Clearing guide for Parents and Carers

When it comes to August and exam results time, what happens if your son or daughter doesn’t get the grades they need?

The answer is not to panic. If they’re set on higher education, there’s still another chance to apply at that point, through Clearing. It’s a process that’s used every year to match up students looking for a university place to courses that still have vacancies on them.

Many universities take applications through this route, so there’s a good chance your son or daughter can still study something they’ll enjoy and get the university experience they want.

We’ve summarised the main things to know about Clearing below. You can also read our Guide to Clearing and Adjustment for more information.

Your son or daughter can use Clearing if they:

  • don’t get the grades they need to get into their first or insurance choice universities
  • miss the 30 June UCAS application deadline
  • don’t apply through UCAS but decide they’d like to get a degree
  • don’t receive any offers or don’t want to take up any they get.

Clearing officially opens on 5 July each year. But most people wait to see what their exam results are before using the system. Places can fill up quickly, so encourage your son or daughter to get on the phone on results day so they can find a course and institution they’re comfortable with.

You’ll find a list of course vacancies on the UCAS website. They’re also listed on most university websites. We publish our Clearing vacancies on our site from July onwards each year.

Once the Clearing vacancies are published, spend some time with your child going through the available options, and seeing what’s on offer that might appeal to their career goals, interests and skills.

They’ll need to check they have enough UCAS points to do a particular course. They can do this by making a list of their qualifications and grades, and working out how many UCAS points they hold using a tariff calculator.

If they don’t meet the stated entry criteria, don’t worry. We offer a wide range of Foundation year programmes that can help give them the best start at university. Encourage your daughter or son to call us on 0330 123 2023 and ask for advice and guidance.

Once they find a course they’re interested in, the next step is to apply to the university or college directly to see if they’ll offer them a place.

Once Clearing opens, they can contact us by calling 0330 123 2023, or apply to us through social media if they prefer.

If they haven’t already gone through UCAS, they can apply for a course with us directly – online, by phone or social media. The only exception to this is for our BSc (Hons) NursingBSc (Hons) Social Work, or one of our Operating Department Practitioner programmes. If they want to apply directly for those, that needs to happen through UCAS.

We’ll need their Level 3 exam results (A-levels / BTECs etc), as well as their Maths and English GCSE results, when they contact us.

See our student Clearing page for more information on applying through Clearing. There’s also useful information on the UCAS website.

How you can help

Encourage them to write down any questions they might want to ask before calling us about a Clearing place, so they don’t forget anything. And remind them to stay calm – chances are there will be options open to them, so if they have their heart set on going to university, it’s likely that can still happen.

It’s up to them. They can still go to their first choice university if want. But if they feel like reconsidering their options, they can also use the Adjustment process, to see what other courses may be available with their better grades.

We don’t have a vacancy list for Adjustment, so if they want to see what courses are open to them at Bucks, get them to call us on 0330 123 2023 and we can talk through their options.

If your son or daughter is registered with UCAS, once they receive a verbal offer (or an offer through social media) of a Clearing place from us, they can add us as a Clearing choice on UCAS Track. They can usually do this after 3pm on results day.

If they apply to us directly, we’ll email to let them know what they need to do next.

Of course. We run Clearing Welcome Days and Campus Tours during the summer, which are a great opportunity for them (and you) to get a feel for what it’s like here at Bucks. We also run Open Days throughout the year. We look forward to showing you around.