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Clearing 2019 guide: how it works

Students across the country will open their A-level results today (Thursday, August 15) and discover whether they have secured a place at their preferred university or college.

A-level results day 2019 Picture: iStock (15247610)
A-level results day 2019 Picture: iStock (15247610)

But if you have missed out on the grades needed for your chosen course, or you have changed your mind, there are still places available at universities and colleges across the country.

The Ucas Clearing site gives applicants a second chance to apply for vacancies on unfilled courses.

Below, the admissions team at The University of Law shares top tips for getting through clearing smoothly.



Planning ahead is a good way to help you reduce stress and pressure on the day, helping you to not feel overwhelmed when you need to act quickly. Research alternative courses and providers ahead of time, including any relevant contact details, so you have this to hand on the day.

Get advice early

Teachers and Careers Advisors can help point you in the direction of people whose advice will really help when it comes to Clearing, such as students who have been through the process previously. As part of your preparation, make sure you seek this advice sooner rather than later, as it will be harder to access once Clearing gets under way.

Get everything you need to hand before you make a call

During clearing, the phone lines will be extremely busy. When you call the clearing hotline make sure you have your clearing number and UCAS Personal ID number to hand (if you have one you can find this in track), as well as the exam results and details of the qualifications you hold. This will enable you to work with the adviser quickly and efficiently once you get through, for the best chances of securing a place on one of your chosen courses.

Think carefully about your options, then make a decision

It makes sense to contact a range of institutions that you have researched in advance and to survey what is available to you in terms of options. Make sure you record each offer made to you and spend a bit of time evaluating which would be the best for you to accept. Once you’re happy to can add a clearing choice via UCAS track for the university to process.

Start early

You can apply for clearing courses until October 23 - but don’t hold off for too long. Different university courses start at different times, and when the courses are filled, they’re filled!



Many students have come through clearing and gone on to have successful academic and professional careers, there’s plenty of options out there for you. Follow the steps above and ensure you have everything you need to hand. This approach will help to reduce stress on the day and enable you to act quickly when you need to.

Wait until your results come out to consider your options

The competition for clearing places can be intense, so don’t add extra pressure by waiting until the last minute. There’s no harm whatsoever in considering a range of scenarios before getting your results. If the results come in and they are exactly what you wanted, then there’s no need for action, however if they aren’t quite what was required then you can rest assured, knowing that you’ve made a plan B (and C).

Let anyone else call on your behalf

Unless you have nominated alternative people on your UCAS form, you will need to talk to Clearing staff yourself. Staff manning the Clearing phones are all incredibly helpful and they may even have gone through Clearing themselves, so will likely know exactly what you’re going through.

Give up

Universities across the country will be processing thousands of applications during Clearing, so be prepared for it to take a little time if you’re applying after you get your results. Phones will be busy on Clearing day but keep trying until you can speak to someone about your options.

Assume you have not got your place

If you don’t get the grades you expected it can be easy to assume you automatically lose your place. Before you do anything, check Track before assuming the worst. Some providers will be happy to accept you with different grades to your initial offer, meaning you may not even have to go through Clearing.

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