Guide to Clearing

If you haven’t got the results to get into your firm or insurance university, don't panic. Read our tips on what to do next and how to apply for a place at university through Clearing.

Students chatting as they work on computers in the library at the University of Sussex

What to do if you don’t get the results you need

Follow our step-by-step guide on what to do if you miss the results required by the conditions of your offer.

  1. Check UCAS track

    If you’ve only just missed the results you required, your first-choice (firm) university may still take you. Look on UCAS Track to see what, if any, decision they have made. If you haven't been accepted, check your insurance choice university.

  2. Contact your first-choice university

    If no decision has been made on UCAS track, try contacting your first-choice university to find out what is happening. If they haven’t decided, ask them when they will. 

    While you are waiting for their decision, contact your insurance choice university and find out if you have a place there. You may feel better if you know you have a university place, even if it is not your first choice. 

  3. Consider alternative courses

    If your heart is set on your first-choice university you may want to consider alternative courses (if these are offered).

    Sometimes univerities may not be able to offer you the original course, but you may have the grades for other courses such as integrated foundation years. At Sussex, if you successfully pass your Foundation Year, you can progress on to a related undergraduate degree. 

  4. Decide if you want to go into Clearing

    If you haven't been accepted by your firm or insurance choice universities, you may want to consider Clearing. This is where you can explore the courses on offer from other universities and contact them with your grades to see if they will offer you a place.

    Find out more about Clearing and see our guide to the Clearing process below. 

How to apply through Clearing

If you’ve decided that Clearing is the next step for you, see our guide to applying below. If you've already decided you want to apply for a place at Sussex through Clearing, see our guidance.

  1. Research courses and universities

    Browse the UCAS clearing listings and visit university websites directly to see Clearing course listings. University websites will also give you up-to-date vacancies and more detail on entry requirements. 

    It's important you don't rush your decision, even though timescales are tight. You want to find out as much as you can about the new universities you are considering. Look at their websites, read their online prospectus, see if there are online campus tours, Google the local town or city, and check out the transport links.

  2. Contact your chosen universities

    When you have identified courses and universities you're interested in, contact them as soon as possible. Most universities have dedicated Clearing phonelines, email addresses and online chat, and you can contact as many as you like. Universities may then offer you a place.

    Don't feel under pressure to accept the first offer you receive. You usually have time to think through all of your offers. 

  3. Consider a foundation year

    If you don't have the grades for direct entry into the first year of your chosen course then you may want to consider a course with an integrated foundation year. The additional year provides essential skills and knowledge and if you successfully complete the Foundation Year you can progress to a range of related degrees. 

  4. Attend a Clearing Open Day

    Many universities will run open days for Clearing students in the days immediately after A-level results day. Ask about these and book your place. Nothing beats visiting a university to find out if it feels right for you.

    If you are visiting this page before the summer and planning what to do in case you need to go into Clearing, you may want to consider attending non-Clearing Open Days so you already have some idea of what other universities are like. Find out more about our Open Days and campus tours

  5. Accept your offer

    When you have an offer you want to accept from a university, you'll need to log into UCAS Track and add the university to your 'Clearing choice.' You'll need to fill in the course details (the university will give you a date for when to do this by).

    The university will then confirm this and your offer will have been accepted. If they do not confirm you, you can add another university. You can only add one univerity at a time. 

  6. Consider waiting

    It’s ok not to go to university this year, or ever. If it doesn't feel right, step back and give it some time.

    If you still want to go, ask your school or college about re-sitting your exams and then re-apply next year.

Contact us

For general queries, ask us a question online or email

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