applying for UCAS clearing

What is Clearing and when does it start?

If you are applying for university this year you might have heard or seen the word ‘Clearing‘.

Clearing is a system by UCAS and UK universities at the end of the academic year to fill course places that haven’t been taken. Every year thousands of uni places are given this way, and it’s not a case of getting rid of the courses that nobody wants.

This year, Clearing is open from 5th July 2023 and closes 17th October 2023.

What is Clearing?

a level results

What is Clearing Plus?

If you find yourself in Clearing, UCAS personally match you to courses you may be interested in, using what they know about you from your application, and what universities and colleges are looking for.

If you’re unplaced or have started a new application, a button will appear in your application called ‘My matches’. This will take you to your top 50 course matches. You’ll then be able to tell universities and colleges you’re ‘interested’ in their courses. If they still have vacancies and you meet their entry requirements, they may call you.

Don’t worry, if you want to apply for something different, you can still find courses available in Clearing using the UCAS Clearing search tool.

How does Clearing Plus work?

Clearing Plus is only available if you’re unsuccessful with your application or are applying for the first time for a place in Clearing. You’ll be able to ‘view your matches’ in your UCAS Hub.

First,  you look at the original choices you applied for, combined with your qualifications and grades.
Universities and colleges tell UCAS what courses they’d like to make available in Clearing Plus (only relevant courses are included in your matches), and the entry requirements for them.
They then analyse what students in Clearing went on to study in previous years.
UCAS then matches your profile to each course.
If you’re eligible, you’ll see a button in your application called ‘See matches’. Once you hit that, you’ll be able to see a full list of your matches. If you express an interest in a course, that university or college can contact you.

Remember, courses in Clearing fill up quickly, and you may not always receive a call, so we recommend you also keep your options open and look for courses using Clearing.

When is Clearing?

Clearing usually starts after A level Exams and before A level results day. This year, Clearing is open from 5th July 2023 and closes 17th October 2023.

How do I apply for Clearing?

applying for UCAS clearing

Before Results Day: 

Be prepared. Clearing vacancies go live on 5th July this year. 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 busy, so be prepared to ring 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.

Top tips for using UCAS Clearing.

applying for UCAS clearing

Clearing Tip 1: Don’t panic.

Okay, so the results didn’t quite go to plan. And just because you are in Clearing doesn’t mean your uni dream is over. Lots of courses and universities will have spaces that will open new opportunities that you hadn’t previously considered.

Clearing Tip 2: Research.

Look into the universities and courses that have places in Clearing and make a shortlist of where you would most want to study. Take a look at The Uni Guide for some independent help and advice – it used to be Which? University but is now run by The Student Room.

Clearing Tip 3: Your Details.

Before you make any phone calls get all your details to hand. You’ll need your UCAS ID number, clearing number and your results. (A level / BTEC / GCSE / etc.)

Clearing Tip 4: Be Patient.

The phone lines can be busy, so be prepared to hear “all our agents are currently busy, but we’ll be with you shortly” over and over again. Just hang in there someone will be there to help you!

Clearing Tip 5: Call Yourself.

It may seem daunting, but all the uni’s have teams in place who will be friendly, welcoming and there to help you. They can only speak to you. So mum, dad, auntie, uncle or your bestie can’t speak to them for you. Unless of course, you nominated someone when you first applied through UCAS.

Clearing Tip 6: Make the right choice.

Remember if you accept a place over the phone and you change your mind you don’t need to call the uni back, you can self-release on UCAS. But before you do please make sure you are making the right choice for you, and that you have another offer at another univers

Clearing Tip 7: Uni sorted? Time to get that room sorted.

With your place secure its time to find your uni room. At Host, we have availability in the bulk of our locations throughout the UK and Ireland just jump on our locations page and see what availability we have.

Want to talk? All our onsite teams are available to chat online 9-5 Monday to Friday. Just select the relevant location from the dropdown list within the Chat With Us green box in the bottom right of your screen.

Finding the right student accommodation after using Clearing.

student accommodation Leicester
41 Castle Street, Host

Are you looking for your dream student accommodation for September?

Host offer hassle-free, all-inclusive living and provide students with a welcoming, reassuring and stress-free experience at university or college.

We provide award-winning services our students have become accustomed to. And our management and staff always strive to exceed the exceptional quality accommodation and service we offer; building on the good reputation we’ve earned over the past 25+ years.

Look inside any of our properties and you’ll discover a comfortable, stylish and safe place to live. Somewhere welcoming and supportive. Happy and relaxed. A place to make the most of being a student. A home.


Getting serious about the environment we live in.

To become more ‘environmentally friendly’, Host is launching the #HostEnvironmentalPledge campaign to encourage responsible behaviour and drive sustainability across our sites throughout the UK and Ireland.

It’s a simple campaign! For every percent we reduce our overall utilities (electric, water and gas) consumption by we donate to one of our nominated charities.

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