Clearing Plus 2020: Everything you need to know about the new process

I promise there’s no need to stress

If you’re reading this, there’s a strong chance you’re currently on Clearing Plus, shitting bricks and frantically trying to decide what to do with your A-level results.

Maybe you didn’t get the grades you needed, and are tearing pages off your old textbooks and cursing that day off. But don’t stress – not getting into your first choice uni might not be such a bad thing anyway. In fact, for some it’s the best thing they ever did.

Either way, we’ve got you covered – here is everything you need to know about the new UCAS system for A-levels 2020.

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There’s no need to be this stressed

What is Clearing Plus?

Clearing Plus is a new and updated way to go through clearing. In a nutshell, if unis still have space on their courses they’ll accept grades lower than usual – so you can still find a place, or switch course.

If you’ve done better than expected (congrats!) and want to change your place, you can go through the Adjustment process to move to a uni with higher requirements.

What’s different from last year?

In Clearing, a new button has been added to the Track section. It’s called ‘view matches’, and when you press it you will be matched with courses from unis looking for students.

You can browse the courses, and if you find one you like the look of then you just have to press ‘I’m interested’, and your detes will be given to wherever you’ve applied.

From there, if a uni is interested they will drop you a message – and all you have to do is add it to a clearing choice, and you’re in. UCAS says that it will make the process easier and less stressful for students.

When can I use Clearing Plus?

If you’ve not got the grades you needed to get into your first choice, you’ve declined your firm offer, or you haven’t had offers from any of your choices. Basically, if you’re not happy with where you’re going, you can go through clearing.

If you need a hand deciding which uni you should go to, we’ve made a Tab guide to choosing which uni you should go to, and it includes everything from which uni smokes the most weed to how many students at each uni vote Tory.

Which unis can I go to?

A record of 73,320 people used the service in 2019, with many of those going to a Russell Group.

This year, the list of Russell Group unis which you can apply to through clearing includes the University of BirminghamUniversity of Bristol, Cardiff UniversityUniversity of Exeter, University of GlasgowKing’s College London, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, Queen Mary University of London, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Sheffield, University of SouthamptonUniversity of Warwick, and the University of York.

You can use the UCAS search tool to see which course you might want to apply for. To see the full list of unis you can apply to through clearing click here.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the uni you’re applying to, in the true spirit of 2020 you can take the tour virtually instead.

How does Clearing Plus work for international students?

You may find yourself asking how you can use clearing if you’re an international student. There are no restrictions on clearing, and yes, international students can secure a uni place this way.

You just need to have applied through UCAS at an earlier stage, have been turned down by your firm or insurance choice, applied to the course before June 30th, qualified academically for a firm or insurance offer but have decided not to take it up and have paid the £22 application fee to enter clearing.

My grades are better than I expected, should I use adjustment?

If your grades are better than expected, you can adjust upwards to go to a uni with higher entry requirements. This is different from Clearing Plus, and should be done here. You can access it through logging into Track on your UCAS login.

But remember – if you’re happy with the uni you’ve been offered, don’t feel pressured to frantically move to a different one, just because it has higher entry requirements!

Clearing without UCAS

You might be wondering if you can apply for a spot through university clearing without having done a UCAS application – and the answer is generally no. You can’t just apply directly to a university without UCAS, but there are some exceptions.

Some universities let you use the “record of prior acceptance” (RPA) route. This allows you to apply directly to a university when there have been certain circumstances that have prevented applicants from using UCAS.

You basically have to speak to the uni submissions department, get an offer from them and then fill out a RPA form. You can only do this for one university though, and you need to have all of your results.

If all this doesn’t work out then never mind – hundreds of students drop out once they make it to uni anyway.

The Tab is a university news network across the UK. Like your uni on Facebook here.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Why not going to your first choice uni isn’t the end of the world

• ‘I’m so glad it happened’: People who went through Clearing on what happened next

• These unis have made clearing videos that are so bad you know exactly where not to go