Frequently asked questions
If you have any questions regarding Confirmation and Clearing, this page is
here to help you. It provides answers to questions applicants commonly ask
about Confirmation and Clearing.
Questions about Confirmation and Clearing
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is the process that universities and UCAS go through once
they have received your results. If you have gained the grades required (for
your first choice institution), including in the subjects that may have been
specified, your place will automatically be confirmed.
If you have not quite achieved the grades your firm choice institution
asked for it is important to check your UCAS Track record or ring the
university - they may still accept you!
If it turns out that you have not been successful in getting into your
firm choice institution, then you should contact your insurance choice
institution. If you have the grades required for this institution, your
place will automatically be confirmed once they have received information
from UCAS to say that you have been rejected by your firm choice.
What happens if I have not gained the grades
for my firm or insurance choice but I have been offered an
It is important to gain as much information about the alternative degree
you have been offered. You should try and discuss the degree content with a
member of staff at the university, after looking at the prospectus and
website. Remember that you are under no obligation to accept a changed
degree offer but, if it meets your expectations and you are happy with the
university, then you should give it serious consideration. Note that, in
some cases, you may be able to opt to transfer between the degree you were
offered and your original choice after successfully completing the first
year, but you should check this before accepting the place.
What happens if I am waiting on my firm or
insurance offer to make a decision?
If your firm choice institution has yet to confirm your place, then you
can still contact your insurance choice to see if they have made a decision.
If it looks as though you are going to be rejected by both of your choices
then you can start to contact other universities to see what is available.
Until both your firm and insurance choices have made a decision, you will
not be entered into Clearing.
When do I know if I am in Clearing?
If neither your firm or insurance choices have been able to accept you,
you will then be a Clearing applicant. UCAS will
inform you of this via UCAS Track.
I am in Clearing, what do I do next?
Clearing is the final opportunity for applicants to find a university
place. If you still want to go to university next academic year, start by
researching alternative courses and institutions. Make sure you have all the
relevant information in front of you before you start contacting
universities (ie UCAS number, examination results, courses you are
interested in etc).
The University of Essex publishes guidance about what to do once you are
How do I find out which universities have
degrees in Clearing?
Websites: The majority of universities (and UCAS) will have a list of their
vacancies on their website, and you may be able to apply online - the UCAS
clearing information and listings are on the
Newspaper listings: National newspapers include a list of all degree courses with vacancies
at all the different universities in the UK. This information can be found
in the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph (these hold the official
Telephone: All universities will publicise their
Clearing Telephone Hotline number. The telephones are often
staffed by current students, which means you can also ask direct questions
about life at that particular university.
Can I go back to one of the universities I put
down on my UCAS form, that I declined, to see if they have any
If you had offers from other universities but turned them down in
preference of your firm and insurance choices, and they have places
available during Clearing, then it is worthwhile going back to them. They
should still have your original application form and therefore will
already have access to your details, which in turn will make the process quicker.
If you do contact one of your original choices during Clearing it is
important that you let them know you are an original applicant.
There are vacancies in my chosen degree, what
should I do?
Either contact the university with the vacancy via their
Clearing Telephone Hotline
(which will enable you to discuss the content of the course and the type of
university it is) or go to their website and apply online. It is important
when looking at universities in Clearing that you do not lose sight of the
criteria you used when picking your original five choices for your UCAS
form. If you originally applied to all campus universities that guaranteed
university-owned accommodation in the first year, you should think carefully
about applying to a different type of institution in Clearing. You are
advised not to rush into accepting an offer at a university before you have
finished looking at all the degrees available and before you have visited
In order to accept a Clearing offer from a university, you must refer
yourself to that institution and course code via UCAS Track. This is intended
to give all applicants time to research and consider their
options thoroughly before making a decision.
You can apply to the University of Essex via our
Telephone Hotline, or by
completing our online Clearing Enquiry Form.
The University of Essex guarantees a single room in University-owned
accommodation to all applicants who have been admitted by Friday 23 August
and who have applied for accommodation by that date. (Applicants who are
resident in the borough of Colchester or Southend are normally exempt from this
guarantee, but may apply and are usually accommodated.)
What do I do if I have only just decided to go
to university and have not applied though UCAS yet?
Do not worry if you have not applied through UCAS yet - it is not too
late. When you telephone a university, let them know that you have not
applied through UCAS and then they will send you a UCAS Record of Prior
Acceptance form. You must only complete this form when you have decided
which university is the most suitable for you and the University has
confirmed they will offer you a place on your chosen degree course. When you
have completed the form, you must send it directly to the university of your
choice, and NOT TO UCAS.
When I ring what should I expect?
When you first contact a university, you will go through to the Clearing
Hotline where members of staff will ask for basic details such as your UCAS
personal ID number, address, grades etc. They will then give your details to
an admissions selector to make the decision. You may find that an admissions
selector telephones you back, so it is important that you remain by the
telephone. If you contact the University of Essex through Clearing and your
application is successful, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.
It is very important for universities to capture accurate information
about your grades. Telephone hotline staff will read back the information
you have given, but it is most important that you are also confident that we
have recorded your grades correctly. If we find out after offering you a
place that your grades were incorrectly recorded, eg you got a D instead of
a B, then we may have to rescind the offer.
Should I go to a Clearing open day?
It is recommended that you attend a Clearing open day. The day will
provide information about the university, accommodation and, most
importantly, more details about the degree you wish to study. It will also
give you the opportunity to meet academic staff, current students and other
applicants. If you decide you like the university and they have given you an
offer, computers will be available for you to enter the degree as your
clearing choice in UCAS Track which will secure your place.
I wish to accept the offer, how do I do this?
If the degree offered is right for you and the university is just what
you want then you are ready to accept the offer.
At this stage you must enter the university's code (E70 for the
University of Essex) and course code as your clearing choice in UCAS Track.
The university will then confirm your place via UCAS and you will be
notified via UCAS Track.