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Essential Results Day and Clearing Guide for Parents and Carers

Congregation student with parents

Whether your child/dependent’s results are what they need to get into their first choice, or things don’t quite turn out as expected, we’re here to help you understand what might happen next.

When is Results Day?

Results Day for A level and BTEC applicants in 2024 is Thursday 15 August.

What happens on Results Day?

UCAS Hub will show changes to your child/dependent’s university offers, but it won’t show their grades – they’ll need to pick those up from school or college.

Most applicants waiting for results choose a firm and insurance choice – essentially a first and second option – the insurance choice being their backup.

A few different things can happen, depending on what each university’s decision is:

  • Their first choice university place is confirmed. UCAS Hub will show their place as unconditional firm. If they have also been confirmed by their insurance choice this place is then declined.
  • UCAS Hub may show an unconditional change course offer made by their firm choice. If this happens, it’s important to see what decision their insurance choice has made. Applicants don’t have to accept a change course offer made by their firm choice, and if they’ve been accepted for their original course by their insurance choice, they can choose to go there instead. In these cases, it’s essential to find out about the new course before making a decision. Change course offers are ‘open’ for five calendar days, so you’ll have time to talk to your child/dependent and find out if the change of course is right for them. After five calendar days, UCAS will decline the change of course on their behalf if they haven’t actively accepted or declined it themselves. They will then be placed at their insurance choice if that offer was confirmed.
  • UCAS Hub may show an unconditional change of course by both firm and insurance choices, and if so, it’s important to think about whether either course is right for them. Because they’ll have five calendar days to think about it, they may decide to see what’s available in Clearing.
  • If both firm and insurance choices are unsuccessful, your child/dependent is in Clearing.

What is Clearing?

When universities still have places available after 5 July, they can offer them through Clearing. 

Clearing runs from 5 July to 21 October and is essentially just a different way to apply to university. 

Clearing is also an opportunity. For those without an offer, it’s an opportunity to find a place on a course, and for those who might want to change their mind, it offers the freedom to switch courses and universities, especially if they’ve done better than expected.

What happens during Clearing?

Universities that have vacancies in Clearing will advertise them through UCAS and on their own websites.

They’ll also advertise ways they can be contacted – many will have set up special Clearing helplines to take calls. Durham University’s number is +44 (0) 800 987 4120 (available from 5 July until 14 August, Monday – Friday from 10am-4pm, and from 15 August 8am-6pm and 16-23 August 9am-5pm)

If your child/dependent decides to enter Clearing, they will need to call their selected universities themselves. When they get through, they’ll need to tell us what course they’re interested in, their results (including GCSEs or equivalent if asked), as well as other achievements, such as work experience and other extracurricular activities, they may have taken part in.

They’ll also need to provide their contact details, including an email address they can access easily. If they’re verbally offered a place on the course, this will be followed up by an email providing instructions on what they need to do next.

What if my child/dependent decides to enter Clearing? How can I help?

Whatever the reason your child/dependent decides to enter Clearing, it’s important to be prepared. 


Start researching universities and courses they are interested in to see what’s available. Jot down entry requirements and those all-important phone numbers. Help them make a short list – then start ringing! 

You can also help by researching accommodation options, costs of living and holding a place in the queue for them. Your time and moral support are really important, as is the celebration afterwards!

Don’t forget, you can also arrange to visit. Durham will be offering Discover Durham Tours to all Clearing offer holders.

What to do on the UCAS Hub

Once your child/dependent has secured a place through Clearing, they’ll need to refer themselves to the institution and course of their choice in the UCAS Hub.

  • If your child/dependent is in Clearing because they either weren’t holding an offer before results were published, or they were unsuccessful in their firm and insurance choices, then their UCAS Hub will say they are in Clearing and they will be given a unique Clearing ID number.
  • If your child/dependent is holding a change course offer from their firm choice and has been placed at their insurance choice, and doesn’t want to take up either, they’ll need to decline their change of course in their UCAS Hub. This will then place them as firm at their insurance choice and they’ll need to self-release to get their Clearing number and take up another place.
  • If your child/dependent is unconditional firm and wants to take up another place elsewhere, they’ll need to self-release in their UCAS Hub. This will then generate a Clearing number for them.

Your child/dependent should never self-release unless they are absolutely sure they no longer want their firm choice institution and have secured a place at a university of their choice. Once an applicant self-releases, their original place is lost and they’re unlikely to be able to get it back.

UCAS Hub allows Clearing referrals from 1pm on Thursday 15 August. To refer themselves in Clearing, your child/dependent will need the institution code of the university they want to apply to (Durham is D86) and the code of the course they wish to apply for.

Your child/dependent can only refer themselves to one university and one course. Once your child/dependent has referred themselves, they are accepting the verbal offer the university has given them. They’ll then need to wait for the university to process their decision and send it to UCAS. When that happens, they can start to prepare for the start of term!

What if my child/dependent doesn’t want to enter Clearing?

While Clearing is a fantastic opportunity for many, not everyone wants to enter Clearing. There are other options, and it’s essential that they know about all the choices they have before deciding on their next step. Some applicants may want to appeal their results, resit their exams, or re-apply to university next year.