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Making the final choice

Calling UCAS Clearing hotlines

Calling a Clearing hotline can be daunting, but if you prepare properly and read our tips on what to expect, you can find your ideal Clearing course.

Student holding phone about to call a Clearing hotline

Calling a Clearing hotline 

Calling a university for Clearing may seem scarier than it is. It'll involve you confirming your grades and answering a few short questions. Some courses may ask for more in-depth answers, but even these can be answered well with a little preparation. For more information on practicing your answers read our guide to Preparing for your university clearing call

It may feel like an informal interview, but admissions tutors want to see your enthusiasm for the course and the university.  

Where do I find Clearing hotline numbers?

You can find all the numbers for universities through our Clearing course chooser. Search by either subject or university and click on the green CALL NOW button to reveal the number.

Note that a university's Clearing number will be different from their usual contact number. Clicking the CALL NOW button when searching for a Clearing course will reveal what their Clearing number is.

When to call a university 

Universities say on their websites what time their hotlines are open on results day – usually from around 8am. They may be closed on a Saturday or Sunday, and the process is usually slower after the weekend. 

While you should avoid making hasty decisions about where you go to university and what you study you should try to call universities as early as possible after getting your results. Vacancies get filled quite quickly on results day and are typically filled within the week following. 

You can call lots of universities, and you don’t have to settle on the first one that gives you an offer. Be ambitious but realistic, and make sure what you decide is the right thing for you.

How to prepare for your Clearing call 

Once you have your list of universities, their numbers, and the courses you are interested in you can start calling. Look at our checklist and top tips below to be sure you have everything ready before you pick up the phone.

Check list

  • Paper and working pens to note down any important names, numbers, or information. 
  • Fully charged phone and laptop 
  • Quiet space to talk in 
  • UCAS ID and Clearing number 
  • Your grades – both A Levels and GCSEs (or equivalent) 
  • Code of the course/s you’re interested in 
  • Any notes with what you want to say or questions you’d like to ask 
  • Your personal statement to refresh your mind

Top tips

Keep your computer close by if possible so you can find information online quickly. 

If you're expecting an online interview, make sure you check your technology is working first. Many unis use either Microsoft Teams or Zoom – both of which are free to accept an invitation from, even if you don't have an account of your own.  

Make sure you know what you want to study – if not a specific course, then at least the subject area. Be prepared to consider different courses. You can ask, for example, “am I eligible for any of your engineering courses?” and see what the university offers.  

For more information on preparing for your clearing call including research and practicing your answers read our guide to preparing for your university clearing call

After the call 

If you’re given an offer, don't feel that you need to accept the offer straight away without giving it some thought. Paul, Student Recruitment and Enquiries Manager in charge of Clearing at Staffordshire University, highlights that you can take the time you need to consider an offer but be sure to stay in contact with the university: 

Once you've called the university back to confirm your offer, the university will send an email with details showing you how to add them to your UCAS Hub The email should include information about the course and when the offer expires. You’re not obliged to, but if you want to accept it you can update your offer online. 

If you’ve been given an offer from another university that you’re not accepting, phone them to decline the offer, as they may be holding it for you and can give it to someone else. 

You may be able to visit the university on a Clearing open day before (or after) you accept the offer. This gives you a chance to meet staff and students, look around departments and accommodation and have a taste of what it’ll be like studying there. 

If you’ll be heading to a different university, you’ll need to sort out accommodation and update your student finance information. This is easy, but always check if the university can offer accommodation to Clearing and insurance choice students as accommodation is often oversubscribed and given on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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