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Making the final choice

Applying directly into Clearing

If you haven’t applied for university by the June deadline don’t worry. Applying directly into Clearing is another chance to apply for university once you’ve got your results.

Student writing college or university application form with laptop.

What’s a direct Clearing application?

A direct application is one made for a Clearing course by a student who hasn’t already applied for university. Any student applying to university for the first time after the 30 June deadline will have to make a direct Clearing application.

How do I apply this way?

Direct Clearing applications can be made in two ways.

The most common way is to apply through UCAS CLearing after 5th July 2021. This requires creating a UCAS Track account, where you’ll be given a unique UCAS ID number. You’ll need to write a personal statement and provide an academic reference. Once you’ve received your grades, you can start calling universities to see whether you get any verbal offers. Each university will have a dedicated Clearing hotline for you to call, which can be found when searching for Clearing courses.

You can also apply directly without UCAS, through Record of Prior Acceptance (RPA). Some universities will let you apply without a UCAS account, but not all. The university will typically send your offer via email with a link to complete an online form. Check this with the university when you call.

It's more common for international students to apply directly via an agent or a guidance counsellor, but is rare for a UK student to do this, unless their entry is for January or another entry point which may not fit the usual UCAS cycle. 

Who can apply directly?

Those students who haven’t made a university application by the 30 June deadline will apply directly via UCAS Clearing. This could be because they’re waiting to see their results before applying to university, are still unsure whether to go or not, or have only decided to go to university after the deadline.

Direct applications are also made by mature students. It’s not uncommon for older students to return to study having spent many years away from education. This could be to learn new skills or boost existing ones.

Why should I apply directly?

You’ll have more time to consider what you’d like to study and where by applying directly. You may not know what degree you’d like to pursue by the 30 June application deadline, so applying directly into Clearing affords you extra time.

You may prefer to wait until you have your results, so you know what courses are realistic to pursue. By waiting you could have a greater chance of acceptance onto a course, as many universities lower their entry requirements in Clearing.

However, choosing to apply directly means you could miss out on certain courses and universities. Subjects such as Medicine and Veterinary Medicine often fill their places before Clearing opens. You typically won’t find many available Clearing courses in these subjects, but this will vary from university to university.

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