ucas clearing university students

UCAS Clearing: What? When? How?

Clearing gives you a great opportunity to find the best university course if you don’t get the A-level results you hoped for. If you don’t get any offers from your chosen universities. Or you change your mind on the course you want to study or even the university you want to study at. You may have decided late in the year that, actually, uni is for you after all. Basically, clearing is there to support everyone who wants to go to university.


What is clearing?

Clearing is where university applicants are matched to university places that haven’t been filled. Clearing is available to anyone who has made an application to university through the UCAS Undergraduate application process but doesn’t hold any offers. You’ll be eligible to go through clearing if:

  • Applying to UCAS after 30th June.
  • You didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept).
  • You didn’t meet the conditions of your offers.
  • You’ve paid the multiple choice application fee of £26.50.
  • You’ve declined your firm place using the ‘decline my place’ button in your application.

In 2021, thousands of courses were available through Clearing, over 70,000 students obtained places via clearing. The important thing to remember is courses in Clearing aren’t just the ones nobody wants. Clearing is an opportunity for those who have missed their conditions or had a last-minute change of heart about the university or course they want to study.


When does clearing happen?

Clearing runs from 6th July through to mid-September. The key dates are:

  • 30th June – This was the official UCAS deadline to submit an application to a UK university.
  • 5th July – Was when clearing vacancies went live on the UCAS Search tool.
  • 9th August – SQA results day.
  • 18th August – UCAS A-Level results day
  • 28th September – This is the last date you can submit applications to 2022 entry courses.
  • 18th October – This is the final date for applicants to add 2022 entry Clearing choices and for uni’s/colleges to make decisions.

How to apply through Clearing:

Before Results Day: 

Be prepared. Clearing vacancies went live on 5th July. If you have that nagging doubt about your results or the choices you made, prepare a plan B, for what may be coming your way on the 18th August. Here are a few tips to prepare for results day:

  • Research universities and courses that may appeal to you.
  • Keep a lookout for uni’s that offer the same or similar courses to your current choices and see if there are any with lower grade requirements.
  • Make a shortlist of your possible options and save the links to the course web pages.
  • Some universities allow you to start the Clearing process before results day, check out the university website for the info you need. Once you’ve got your shortlist, give the uni’s a call to make sure you meet the entry requirements and they still have vacancies.

On Results Day:

it’s going to be manic, so be prepared to hit those phones and wait in queues to speak to a Clearing advisor at the university.

  • First, check UCAS Track as early as you can, to view your application status, the track website will let you know if you are eligible for Clearing and it will provide you with a Clearing number.
  • Once you have the number. You can start phoning your shortlisted uni’s through their Clearing phone lines to discuss your options with an advisor.
  • Before making any calls to the university make sure you have all your information and any documents ready.
  • Be prepared for an interview over the phone. Try and prepare for this and write down key answers that you may get asked.
  • The Clearing advisor at the university, will be able to confirm if you are accepted on the course while on the phone. Most universities will allow you 24 hours to confirm the offer or find an alternative. UCAS says:

“If they offer you a place and you want to accept it, add the Clearing choice in Track. When you sign in; if you’re eligible for Clearing, in the ‘Next Steps’ section you’ll be given an option to ‘Add a Clearing choice.’

You can apply for one choice at a time through Clearing. After a choice has been selected, you cannot add another, unless you’ve been unsuccessful with the first one. If you want to apply elsewhere. Once you’ve added a choice, then you need to ask that uni to cancel your place. You will then be able to apply again through Clearing.”

  • The UCAS website will have live updates of available courses throughout results day.
  • Check out these handy guides to Clearing from UCAS:

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