Clearing 2020: Guide to applying through UCAS

A level 2020 grades
Students at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form react after receiving their A-Level results in east London on Aug. 13, 2020. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Everyone is talking about university now that A level results are out. If you are not appealing grades, then you’re ready for placement via Clearing 2020. Clearing for UK universities opened July 6 — when International Baccalaureate results came out — and will go on till October 20, 2020.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has detailed guidelines on applying for clearing, including tips and recommendations to suit your situation. It also has the only official search tool for clearing vacancies, which you can access here. Using this tool allows you to browse open university courses before getting in touch with the admissions team.

Here are details you should have at your fingertips if you’re applying for university clearing in 2020.

university clearing 2020

A student greets a teacher following the new normal guidelines, after receiving her A Level results. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Do I qualify for university Clearing 2020?

You qualify for university Clearing 2020 if you:

  • applied after 30 June
  • didn’t receive any offers from your firm and insurance choice universities
  • didn’t accept the places you were offered and self-released into Clearing
  • didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
  • have paid the multiple-choice application fee of 25 pounds
  • have declined your firm place using the decline my place’ button in Track
  • got better grades than predicted and want to apply to a different course or university

UCAS introduces Clearing Plus

With this latest feature, you stand a better chance of being matched to suitable courses that align with your university ambitions. First, UCAS analyses your original choices, qualifications, and grades. It then compares these against the courses university and colleges have made available and their entry requirements. Finally, it takes into account what Clearing students like you chose to study in previous years.

Not everyone is eligible for Clearing Plus, though. If you are, you will see the ‘See matches’ button under UCAS Track.

university clearing 2020

Students protest against the downgrading of A level results, outside the Department for Education in central London. British education officials downgraded more than a third of pupils’ final grades in a system devised after exams were cancelled due to the pandemic. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Tips to make the most of Clearing

Advisors from your school and potential universities are on hand to help with any question you may have. You can also reach out to UCAS at 0371 468 0 468 (UK) or +44 330 3330 230 (global).

In the meantime, here are some pointers to keep in mind as you try to land a spot in your course and university of choice.

  • Identify what you want — Prepare a shortlist of potential courses and universities
  • Align your expectations — Now that you have your A level results, use that to gauge reasonable expectations for university and course admissions
  • Move fast — Keep calm and clear-headed, but apply as soon as you can; now that results are out, Clearing will move quickly as places are snatched up.
  • Check UCAS Track — All eligible students will have the ‘Add Clearing choice’ option under Track Choices. Make full use by regularly checking UCAS Track and using the new Clearing Plus feature.
  • Diversify your choices — Increase your chance for admission by considering joint courses, not just single-subject courses. Additionally, look for lesser-known universities that may have the course you are vying for.

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