Clearing FAQs

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Clearing - what you need to know

From the outside, Clearing looks like a complicated system and it can seem overwhelming. If you’re confused about what Clearing is, how it works and whether it’s relevant to you, you’re not alone! However, the truth is that Clearing isn’t as complex as it first appears.

At Essex, we like to think about Clearing simply as your final opportunity to choose a place at university. Here are some of the questions we get asked every year and our simple, no-faff answers.

How does Clearing work?

Put simply, Clearing is your final opportunity to apply for university starting this year. You can use this to change course, change university or choose to attend university when perhaps you hadn’t planned to before! It is available to all students (UK and international). You don't even need to have a UCAS application to use it.

How do I apply through Clearing?

You can apply via our web form or over the phone on our hotline. If you have any questions about the process check out our how to apply page.

Do I have to apply over the phone?

No – we also take applications online. You'll get a decision in the same timescale whichever method you use, and if you apply via our webform, you can upload any supporting documents you may have, such as transcripts or certificates.

When does Clearing close?

Please note, Clearing is now closed for 2021.

According to UCAS, Clearing closes in October. However, Clearing works on a first come first served basis, so it’s best to make your application sooner rather than later. If your course fills up before the deadline, it will close. That said, a Clearing application shouldn’t be a knee jerk reaction after getting your results, and you should take your time to look at your options fully.

If you require a Student visa, keep in mind that you may need to allow enough time for a CAS to be issued and so you should try to apply through Clearing by early September at the latest.

How long will it take to make a decision?

We will aim to be back in touch via email within 2 - 3 working days of receiving your application. If you have any certificates or transcripts of your qualifications, please make use of the document uploader on the online Clearing webform to send these to us with your Clearing application, especially if these are not standard UK qualifications. This will often help us make our decision much quicker.

It’s really important to ensure you give us the best email address to contact you on. Check your emails regularly as we may contact you if we need more information before making a decision, or to let you know an interview is required before an offer can be made. All the information about what you need to do if you receive a Clearing offer and the next steps will also be sent to you via email.

How long can I take to respond to my offer?

If you have received a Clearing offer and you would like to accept it, please add Essex as your Clearing choice by following the instructions in the email you will have received. We don’t have a fixed deadline to do this but, as demand for places is high, we recommend doing this as soon as you can. This will allow you to secure your place and apply for accommodation.

I'm holding an offer at another university, can I still apply to Essex through Clearing?

Of course – we’d love to hear from you! If you’re reconsidering your options and you’re interested in studying at Essex, do get in touch and find out if we’d be able to offer you a place on your chosen course. You won’t, however, be able to add Essex as your Clearing choice through UCAS while you’re holding an offer at another university.

I declined my offer from Essex - can I apply again in Clearing?

No problem! Just make sure you tell us that you applied previously when you get in touch.

Essex has rejected me - can I reapply through Clearing?

If we rejected you after receiving your results or after attending a compulsory interview, then unfortunately you cannot re-apply for the same course.

We may have also considered you for alternative courses before rejecting your previous application, but if you would like to be considered for a different course or you have additional information/qualifications to provide since your original application, get in touch and we can advise.


Why have I been offered a different course to the one I applied for?

This is because we haven't been able to offer you a place on the course you originally applied for. This is most likely to be because the course you applied for is full or you were not eligible. However, the good news is that we have been able to offer you an alternative course. Use our course finder to find out more about the alternative course you have been offered. 

Why have I been offered a Foundation Year course?

We may have offered you a degree with an integrated foundation year, if you didn’t meet the entry requirements for Year One of the degree. During your foundation year, you’ll study within our Essex Pathways Department, taking modules which are relevant to your chosen degree, along with academic skills modules that enable you to succeed at undergraduate level. It is a great way to improve your confidence before starting your first year of undergraduate study. More information about Essex Pathways is available here

Will applying through Clearing affect my student finance?

If you’ve already applied for student finance but decided to change your course or university through Clearing or Adjustment, you need to let Student Finance know as soon as possible.

If you haven’t yet applied for student finance and you need funding, you should apply online as soon as possible once your Clearing place has been confirmed and your status with Essex is UFFurther information about Student Finance, how to apply, and their contact details are available on their website

Can I release myself into Clearing?

Yes. You can do this via UCAS Track using the 'decline my place' option, but you should only do this when you know you have an offer from another university. Otherwise you could be left with nothing!

Can I apply through Clearing with only some of my grades?

You can submit an application, yes. However, it is unlikely we would be able to make a decision on your application without all of your grades so we would advise you wait until you have all of your results before your apply.

If you make a Clearing application using our web form, please use the document uploader to provide us with copies of any relevant transcripts or documentation, especially if you have not taken standard UK qualifications.

Will I need to attend an interview?

This depends upon your course - there are a few health-related courses for which an interview is mandatory but these will all take place via Zoom. You’ll get further details about this via email.

My place has been confirmed, can I apply for accommodation?

Once you’re UF with us, you can apply for accommodation. The guarantee deadline for accommodation was 12 September 2021, however we still have limited spaces available – if not, you’ll be placed on a waiting list and we’ll allocate you a room as soon as possible. Details of how to apply will be included in the email we send to confirm your offer. You can also arrange your own private accommodation through SU Homes.

Do you have any scholarships available for Clearing students?

Yes! You can find out more about the scholarships we have available and find out whether you're eligible on our Scholarships page.

I haven't taken A-level or BTEC qualifications, can I still apply through Clearing? 

Yes, we consider a range of qualifications for entry to Essex. If you make a Clearing application using our online Clearing form, please make sure you include the full title of your qualification, the year it was taken and your grades. If you have any certificates or transcripts of your qualifications, please make use of the document uploader on the online Clearing form to send these to us with your application, especially if these are not standard UK qualifications. This will often help us make our decision much quicker.

Can I apply as a mature learner?

Yes! We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds. Find out more about applying as a mature student.

Can I visit the University?

Yes! We run Campus Tours and Open Days throughout the year. Find out more about visiting the University.

What COVID-19 measures are in place?

In these unprecedented times our top priority is keeping our community safe; our existing students, staff and of course our new students. We follow government guidance at all times whilst also ensuring that the education and experience we offer is as unaffected as possible. You trust us with your education, and now more than ever we plan to reward that trust with a committed and well-considered plan of action to see us through COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 University guidance webpage for up to date information.

Why choose Essex in Clearing?

As a first year student, you're guaranteed University accommodation
You'll join a truly international community of students from over 130 countries
You can study abroad for a year of your course!
We're top 30 in the UK (Complete University Guide 2022)
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Got a question about Clearing?

Let's talk! Get in touch with us on live chat and we'll give you some advice and help with applying to Essex. We're on hand from 9.00am - 10.00pm GMT, Monday to Friday.