You can apply for uni through Clearing if:

  • you didn’t apply before the UCAS deadline
  • your grades are different to what you expected
  • you’ve only just decided to go to uni
  • you’ve changed your mind about what or where you want to study since you originally applied.

Find out more about Clearing



The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.