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How Long Does Clearing Take?

How Long Does Clearing Take?

by Newcastle University

The wait until Results Day is long enough, without having to wait even longer to know if you’ve secured a place through Clearing. 

First things first, remember to stay calm. Not getting the results you need to secure your firm or insurance choice can feel scary, especially since things suddenly feel so up in the air.

But unfortunate results are by no means the end of your journey, just the start of a different one. 

So, take a deep breath and, if you haven’t already, make a start on researching universities with Clearing spaces available. 


When does Clearing open? 

UCAS Clearing starts in July, and is open until October. 

This year, from 5th July to 19th October, you can apply for a course via Clearing. That is if you don't already have an offer from a university or course. 


How long does Clearing take?

The majority of the Clearing process happens over the course of a short phone conversation. It's only the last stage in the process - when you're required to formalise the offer in UCAS Track - that can take longer.

This may take even longer if you have been accepted by either your firm and insurance choice, because you will need to be released from them and wait for confirmation that you have been released in order


How long does it take to get a Clearing decision? 

1. Connecting to a Clearing advisor

It can take up to 20 minutes to connect to a Clearing adviser.

Once you have chosen which universities to reach out to, you should get in touch via online chat or the phone. An Advisor will usually be in touch within 20 minutes. Clearing lines are often busy on Results Day, so it’s normal to have to wait a short while.

However, universities are well equipped to manage a high volume of students getting in touch - so this step should take no longer than 20 minutes at most, and a couple of minutes at least. 


2. Speaking with a Clearing advisor

A conversation with a Clearing advisor can last 5-30 minutes.

Once you’re connected to an Advisor they will ask you a few questions, such as what course are you interested in? What grades have you achieved? What are your UCAS details?

At this point, you will be informed if there are spaces available on the course you’re interested in and whether your grades meet the requirements. 

During this conversation, you may receive a verbal offer within a few minutes. However, if you have mixed qualifications you should expect this conversation to take a little longer. Another reason a phone conversation may take longer is if you have more questions about the course or the university. 


3. Formalising your verbal Clearing offer

Formalising your Clearing offer can take from a few minutes up to 5 days. 

Once you have received a verbal offer over the phone, you will receive an email confirming what you need to do next. The email will arrive within the hour, and will advise you to refer yourself through UCAS track within five days. 

However, you cannot refer yourself through Track until after 3:00pm on Results Day.

Once you have referred yourself, this will need to be downloaded onto our system from UCAS. At this point, your details will be confirmed by a member of staff, and confirmation that your details are accurate will be sent to UCAS immediately. This can take anywhere between a few hours to a few days.

You can formalise your verbal offer on Results Day, if you refer yourself through UCAS Track straight away. This stage is typically the most time-consuming but the good news is, you have control over how quickly you refer yourself through Track. 


For more information on the Clearing process, read our latest blog on what to do if you want to change your Clearing choice. Alternatively, read our guide to UCAS Clearing in 2021.