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A parent and supporter's guide to Clearing – University of Reading

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A parent and supporter's guide to Clearing

Helping your child find their place at Reading through Clearing.

Navigating the university application process can be challenging – even more so if results aren't what you or your child expected, your child has changed their mind about their firm or insurance choices, or your child didn't apply to university previously. The most important thing you can do is to take everything in stride and to support your child through this process. To make this easier, we've put together information to help.

1.Prepare for results day

2. Get organised ahead of Clearing

3. Contact us to apply

4. Accept our offer and get to know us

5. Get ready

1. Prepare for results day

On results day (10 August) universities will confirm whether their firm or insurance offer holders are given an unconditional place on a course. On the morning of results day (10 August), your child should log on to UCAS Track to check the status of their offer. If their firm choice university is unable to confirm their place, your child will be released to take up their insurance university, if their insurance choice has offered them a place. Many students choose to enter Clearing to explore other options – Clearing allows your child to apply to universities that still have places available on courses after results are released.

Whilst it may come as a surprise if plans change, Clearing can be a great opportunity to re-consider the original criteria you and your child used when looking at universities. Many students decide they don't want to take a place at their firm or insurance university and use Clearing to switch institutions altogether. Increasingly, students decide not to apply to university by the January deadline, but change their mind and use Clearing to apply to university for the first time. Others may have missed their place on both their firm and insurance university and use Clearing to secure a place at a different university.


Even if your child isn't actively considering Clearing ahead of receiving their final results, the most helpful thing you can do is to understand how Clearing works and Clearing options available.

Make a list of the courses your child is interested in, along with their UCAS code. On all our course pages, we have the title of our courses followed by the UCAS code (a combination of letters and numbers). If your child is considering a switch from their original interests to a different course but they don't have the required subject A levels, there are options on Foundation programmes in a number of subject areas. If your child is from outside the UK and doesn't have British A levels or equivalent qualifications to gain access directly onto a degree programme, then our International Foundation Programme provides them with a pathway to an undergraduate degree. You can check eligibility by country.

You may also have questions about what we're doing to keep our current students and community safe and what our teaching and learning plans are for the autumn term 2021. We've put together dedicated COVID-19 information pages for prospective students and applicants where you can find information specifically for our future students about the start of term, what to expect, the safety measures we've put in place, and the commitments we've made to ensure our new students are supported through the process of joining us at Reading.

If you or your child have questions about what it's like to be a student at Reading, why not chat with a current Reading student? They'd love to tell you about their experiences and can help with any questions you have. You can also ask us a question if you want to contact our Recruitment and Admissions Team directly.


Once your child has their results and has decided they will enter Clearing, they will need to contact us to apply. Please make sure they have their UCAS personal ID (if they've previously applied via UCAS) and their qualifications (including any GCSEs or equivalents) available before they contact us. If they haven't applied via UCAS, don't worry – we'll be able to help them through the process when they contact us.

How to contact us

  • If your child receives their final results between 5 July and 3 August, they can call the Undergraduate Admissions Team on +44 (0) 118 378 8372 or they can apply using our online form – see our guide to applying online to help them submit their online application form smoothly. Please wait to contact us until your child has their final results, as we won't be able to process applications without them.
  • If your child receives their final results on 10 August, make sure you visit our Clearing pages a few days before, as we'll publish our Clearing hotline number there. Better yet, register your interest to receive information and guidance about Clearing at Reading. Your child will also be able to apply online on results day (10 August) – see our guide to applying online that will help them submit their online application form smoothly.

We know that waiting on the phone can be difficult, but please be patient and continue to hold the line. We have a queuing system and will get to your child's call in the order in which it was received. If they hang up and try again, they'll be added to the end of the queue.

If your child has submitted an online application, they should keep checking their email (including junk/spam folders) as we'll email their decision. Please make sure they double-check their email address before submitting their application, as we won't be able to email them back with a decision if it's not correct.

Due to data protection regulations, if your child would like you to speak on their behalf they will first have to give us permission to speak to you. Please make sure they are available to quickly give us permission over the phone.

4. Accept our offer and get to know us

If we've been able to offer your child a place through Clearing, congratulations!

If your child has received an offer between 5 July and 3 August, we've put together detailed instructions on how to accept their offer, apply for accommodation and next steps as there is a slightly different process for this period.

If your child has applied through Clearing on or after results day (10 August), they will have until 12:00 (noon) on the day after we issue their offer to accept their place. If they don't accept their place before 12:00 (noon), their offer and any additional guarantees (like accommodation) will expire. They'll then need to call us back so that we can check if there are still places available and whether we can re-issue their offer. We recommend that if they want to take their place at Reading, they do this as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment. We've put together a guide to accepting their Clearing offer with detailed instructions (including how to apply for a UCAS personal ID if they haven't previously applied to university) and next steps.

Once your child has accepted their place on UCAS Track, their status will show as 'The university or college is currently considering your application (Referred)'. This is all they need to do for now. In the background, we will check the grades they've provided us on their Clearing application against their grades provided by UCAS. This may take a few days, and there is no need to contact us. If we require any additional information (such as copies of results), we'll be in touch via email. Once we've verified their grades, their status will update in UCAS Track and we will contact them with next steps, including applying for accommodation (if they've received an accommodation guarantee), online enrolment and Welcome Week.

5. Get ready

First, don't forget to celebrate! We're thrilled your child has found their place at Reading, and we look forward to welcoming them in September.

You can get a feel for living and studying at Reading on our Virtual Experience Hub, where you can explore our campuses, view inside departmental buildings, facilities and accommodation using our 360 tours, or watch one of students show you around. You can also register your interest to attend a self-guided campus tours and we'll send more information as we are able to schedule visits, in line with government guidance.

We have Virtual Events which give you further insight into our courses and subject areas., and you can watch previous events as well as sign up for future events.

In addition to our great facilities on campus, be sure to check out the local area. Reading is a great place to live, and as it has grown and developed it has become a truly vibrant and diverse community – one that's great for socialising. And with Reading as a central train hub to the South West, South East, Midlands and London, our students find traveling home or visiting other parts of the UK really convenient.

There are also a few things that your child should check now:

  • Student Finance. Student Finance England (SFE) have a short video explaining what your child needs to know. If they get a place through Clearing and haven't yet applied for a student loan, don't worry – they can apply via the SFE online service. If they've already applied for student finance and then changed their course/university through Clearing or Adjustment, they'll need to let SFE know as soon as possible. To do this, your child will need to log on to their SFE online account and then select: Your Account, Change your application, University/college and course. (There's a different process for students from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, so please be sure to check with the relevant student finance authority.)
  • Accommodation. You can read more about our accommodation on our Clearing accommodation pages. Students are guaranteed accommodation when applying through Clearing. If we're able to make your child an offer, we'll also be able to offer them a place in halls in their offer letter. They will need to accept their offer to Reading on UCAS Track, and once we've verified their results we'll send the link to apply for accommodation. If your child isn't sure whether they'd like to live in on-campus accommodation or off-campus accommodation, you can read more about our options.
  • Remind them to check their email – that's the way we'll contact them with information about their application, and next steps. They should also log onto Me@Reading applicant, where they will find lots of useful information about the start of term, Welcome Week, and updates from their department.

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