If you missed the grades to get on the university course you wanted or don’t have any offers – DON’T PANIC!!

Clearing is an ideal way for you to find a place on another university course or even another university. Every year, tens of thousands of students attend uni after finding alternative courses through Clearing.

Sometimes your university journey doesn’t happen exactly the way you planned. Although it might be initially disappointing to not achieve the grades you hoped for, Clearing offers a different route and for many, their unexpected journey leads them somewhere more exciting and enjoyable.

In this guide we will explain exactly what Clearing is, how it works and how to apply.


What is clearing?

Clearing is a way for universities to fill any places they still have on their courses. It’s also a way for students who didn’t get the necessary grades, to find a place on another course.

Who is eligible for clearing?

Clearing is open from early July to mid October. You can use clearing if:

  • you’re applying after 30th June
  • you didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept)
  • you didn’t meet the conditions of your offers

How do I know if I’m clearing?

You will know if you’re in Clearing as it will be displayed on your UCAS Track. Your status will say ‘You are in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’.

You’ll also find your Clearing number there. You’ll need to provide this number when you are talking to universities and discussing your options. If you can’t see anything on your UCAS Track, it could just take the system some time to update the information. If you’re unsure, contact UCAS.

If you originally only applied for one course for the reduced fee of £13, you’ll have to pay an additional £11 to apply through Clearing.

When does clearing happen?

Clearing officially opens July 5th and remains open until October 23rd. If you have received your exam results and have no offers, you can apply through Clearing from July. In the majority of cases, Clearing is used after Results Day by students who did not get the grades they needed.

Scottish applicants can use Clearing from 9th August until 6pm on 10th August. After this and until A Level results day, you will have to phone UCAS to add a Clearing choice.

A-level applicants will be able to add a Clearing choice on UCAS Track from 5pm on 16th August. If you have your exam results and know that you’re in Clearing you can contact universities in advance to get invitations to add a university/course as a Clearing choice when the option appears on UCAS Track.

The majority of Clearing places are allocated during the week after A-Level Results Day but some places will be available right up until September.

Student Clearing

Where to find clearing lists?

Most universities will publish their list of Clearing vacancies on their own websites. This is the best and most accurate place to search for available places.

The UCAS website features electronic clearing lists which are updated frequently.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper also publishes a full list of Clearing places on the Monday before results day. But as these places are filled quickly, it’s best to use the up-to-date Clearing Search Tool on their website.

Universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and LSE typically do not offer Clearing lists as they are more competitive.

NOTE: Clearing is updated regularly. So if you don’t see a course you want, you can try again later or call universities directly.

How to apply for courses through clearing?

Once you’re sure that you’re in Clearing and you have your Clearing number to hand, you can begin searching for available courses.

You do not have to choose a place at the university you planned to attend and you do not have to select the same subject you were originally interested in. For many, Clearing gives students the opportunity to reassess their decisions and try something new.

Once you have found a course, you must call the university on their Clearing line and provide them with your Clearing number and Personal ID, as detailed in UCAS Track.

Talk to them about the course you’re interested in and find out if they are willing to accept you. You may be put on a reserve list or you may be turned down.

If you’re certain about a course and they are willing to accept you, ask for written confirmation of their offer. If you want to browse further options, confirm their offer verbally and informally.

Once you have been offered a place by a university, you can add a Clearing choice in UCAS Track. Fill in the course details by the date the university/college gave you on the phone. Most offers will only be valid for a set period of 12, 24 or 48 hours.

This counts as you officially accepting the offer, so if they confirm, it will show as an acceptance on the choices page of Track. You will then be sent out an AS12 email and confirmation letter.


You can only add one Clearing choice at a time, but if the university/college doesn’t confirm your place, you’ll be able to add another.

When talking to universities on the phone, always take note of everything that was said and take the name of the person you were speaking to.

You can only add a Clearing choice in UCAS Track if the university has offered it to you.

What is adjustment?

If you’ve been researching Clearing, you may have also come across part of the UCAS Application process called Adjustment.

Clearing and Adjustment are very different. Clearing is for students who did not achieve the necessary grades and did not get university offers.

Adjustment is for students who exceeded their necessary grades and want to browse better options elsewhere.

Students using Adjustment have added security, as they can keep their Firm offer as they look through other opportunities.

Adjustment options are often published on the university websites and Clearing positions are also open to students in Adjustment.

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