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Top tips to secure your university place through Clearing

Clearing can be an anxious time for applicants and places at university are usually offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. June Hughes, University Secretary and Registrar at the University of Derby, gives her top tips for being prepared and staying calm during the process.

By June Hughes - 5 August 2021

Whether you’re a new applicant for this September, have changed your mind since applying, or think your results will be different to those you were predicted, Clearing and Adjustment could be for you.

Students opt to go through Clearing for a number of reasons: you may have had a change of heart about your course, you might not have a place at university yet, or your gap year plans may be on hold due to travel and employment limitations during the pandemic.

UCAS Clearing opened on Monday 5 July and is open until 19 October, so before results day on Tuesday 10 August, get hold of the UCAS Clearing list by visiting UCAS Search and select the Clearing 2021 option. This facility is available now and will give you an opportunity to see what’s currently available (more choices will appear on results day).

Clearing Plus

Clearing Plus runs alongside the UCAS search function which gives you access to many course options.

Slightly different to the search feature, Clearing Plus allows applicants with no previous university offers to match themselves with suitable courses based upon their requirements and academic achievements. This system helps to simplify the process of Clearing, matching students to university courses of interest.

However, applicants are still free to contact universities directly, even those not listed in Clearing Plus or where Clearing Plus isn’t available for an applicant.

Before results day

Get yourself prepared the night before and ring as soon as lines open to give yourself the best chance. I recommend you take note of the opening hours of university hotlines in advance as most will open earlier than normal office hours.

On results day

On the day of your results you’ll notice the Clearing list being constantly updated. Remember to also log on to university websites as they will publish their own lists.

Make sure you have important details close by before you begin contacting universities. You’ll need to have your UCAS number, exam results and your log-in details for Track. You may also want to compile a list of questions to ask and have your personal statement to hand to answer any questions.

Once you have a list of universities you wish to contact, find a quiet place, take a deep breath and start calling. Try to remain calm and composed so you can get across everything you want to. Ensure you take the details of anyone you speak to in case you need to contact them later.

If you receive a Clearing offer over the phone, make sure you get written confirmation of your conversation as well as the expiry date of the offer.

If you achieve better results than predicted, or you change your mind about where you want to study, UCAS offers the opportunity for you to reconsider your options. This is known as Adjustment and allows you to swap your course from results day (10 August). Find out more in our Clearing FAQs.

Clearing during Covid-19

Derby, like many other universities, will be conducting Clearing as normal where applicants can ring us directly and speak to our dedicated team of academics and professional service staff. UCAS has also assured that Clearing will be supported in the same way as previous years.

During the periods of lockdown this year, you will have had more time to think and we understand this might mean a change on what and where to study. We have created a set of FAQs which may help if you are considering applying through Clearing, but if you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, please get in touch.

You don’t have to wait until you get your results to start looking at courses through Clearing – you can call now on 01332 592021 and our Admissions team will guide you through the process.

Good luck. 

For further information contact the Corporate Communications team at or call 01332 593953.

About the author

June Hughes

June Hughes
University Secretary and Registrar

June Hughes is the University Secretary and Registrar. Her role spans all aspects of our academic administration and student services across all sites from admissions to graduation.

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