How Long Does University Clearing Last?

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Waiting for A-Level results or equivalent qualifications can definitely be nerve-wracking – especially if you think you might not have done as well as you hoped! This can make the summer holidays feel very long and scary, as you wonder whether you will have enough time to look at other universities and courses through Clearing before the first semester starts. However, there is no need to panic! Clearing may actually last for much longer than you realise.

Put simply, University Clearing usually lasts just under four months. Clearing normally opens at the very start of July and closes towards the middle or end of October, giving students plenty of time to look for university places. Not all universities take part in Clearing. You can only apply to university through Clearing once you have received your A-Level results.

If you want to find out more about how long University Clearing really lasts and answers to any other related questions you may have, check out the rest of this article!

When does University Clearing start?

Many students believe that University Clearing begins on A-Level results day, when you can see whether you really did get into your chosen university and course. This leads to the mad dash of students who didn’t get into university on their phones and laptops to try and find other courses that will accept them.

It is true that A-Level results day is possibly one of the busiest days for clearing! However, this day is not when Clearing actually opens. In fact, University Clearing opens at the very start of July.

For 2024, the University Clearing start date is the 5th of July. This is over a month before A-Level results day, allowing students who may not be confident in their results to start looking for some university places.

You can read more about University Clearing if you check out this page from UCAS. However, it must be noted that you can only apply through clearing once you have received your A-Level results or equivalent qualifications.

When does University Clearing end?

Most university courses begin in September. Therefore, it is understandable that students may think that University Clearing closes before September. However, this is not the case!

University Clearing actually stays open towards the middle or end of October! This is further reiterated in this page from UCAS, also linked above.

Therefore, there is no need to worry about not being given enough time to go through Clearing. Universities allow plenty of time for eager students to see what courses are still available.

How long does Clearing Plus last?

Clearing Plus is an extension of Clearing and is a tool used to give students suggestions about what courses they could potentially apply for. It uses your previous course choices to find potential course ‘matches’ for you, which you can then view!

Clearing Plus lasts the same amount of time as Clearing. As it is an extension of Clearing, it begins and ends at the same time that University Clearing does. You can find out more about Clearing Plus if you check out this article from University Compare.

Do all universities keep Clearing open for the same period of time?

Generally, the time period discussed previously is what the majority of universities follow when it comes to University Clearing. However, there may be some exceptions.

For example, if a university starts all of its courses at the start of September, students may not be allowed to start a new course in October. Consequently, after the start of September, Clearing may be closed for this university.

Further to this, not all universities actually offer a Clearing process. This is true for the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.

These are extremely competitive and prestigious universities which are also completely oversubscribed! This means that they are often unable to offer any place to students, as there are no spaces left!

You can find out more about this if you check out this article from Think Student.

Do all courses keep University Clearing open for the same amount of time?

Not all courses are able to keep Clearing open for the same amount of time! This is because some courses are really popular, so all places get taken almost immediately.

Some courses are also quite small, so only a select number of applicants are actually allowed onto the course. Further to this, some courses aren’t even able to offer Clearing.

This is true for courses such as medicine and dentistry, which are extremely popular, and very competitive to get into! There could perhaps be some spaces in Clearing for these courses, however you would have to be very quick to get them.

If you applied for medicine but don’t end up getting the grades, there is no need to panic! This article from Swansea University explains how there are alternative routes you can take to study medicine, without going through Clearing!

How long does it take to get an offer through University Clearing?

When you have found the course you want to be in through Clearing, most students just call up the university and ask for a place. However, you must be aware that it can take up to 20 minutes before you actually get hold of a Clearing advisor.

This is especially true for busy days, such as A-Level results day. You will then have a chat with a Clearing advisor, which could take between 5 to 30 minutes!

After all, they may just ask for your UCAS number and grades or, they may try and interview you over the phone for more competitive courses! If you are given a verbal offer for your place, you will then have to complete a UCAS application to confirm it.

You can find out more about this process if you check out this page from Newcastle University.

How long does a University Clearing application take to make?

After you have verbally been offered a place, you should receive an email, directing you on your next steps. You will have to then add your Clearing choice to your UCAS application.

Unfortunately, universities are unable to confirm your place straight away. Instead, this can take from 24 to 72 hours. You can find out more about this and Clearing in general if you check out this article from WhatUni.

How do you know if you are eligible to apply through University Clearing?

There are a number of different reasons why you may be eligible to apply to university through Clearing! The most obvious one is if you didn’t manage to get a place at university as a result of your grades.

You can also apply to university via Clearing if you were just too late applying to university and missed the deadline. If you haven’t gotten any offers from universities, Clearing may also be the way to go.

Even if you did meet the grade requirements to get into your chosen university and were accepted onto the course, you don’t actually have to go to that university. Instead, you can just decline your place and look for other places on Clearing.

You can find out more about how Clearing works in general if you check out this article from Prospects. Alternatively, this article from Think Student gives a useful breakdown of all things Clearing!

However, it must be noted that Clearing isn’t the only option to take if you haven’t done as well in your A-Levels. This article from Think Student offers two more paths you could take other than Clearing if you do end up with unsatisfactory A-Level grades.

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