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Surviving Clearing: Our top 10 tips

If you’re worried you haven’t done as well as you hoped in your exams, or if you’re unhappy with the university offers you’ve received, it’s worth looking into the UCAS Clearing process. This allows you to apply for university courses which still have available places once you’ve got your grades.

Each year, more than 50,000 students go through Clearing, and there’s loads of help out there. Take a look at our top ten tips for Clearing below:

  1. Research universities with available spaces who’ll accept your grades
  2. Start ringing universities early
  3. Have all your qualification information and the information you provided in your personal statement to hand when your ring up
  4. Prepare some questions to ask universities when you contact them, such as will they be able to offer you accommodation?
  5. Be prepared to explain why you want to study that course at that university
  6. Make sure you’re available to talk to them and to attend interview at short notice
  7. Visit the campus before making a final decision if you can
  8. Talk to your teachers or a careers adviser at your school or college for information about alternative subjects or routes
  9. Remain calm and don’t make snap decisions – make sure it’s the right course for you
  10. You don’t have to accept the first offer you receive, but once you’ve chosen a university, accept their offer as soon as possible.


At UCA, we have a great Clearing hotline, so you can give us a ring and we’ll guide you through the process. We take the strength of our applicants’ portfolios into account when making offers – so don’t despair if you’ve not got the grades you wanted. Give us a ring on 0800 068 0088 and we’ll talk you through your options. Find out more about UCA Clearing here.

If you’ve not achieved a place on an undergraduate course, why not consider our Foundation course? This year-long programme will give you the chance to explore a range of art, design and media subjects, and build your creative portfolio – so you’re ready to hit the ground running when you do get onto an undergraduate course.