UCAS Clearing Advice for Art College | Portfolio Oomph

UCAS clearing for art college

UCAS clearing for art college

UCAS clearing for art college

It’s that time of year when A level and Higher results are coming in and the UCAS clearing system fires up.

Hopefully this will get you placed at a college that is right for YOU.

Believe it or not though, it’s not always the best thing, to get a place in UCAS Clearing.

Sometimes we’re JUST NOT READY. And by going in Sept. it could be a disaster.

I, for one, was in that situation and so was Molly, in this testimonial below 👇

[full testimonial here to see more about HOW she did get her place at Edinburgh College of Art by studying on my portfolio preparation course]

Often, by not getting in, it’s a sign that something is adrift. Maybe it’s just general maturity (I’m sure in my case it was).

Exam results days change from year to year but this year (2023) it’s 8 August for Scotland’s Highers and 17 August for A levels.

However, UCAS Clearing starts before then, on 5 July 2023. So if you don’t currently have an offer that you wish to accept you can apply. Or maybe you need to wait for your results to know this.

But from 5 July it is important to get a feel for which Universities and Colleges are still open with places as you need to be quick off the mark.

I went through UCAS clearing some 23 years ago (in fact it was ADAR then – Art and Design Admissions Registry) so I know all too well what you’re going through.

It’s all very different now – the first thing you need to consider is UCAS Extra if you haven’t done already.

If you’ve used all five choices on your UCAS application, and you’re not holding any offers, you could still find a place using UCAS Extra – it’s free! This happens before 4 July.

Tips for UCAS clearing for art college

If you are in this position of applying through UCAS clearing (this takes place after 4 July) then you might be feeling a little fragile depending on how you’ve found yourself here.

That is to be expected if you haven’t had any offers – download my FREE eBook “What to do if you’ve not go in”.

However, it’s not a good time to be desperate and to looking at all kinds of courses all over the country in a bid just to ‘get a place’.

I went for an interview at Farnham College for printmaking through clearing. I didn’t know anything about the course, the place and probably luckily so, I didn’t get an offer.

Take a look at my eBook ‘Choosing the right college for you’ as it provides some thought-provoking questions that you could ask yourself, to ensure you’ve considered everything of importance.

If you are applying through UCAS clearing then you do also need to have another backup plan in case this happens to you and you don’t get a place this way.

Check out your local further education college as it’s possible still to get placed there on courses that would lead you into art college for next year.

Also, download my free report below.


a level art

So you need to be looking at Art and Design Foundation Diploma course, HNC/D, National Diploma (if you don’t have A levels), and check when you’ve found a course that you like the look of, what progression routes it qualifies you for.

I was studying an art foundation course when I applied and luckily they were happy for me to repeat my year on this course part-time.

I don’t recommend that if you don’t get in, that you spend a year working or traveling and then apply again with the same portfolio – why would you do that?

You need to improve your chances and to do that a structured portfolio preparation course is the best option.

portfolio preparation course

In hindsight, I realised that I just wasn’t ready to go to art college just yet.

I needed that extra year at college to develop my art but also emotionally I wasn’t really to leave home I don’t think. Had I gone to college that year it could have been a disaster, I will never know!

My eBook titled ‘What to do if you don’t get in‘ is full of really useful advice to help you make the decisions that you face just now. It’s FREE!

Read more about clearing from the UCAS website.

Julie Read

This article was written by Julie Read, a leading educator in the Creative Industries, as featured in The Guardian newspaper, on a mission to create a legacy to ‘unlock your creative genius’.

My passion and mission is your art portfolio, to help to get you that place at college or university.

CLARITY, in particular around the creative process, sketchbooks, and what the Colleges actually want to see are the founding principles.

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