Clearing survival guide



Going through Clearing doesn’t have to create a panic. It could be the start of a whole new adventure…

student on a laptop

All too often the concept of Clearing is associated with feelings of panic, worry and disappointment – but that doesn’t have to be the case. Embracing the process, rather than fearing it, could allow you to see it as a positive chance to explore new paths and reassess your options.  

To help you take that leap of faith when it comes to Clearing, we’ve put together a brief Clearing survival guide, with some important pointers you’ll need to take it all in your stride. You’ll also hear from some of our students who came to LJMU through the Clearing process – and it’s safe to say, they have no regrets whatsoever.

What exactly is Clearing?

In a nutshell, Clearing is a process that matches applicants to university places that are yet to be filled. It’s available to anyone who has made an undergraduate application and doesn’t hold any offers. Courses in Clearing aren’t just the ones nobody wants – there are many reasons why courses are still available. It’s an opportunity for those who have missed their conditions, or had a last minute change of heart about the university or course they want to study.

How to survive Clearing:

1. Stay positive

Probably the most important advice of all. A positive mental attitude will keep you calm, collected and in control when it comes to making rational decisions during Clearing. Know that Clearing is something thousands of other students will have to go through too, so you’re certainly not alone. Most importantly – remember there is still every reason to be proud of yourself and optimistic about the future.

2. Plan ahead

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of Clearing, but the more you prepare, the smoother you will find the process. When making those important calls, find a quiet place. It also helps to have the following:

  • Your Clearing number and login for UCAS Track (if you don't have these then don't panic – a Clearing advisor will help you with this)
  • Your A level results/other qualifications
  • A list of questions you want to ask
  • Notes about the course you’re aiming for, including why you wish to study it and any relevant work experience you may have
3. Remember your research

It’s good to make a list of potential universities based on your criteria that will help you to focus your search, for example: ‘I want to study history and live within two hours of home.' Be sure to make a note of any names and email addresses of specific departments you may need to contact, as well as obtaining all of the university Clearing numbers you need to call in advance.

4. Take a day trip

Some universities offer Clearing Open Days, which are definitely worth attending if the option is available. If not, it’s a good idea to visit any potential destinations with a friend or family member to really get a feel for the place. Your new town or city will not only be your place of learning, but your home too - so it’s important you can really see yourself there.  

5. Take your time

Although it can feel like the pressure is on and the clock is ticking during Clearing, it’s important that you don’t act too impulsively. This means not necessarily accepting the first course offered to you by the first university. Of course be mindful of Clearing deadlines, but also make sure you give all options offered to you some serious consideration before you make your final choice. 

6. Get UCAS savvy

Remember that your verbal offer is not confirmed until you refer yourself via UCAS Track. You will also need to think about updating your student finance application and booking student accommodation if you need it. 

So there you have it, our quick survival guide to Clearing. We hope it's helped you fear the process a little less – maybe even made you see it as a positive. Take it from one of our students, Efe, who has no regrets about her Clearing experience: 

7. Be open to other options

It's important to remember that it's totally okay to decide not to go to university, even after your applications have been made. Here at LJMU, we appreciate that we're always learning – which is why our doors are open to people of all ages, and at all stages of their lives. So take some time if you need it. Re-focus and with your new goal in mind, you can boost your qualifications, gain some work experience, save, travel – or do whatever it takes to get you ready for that life-changing leap.

"Clearing has been such a good thing. I’m someone who believes everything happens for a reason. At this University I’ve made wonderful new friends and had so many opportunities to participate in activities that have contributed to my personal growth. Honestly, I think LJMU chose me.” –  Efe Otobrise, MEng Electronic Engineering


We know that the run up to results day, and a lot of what comes after, can be a very stress-inducing time for many applicants. That’s why we do absolutely everything we can to support, reassure and guide each person we speak to through the Clearing process. We have a lot of helpful resources to enable you to better understand Clearing, as well as a team of friendly and dedicated Clearing officers, whose job it is to assist you in securing the best possible outcome.

You can also hear more from our students about their experiences by visiting our Clearing stories page.

Good luck – and remember to relax and enjoy the process. Your new adventure is about to begin!



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