Clearing… the good, the fun and the exciting!

Guest posts

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
Category: Health

29 June 2018

What happens during Clearing? Jonathan Secker, Marketing Manager for our Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education, dispels a few myths and offers some top tips for Clearing success.

Jonathan acts as Clearing coordinator for the faculty and has helped support applicants from initial enquiry, to careers advice and making sure they are settled at university. This year, he'll be entering his ninth year of Clearing.

What is Clearing?

A simple way to think about Clearing is that it is ‘a way of matching universities without students, to students without universities.’

Many people think Clearing only happens on A-level results day. Whereas this is the busiest time of Clearing, the whole process begins in early July and can continue into October. Clearing is a part of the UCAS application process and gives applicants who do not hold an offer a chance of finding a university place. Not all courses will have places available in Clearing (for example our university will not have any places for child nursing or midwifery) but there are still plenty of good courses available.

A common Clearing myth is that it is for people with low exam results – FALSE! There are lots of reasons why people use clearing, such as they have declined all previous offers, might not have received any offers in the first place (perhaps if they applied for particularly competitive courses), and some apply late and automatically enter Clearing.

If you’ve not met the offer conditions for your chosen university, it is 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. In this situation don’t panic, speak to your chosen university first before making any assumptions. If things don’t work out then remember there are good courses available in Clearing, including some of the more popular subjects. For 2014 entry we still have vacancies for Social Work and Primary Education Studies.

Even if you had applied for a different course initially, you can still apply for any courses you’re interested in during Clearing. If you’re applying for courses in Clearing that are different to your original choices, you may be asked to write a new personal statement and send to the university direct (note: you cannot change your personal statement on UCAS). It is very important for you do this, especially for courses that interview, as this gives you the opportunity to demonstrate why you may have changed your mind and why you are right for the course in question.

As mentioned earlier, once results are released the phone lines get busier and places can fill quickly. It is important you regularly check course vacancies on UCAS and individual university webpages to see what places are available. Some courses have a capped amount of places whilst some may only offer a set amount of interviews.

Do remember: as hectic as the situation is for you, there are lots of people in the same situation and as much as universities wish they could update everyone’s application at the same time, this is not possible. You can help yourself by checking your junk mail and responding to university correspondence within time frames given. If in any doubt, there is always someone at the end of the phone to help!

Top tips for Clearing

  1. Don’t wait until results day to assess your options, many universities have live Clearing course lists from July. Ours is at from early July.
  2. If you have only just missed out on your grades then contact the university from which you hold an offer and check if they will still accept you. If not ask what alternative or similar courses they offer, eg social policy as opposed to social work, public health as opposed to nursing.
  3. Do your research on the web before applying – some courses (eg, social work) will still require an interview during Clearing while some courses may only be available at certain campuses.
  4. Apply yourself. Universities can only offer places to you – not your parent, brother or college tutor. Have you UCAS ID, Clearing number and grades to hand when you apply, including GCSE results (if relevant).
  5. Remember that we're here to help you. We'll be more than happy to speak with you about course availability and suitability; you can contact us by live chat or phone.
  6. Once you've applied, take time to consider all your options before making a final decision.
  7. If you have offers from more than one university make sure that as well as accepting your first choice, you decline the other offers.
  8. Don’t panic – as stressful as it seems we are here to help and get you a place on your ideal course.

Join ARU through Clearing

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education has places available during Clearing for courses in social work, social policy, education studies and more.

We're accepting applications now. Visit to search for a course and apply online.


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.