Your guide to Clearing 2023

Freddie Parker on 9 August 2023
Empty lecture hall waiting to be filled with Clearing applications

Whether you’ve been waiting for your results before applying or end up just missing out on your uni of choice, here’s how the Clearing process works.

What is Clearing?

It’s the process by which universities fill any empty spaces in their courses. For potential students, it’s a chance to get a place if you don't have any offers, miss out on the grades needed or do considerably better than expected.

These spaces need to be filled, so don’t feel like you’re just making do. 

Who can apply through Clearing?

You can apply via Clearing if you:

  • Missed the 30th June deadline.
  • Didn’t receive any offers.
  • Declined any offers you received.
  • Didn’t meet the offer conditions for your place.
  • Did considerably better than expected and want to shop around.

When is the deadline for applying through Clearing?

It opens on 5th July and closes on 17th October. This gives you ample time to look over your options even after results day, so don’t rush a decision.

How do you apply for Clearing places?

Firstly, you may want to talk to an adviser. For those of you finishing your time at a sixth form or vocational college, there will likely be someone designated to do this. They’ll help you to think through your options and tell you how you can start.

Then you’ll want to look through what courses are available. Universities will have Clearing sections on their sites which may list what empty spaces are available. But the better option is to look at the UCAS search tool. 

Once you’ve settled on a choice, contact the uni to ask if you can take that place. If they accept you, you’ll need to give them your UCAS personal ID and Clearing number. This is super important as UCAS won’t accept the application if they can’t confirm with the uni that they’ve accepted you.

Finally, you want to add this choice to your UCAS application, using the ‘Add Clearing Choice’ option. This is a final choice. Once you put it on your application, you can’t add another choice. Make sure you’ve made your mind up before submitting at this stage.

Things to keep in mind

  • Clearing places are limited, so don’t take too long to apply if you have a specific course you want to go for.
  • That said, take time to check the details of your chosen course i.e. the duration, mode of study and modules.
  • The universities want you there to fill the spots. You won’t be treated as second best and many have seen great success through Clearing.
  • You may be able to get onto a course you were previously rejected for if you end up getting the grades in their typical offers.
  • Uni isn’t the be all and end all. If nowhere has spots on a course you want, go on a gap year, get a job or do an apprenticeship.
  • UCAS has a matching service that can look at your application and figure out vacancies that would work for you.

Have you thought about where you’ll live? Check out our guide to student accommodation for people applying via Clearing

Freddie Parker
Freddie Parker on 9 August 2023