The process of ‘Clearing’ allows students who have their received results (but have no offers) to find a course, even at some of the UK’s most prestigious institutions.

If you’re an international student who has applied to study in the UK and you didn’t get the course you wanted on results day, don’t panic. There is still a way to land a spot at university in September 2016, and – the world’s largest and most successful marketplace for international student accommodation – can tell you exactly how:

What is Clearing?

Clearing is an application service for those who have not managed to get an undergraduate course. It officially opened in July and will close on 27 September this year.

You will need your exam results before you apply, and for many students in the UK these will be given on 18 August. The days that follow results day are the busiest as new university places become available, so it is important to be prepared.

Over 64,400 students used Clearing last year to get a place at university, so it is a great tool for those keen to embark on an undergraduate programme.

Can international students use Clearing?

Absolutely, providing you have, or open, an application through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). This is an online system that is used for sending applications from students to their desired universities.

In fact, the following scenarios qualify you to use Clearing in the UK. If you applied for a course before the 30 June and:

  • Did not receive any offers
  • Declined all of your offers
  • Did not meet the conditions of both your firm and insurance offers
  • If you applied after 30 June, your application will automatically go through the Clearing process

International students should ensure they have time to apply for a UK visa, if required and to find accommodation in their chosen city before the course starts.

How can I use Clearing?

First, register with UCAS. If you haven’t already, log into the online system called Track. Here you can check you are eligible for the service.

If you already have an application with UCAS but missed out on getting the required results to earn a place, you’ll receive a Clearing number to use. If you applied after 30 June, you will have already received a Clearing number.

Browse the available Clearing courses that are listed on the UCAS websiteThe Telegraph, or by contacting the universities directly. The list of Clearing courses is updated regularly on UCAS with available places, so keep checking back!

Many universities have a phone line set up to deal directly with Clearing enquiries and you’ll need to make a call when you find a course that you wish to apply for. There are often specific phone numbers for international students who are not yet in the UK.

On the phone, you’ll have to quote your Clearing number, your UCAS number and grades. You should also be prepared to explain why you wish to study the course and how you are a good candidate, so don’t worry if they ask further questions.

After you contact an institution and (only if) they give you an informal offer, you can add one course to your Clearing choice on Track.

Track will be updated when the university confirms whether or not you meet the conditions of the offer. You will then receive a confirmation letter to say you have been accepted. If you are not accepted, you will be able to submit another choice after you have spoken on the phone to the relevant university.

What is Adjustment?

You may have heard both Clearing and Adjustment being mentioned during the results period.

Clearing is open to students, both international and domestic, who do not have university offers. Adjustment is applicable for those who have either met and exceeded their offers and wish to find a better place elsewhere.

Adjustment students have five days to talk to other universities about an alternative choice of course. Their existing offer will be reserved during this time.

There are no official published lists for the courses available for Adjustment. Many can be found on university websites, however. Some places in Clearing will also be available for those in Adjustment.

What do I do if my Clearing application is not successful?

Those who do not secure an offer through Clearing are able to reapply the following year. The main deadline for applications for undergraduate courses starting in September 2017 is 15 January, 2017.

Students may also wish to consider other types of qualifications, including further education, English language courses or shorter courses.

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