If you’ve just had your results back from school or college and they weren’t what you’d hoped for, don’t panic. There are other options at this stage that you can take to enrol onto your ideal university degree, find a suitable alternative or something completely different if you’ve decided not to pursue your original choice.
What is UCAS Clearing?
Simply put, UCAS Clearing is a way for universities to fill spaces that are still available on their courses.
Ideally, universities want all their courses to have the maximum number of students enrolled. Understandably, they earn more money from the course fees. But there is also no point in letting spaces go to waste when more would-be university learners could study their ideal course and achieve their learning goals.
Once the initial round of students who have been offered a place on the course have accepted, universities advertise the remaining spaces on UCAS Clearing. Then, anyone who is yet to secure a place on a course can apply.
How does UCAS Clearing work?
There are a few ways to go about getting a place on a university course that would go into UCAS Clearing if your results aren’t what you hoped:
Call your first choice university
It may seem like your university dreams are over when you don’t meet the requirements of your ideal course on paper. The truth though, is often very far from it. Calling your first choice university can be a quick and simple way of securing a place that would be advertised via UCAS Clearing.
A conversation with them to discuss your situation, express your enthusiasm for the subject and explaining why you deserve a place can go a long way. Many students secure a spot this way, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and have a chat.
Look at your UCAS points over your grades
Sometimes, grades aren’t the only things universities consider. Many look at UCAS points too. So, if you’re looking to bump up your offering, qualifications like general studies, for example, can boost the number of UCAS points you have.
Therefore, it’s well worth researching what other universities consider for meeting their entry requirements ahead of time. That way, you know exactly who to contact when UCAS Clearing becomes available.
Apply directly through UCAS Clearing
Another option that can help you view the entire number of alternate courses available is by applying directly, online, through UCAS Clearing. You need to complete a UCAS application to use the UCAS Clearing system, and this can be done online through UCAS Apply.
After you’ve submitted your application, UCAS will provide you with your UCAS Clearing number and details of how to log into the account where you track your progress.
You can then view the courses available in UCAS Clearing and it’s worth noting that these can change as places fill up or become available on each course. Bearing in mind that students who have been offered a place on the courses can also change their minds and go elsewhere. So, it’s well worth checking regularly as a course that is full now may not be later down the line.
If your course isn’t available, you may want to consider a different subject or a joint honours course that teaches your subject in combination with another.
When you see one that you like and you want to add it as a preferred choice, you’ll need to contact the university providing the course ahead of doing so. This is because they need to talk with you to find out more about you, your situation and why you deserve a spot on their course before they give you permission to add it to your UCAS Clearing choice list.
Please bear in mind that you can only add one UCAS Clearing option at a time. So you’ll either need to wait for a decision from your current choice, or ask them to release you if you see another course you prefer. Which would make you free to add the more suitable course into the system.
Who can apply for UCAS Clearing?
Anyone who has made a UCAS Undergraduate application that doesn’t hold an offer from a university can use UCAS Clearing. This can be people in various situations, examples of which are:
- You applied to university late – after the 30th June
- You’ve not received any offers from universities
- A conditional offer was given, but you did not get the grades required
- You decided against an offer you were given and you’re now looking for a new course
What dates does UCAS Clearing become available?
UCAS Clearing becomes available from early July to mid-October each year. For the exact dates, please see the UCAS website.
What is UCAS Clearing Plus?
UCAS Clearing Plus is a new addition to the UCAS Clearing system in which UCAS actively helps you find the course and university most suited to you.
With so many courses to choose from, UCAS Clearing Plus aims to sift through the options for you. It takes details about you – like the original courses you applied for, your qualifications and grades - and compares it against the desired qualities that universities are looking for in students.
If UCAS Clearing Plus find what they believe to be a good match, they’ll submit your details. If you show an interest in any of the courses, the institution can contact you directly.
What are the alternate options to UCAS Clearing?
If UCAS Clearing or UCAS Clearing Plus aren’t options you’d like to pursue, there are other ways you can meet the requirements of your ideal university course.
The main thing you need to remember at this point is you really don’t need to panic. You don’t have to rush such an important decision and you have time to consider other options that will help you reach your goal.
You can always resit your A Levels at college, alternatively you can also take online courses that allow you to reach the same goal in much less time.
Online A Levels and Access to Higher Education (HE) Diplomas can be studied at a time and pace that suits you. So you can get the qualification you need quickly, and get back on track to university faster than in traditional education settings.
The degree you study and the university you go to can put you on a path that sets the course of your life. So it’s very important you’re happy with where you end up. Secondary options through UCAS Clearing can work out very well. If the alternate options would see you studying something you hadn’t previously considered, or living somewhere that is much further than your ideal location, don’t feel that you have to accept them.
There’s nothing wrong with taking some time to do what you need to meet the entry requirements of your first choice. learndirect provide a number of courses that can help get you ready to start the course you wanted, at the original university you had in mind.
What courses can I study with learndirect?
Depending on the type of degree you’re planning to study, we have numerous A Levels and Access to HE Diplomas to help you meet the requirements. You have two years to work through them, though both can be completed in as little as 6-12 months. Helping you to get ready for university quickly, in time for next years round of UCAS applications.
Online A Levels
Accepted by all universities, these traditional courses can help you get into some of the most competitive universities and undergraduate degree programmes.
- Business Studies
- English Language
- English Literature
For a full list of all the A Levels we offer, please see the A Levels course page.
Online Access to Higher Education Diplomas
Accepted by most universities, Access to HE Diplomas are available to learners in the UK. They provide such vocation-specific knowledge and skills that they can go in place of up to three individual A Levels.
Upon successful completion of your Access to HE Diploma, you can pursue many degrees related to the area of study. Please note, it is up to you to check that your Access to HE Diploma is accepted at your desired university.
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Business and Management)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Computer Science)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Engineering)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (English Studies)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Midwifery)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Science) - Medicine and Healthcare Professions Pathway
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) - Psychology and Sociology
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work)
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Sports Science)
For a full list of all the Access to HE Diplomas we offer, please see the Access to HE Diplomas course page.
What do I need to enrol on learndirect’s courses?
You don’t need any prior qualifications to enrol on our A Levels or Access to HE Diplomas. Though we recommend students hold a GCSE in Maths and English (or equivalent) at grade C or above. As this is a common requirement for entry to most universities and degree courses.
Otherwise, all you’ll need is a computer or laptop and an internet connection to get started.
What are the benefits of studying for my qualifications with learndirect?
By choosing to resit your A Levels or study an Access to HE Diploma online you benefit from:
Online materials remove the need for teachers, so set classes and timetables aren’t required. This gives you the freedom to complete the work any time of day or night.
More affordable education
The costs of studying are cut considerably with distance learning. Besides your computer or laptop, there’s no need for physical resources. You don’t have to pay to travel to class and the course provider doesn’t have as many overheads as a physical school or college, so your course fees are often much lower.
As courses are cheaper to run online, there are typically far more available than you’d find in a physical school or college.
Dedicated tutor support
You’re assigned a dedicated qualified tutor who is an expert in your chosen subject. They will provide support and guidance should you need it, as well as constructive feedback to help you progress.
Quicker completion time
You are free to work your way through the course materials as quickly as you like. Which means you have the ability to complete your course much faster than the allotted timeframe. So you could get the results you need and apply to your ideal university within a year.
The only thing you’ll have to bear in mind is any exam dates associated with your course. While many of these are delivered online, they may only be provided at certain points within the year.
How can I pay for my course?
Just as our online courses provide you with flexibility in your studies, our payment options give you more choice as to how you manage your course fees.
You can either pay in full, which is the quickest method of payment providing complete peace of mind. Or you can spread the cost of your education over instalments. This is our most popular payment option which provides a simple way to spread the cost of your online course over a manageable timeframe.
You can find out more on our payment methods page.
When can I get started?
Whereas traditional courses begin at the start of the academic year, online courses begin the minute you enrol. So, there’s no waiting around for months to get stuck in.
If you’ve made the decision to take control of your future by getting the results you need for the degree you want, you can get started today.
All you need to do is:
- Choose your online A Level or Access to HE Diploma and enrol directly via the course page
- Call our student support advisors to enrol over the phone
- Or contact our student support team to enrol online
Make the move towards the future you want now by calling our student support team on 01202 006 464.