Clearing: What to say when you call universities


So you need to call your shortlist of Clearing universities to secure a place.

But what should you say and do to give yourself the best shot at being accepted?

Remember these 5 things.

phoning universities


1) Have all the key information to hand

The first thing you’ll be asked for is your UCAS ID and personal Clearing number. Have these written down before the call!

Make sure you’re also able to tell them your grades, and what course or subject you’d like to study. You can also make their lives easier by providing the particular course code you're interested in.

TIP: When you give your contact details, make sure they repeat these back to you. This will ensure they don't mistakenly call someone else regarding your potential uni place later.


2) Don’t be pushy or desperate

It’s fine if you’re feeling this way inside. You just can’t take express this to the person you’re speaking to.

Asking lots of questions about the course and university is fine, just so long as they don’t reveal a lack of basic research on your part.

Even worse would be a question about whether the course is in Clearing because it’s unpopular.

Oh, and never ever say, ‘What’s available? I’ll take anything!’. Not only will this elicit a bad response from the person you’re talking to, it’s a bad approach to take in your life. Only choose a degree you’re genuinely interested in.


3) Ask questions and show enthusiasm

If you’re put through to an academic or someone who’s going to make the final decision about whether you’re accepted, it’s time to really sell yourself and demonstrate why you’d be a fantastic student.

The way to do this is by showing your passion for the subject and the specific course you’re applying for.

Prepare what you’ll say beforehand if this helps and don’t forget to ask informed questions that show off your knowledge and the thought you’ve put into this decision.

You could ask about options for electives for example, or whether you’ll be studying particular texts. Anything that expresses your enthusiasm and the care you’ve taken in considering whether this is the course for you.


4) Request an informal offer 

If you’re planning to call a few different universities, you’re well within your rights to compare them based on what the person on the phone is telling you.

Importantly, you don’t need to make a final decision and confirm on the spot.

Usually, if the university is willing to accept you, they’ll give you an informal offer. Ask for confirmation of this to be sent over email.

By securing informal offers over the phone first, you have the luxury of deciding between a few different places before finally accepting one and confirming on Track.


5) Arrange a visit

If you’re looking at a university in a city or country you’ve never been to before, it’s fair to want to check it out before you sign up to live there for several years.

Many universities actually hold a second round of open days for Clearing students which you can enquire about on the call.

Even if they don’t host official open days, they’ll be more than happy for you to visit and can arrange for someone to show you around campus.


If you keep these 5 pointers in mind when you’re calling Clearing universities, you’re not only more likely to walk away with an offer; you'll also feel more certain about which course is the best fit for you.

Remember, while Clearing might follow disappointment about not getting into your first or second choice universities, it might just turn out to be the best thing that could have happened. I know some of my friends definitely think so!


If you need help finding last minute accommodation, check out these options across the UK.


Keep reading: Questions to ask yourself before choosing a Clearing course