How to deal with the Clearing process

For those of you that are awaiting A-level, BTEC or other pre-university results (and are no doubt scared about it) – try not to fear if your results are not what you expected. For those who do not meet the threshold for their preferred universities (due to a lack of grades etc), Clearing is always an option.


What is Clearing?

If you do not achieve the grades you wanted in order meet conditional offers for your chosen universities, Clearing is a route to go through in order to still go to university. It is not ideal for everyone and can be quite emotional due to suddenly changing university plans. However, many people have gone to different universities and/or done different courses through clearing in order to meet a compromise that satisfies both the student and the university.


What do I do if I cannot meet the criteria for my first and second choice uni, thus have to go through Clearing?

Firstly, don’t panic! Lots of students wound up not meeting conditional offers, or maybe your chosen universities decide to decline your offer due to other circumstances. Either way, the possibility of still attending university in September is still viable.

After finding out that your first and second choice unis have not accepted you, log straight onto UCAS and head to for more information on picking a suitable university and course for you. It is important that you do not leave applying through clearing too late, otherwise, there will be less choice due to less vacant spaces in selected courses. Another important thing to note is that not every single university and course will be available to enter through clearing – some courses such as Medicine, or Law, will likely not even make it to clearing due to their competitive nature, thus having no vacant spaces left.


How do I contact a university about applying to one of their vacant course spaces?

There will be lists of universities and vacant course spaces on UCAS, which will be easily found by searching for the type of subject or uni that you would like to attend. Along with this, there are contact numbers for the Clearing line which directly lets you know whether the university would be interested in taking you on as a student. Luckily, the Clearing lines are well managed and allow reassurance to ensure your decision is the right one.

You can view the Swansea University vacancies and full clearing information (including contact details) at


After you have received a few offers from universities, you have about a week to accept your chosen university course. However, if you are unsure about your decisions in the days leading up, giving the university a call or even visiting your selected department in person will be a massive help for making that final decision.


I really hope this helps you find a Plan B in case your grades (or other circumstances) affects you getting into your conditional universities. I also went through Clearing myself to get to Swansea, and through the helpful Clearing department, Psychology department and welcoming atmosphere, I knew I had made the right decision. Three years on, I don’t have any regrets, and I can’t wait to embark on my final year.


Good luck on your results, and until next time. x

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