Clearing 2020 – What Do I Need to Know?


You may be wondering what the talk is about clearing and what you may need to know. This week we hear from Vicki Spink, Derby Hub’s Lead Project Officer who talks about her experience of securing a place at university through clearing, and what you can expect if you are entering clearing this year.

You may be wondering what the talk is about clearing and what you may need to know. So, you’ve applied for university and you’re hoping to get the grades to attend your firm or insurance choice university but would like to know a little more about clearing. Well speaking from experience, I’ve been there. I went to university through an offer I received through clearing after missing out on my grades for my firm and insurance choice. I was still happy with my results, but I didn’t meet the entry requirements, so I was left without a place at university. At first this left me a little worried and I knew I needed to go through the clearing process. I’ve collated some tips and tricks for you below that I learnt along the way as well as some key resources to help you make the best choice for you.

What is clearing and will I need to use it?

Clearing is a way for students like me, to make a late application to a university course. When I received my grades on results day, I already knew I wanted to attend university in the autumn term. This meant I needed to meet my grades or find an alternative place through clearing.

You may need to use clearing if you don’t get the grades for your firm or insurance choice, you change you mind about a university or course and you applied but don’t have any offers. There’s also an option if you achieve higher grades than expected at university called Adjustment. UCAS have some great information about adjustment here.

This year clearing opened on Monday 6th July 2020. If you have your results before this time (potentially applying as a mature learner) then you may wish to begin the process straight away. However, if you were like me, awaiting grade results, you will begin the process on Thursday 13th August 2020.

Tips and tricks for you

  • Have your UCAS reference number and phone number ready – being prepared for clearing, even if you expect to achieve your grades, will ensure you’re ready for any potential unexpected surprises.
  • Speak to the universities yourself – I know clearing can be a little daunting, but universities want to speak to the person that has applied for the course, unless you have nominated someone on your behalf.
  • Stay calm and don’t give up – lots of students like myself are processed through clearing every year and go on to study a great course at a university they love.
  • Don’t accept the first offer you receive – there may be a few universities able to recruit you through clearing so make sure you have done your research and the university is right for you.
  • Speak to your school and careers advisors – this year may be a little different as you may not be attending school or college in person to collect your results so make sure you know which teacher or careers advisor to speak to if you are worried on results day.
  • Be available on results day – make sure you aren’t away on holiday or are away the weekend after clearing. Some universities are offering socially distanced visits to campuses so if you are offered a place you may wish to visit your university before starting the term.

Useful websites and information

  • I know there is a lot of information out there and this can be quite difficult to navigate. I’ve collected some websites and organisations I recommend for key information while also being impartial, to ensure you make the right choice for you. Clearing Plus – UCAS have also put together a handy guide about Clearing Plus, a new feature for 2020 and you can find out more.
  • UCAS live Q&A – you may have also seen UCAS have been hosting live Q&A panels every week on Facebook. They are covering topics such as clearing and preparing for results day.
  • Uni Taster Tuesday Webinars – series of free webinars to give you information about university. On 11th August 2020 they have a webinar to discuss all things clearing. They will run through what clearing is, what to expect on the day, and how to prepare. This webinar is for post-16 students, teachers, and careers colleagues. Sign up to the webinar Uni Taster Days also have a series of online events covering topics from clearing to your mental health at university, to student life and deferring your place, as well as so much more. Find out more here.

Teacher or carers advisor?

Are you a teacher or careers advisor reading this blog and want to know more about how to support your young people? Check out the support you through confirmation and clearing information by UCAS.

Parent or carer?

Are you a parent or carer reading this and would like to support your child with clearing? Watch this video by UCAS or attend this online webinar by University of Hull about clearing for more information on clearing and how you can best support them.

Was this article helpful or do you have any questions about clearing or your progression to higher education? Reach out to our helpful team by emailing