Clearing is the UCAS process of matching students without university places after A Level results day to universities with vacancies for some of their courses. Although it is normal to apply for universities via UCAS that doesn’t mean that you have to, there are other options.
If you’re applying for a full time undergraduate degree before Clearing opens then you’ll have to go through UCAS. Most universities, although not all, won’t let you apply directly for their courses.
Some universities will allow you to apply directly and you may also be able to apply for part time courses directly, although check with universities before attempting to submit an application.
What about after Clearing opens?
If you apply to university after 30th June 2018 then your application will automatically be entered for Clearing. After this Clearing officially opens on A Level results day, 16th August 2018, and you’ll be able to bypass UCAS to apply to university.
The process of short cutting UCAS and apply to directly during Clearing is known as the “record of prior acceptance” route. This means that if you are accepted then your university will contact UCAS on your behalf.
However, be prepared that most universities won’t allow you to apply using this route and UCAS discourages it. Also remember that if you do find a university that will accept a direct application then this will be the only university you can apply to.
Obviously that dramatically reduces both your options and your chances of getting a place so only do this if you’re sure that’s the only university you want to go to.
How do I apply directly?
If you’ve decided that the “record of prior acceptance” route is right for you want then you’ll need to contact the university admissions team and ask about their direct application process.
You’ll need to tell them your grades, information about your work experience or extra-curricular activities, and you might still have to submit a personal statement.
Make sure you phone the university as early as possible and have clear, concise answers prepared.