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Clearing explained: A-Z

There are lots of phrases and words associated with applying to university and the Clearing process that you’ll see used across UCAS and university websites. We want to make the process totally stress-free so we’ve put together this jargon buster to help you better understand the process.

Admissions: The department within Edge Hill University that processes applications and makes the decisions on applications.

Apply: The name of the UCAS online application system.

Applicant number: A ten digit number assigned by UCAS. Sometimes referred to as a UCAS ID or Personal ID. This is different to your Clearing number.

Campus tour: A chance to look around the university buildings and facilities. If you can’t make it to an open day, this is a great opportunity to see the campus. Campus tours will be running every working day from results day on Thursday 17 August to the end of the month. Find out more. 

Campus university: A university situated on one dedicated site, with student accommodation, teaching and research facilities, and leisure activities all together. Edge Hill is a campus university, and we’ve even won awards for our beautiful surroundings.

Changed course offer: You might get one of these if you haven’t met the conditions of the offer you accepted. It might involve a different start date or a different course altogether.

Clearing: Clearing is the system that operates after UCAS Extra has closed. Opening on Wednesday 5 July until Tuesday 17 October 2023, Clearing is a way of helping students without a university place and universities with course vacancies find each other.

Clearing Plus: A personalised Clearing tool offered by UCAS which matches the profile of unplaced applicants to courses with vacancies and their entry requirements. You will be able to ‘view your matches’ in UCAS Hub.

Conditional offer: The offer of a place on a course, which is dependent on certain conditions being met, for example, achieving certain grades of medical clearance.

Course code: The number in the UCAS system attributed to each course.

Deferred entry: If you apply for a place but want to start university the following year. If you are taking a gap year you may want to consider this option, then you can return for your year knowing that your university place is sorted.

Extra: Extra is the UCAS service you can use to apply for alternative places if you do not hold an offer from your first five choices. It closes at the end of June.

Firm choice: The university you accept as your first choice following your UCAS application. If you get the grades you need this is the university you will be going to in September.

Gap year: A year away from education before going to university. You may want to use the time to travel or gain work experience and additional qualifications.

Higher Education (HE): The level of education that involves undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The next step after sixth form or college.

Informal offer: You may be offered an informal offer in Clearing over the phone. Once you add this as your Clearing choice in UCAS Hub and it has been processed, it will be confirmed.

Insurance choice: The university you accept as your backup choice following your UCAS application. If you don’t get the grades for your firm choice university you may have your place confirmed at your insurance choice.

Offer: An official offer of a place on a course from Edge Hill University. This can be conditional or unconditional.

Open days: The university is open for those considering an application. The day includes campus tours, subject talks, accommodation tours, finance talks and the chance to get your questioned answered.

Book your place for Open Day

Prospectus: Guides produced by individual universities detailing the unique information about that university and the course it offers. Also available online via our website.

Self-release: If you have changed your mind about what or where you want to study or achieved better-than-expected grades, you can decline your place and release yourself into Clearing.

Tariff: The points system for entry into higher education. Some offers of places are expressed in terms of a tariff point score rather than grades.


UCAS: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. This is the organisation that handles nearly all university applications.

UCAS Hub: The UCAS online system that allows applicants to check the status of their application.

Unconditional offer: The offer made by the admissions team which does not depend on reaching certain targets. Often used when a student has already taken their exams and achieved the required grades.

July 7, 2022