What is Clearing?

Clearing pairs applicants with available university places.  The courses available aren’t just the ones nobody is interested in – there are a variety of reasons places are still vacant, for example it’s an opportunity for those who have had a last minute change of heart about the university they want to attend or course they want to study. 

Clearing runs from 5 July to mid-September.  If you meet the following criteria, you are eligible for the process:

  • You apply after 30 June
  • You are not holding any offers from universities or colleges you’ve applied to
  • Your place is not confirmed after exam results are published.

How long does Clearing last?

Clearing is available from July to September each year.

As a guide, in 2017, Clearing started in July and ran until 22 October.  Vacancies were advertised from early July onwards and updated in the approach to A-level results day (Thursday 17 August 2017).

Can I go through Clearing without applying?

You will need to have completed a UCAS application in order to use Clearing.  You will automatically be entered into the Clearing process if you're rejected by your firm and insurance choices.

For many students, Clearing only becomes available once their results have been released and it transpires that they haven’t met the entry criteria for their chosen courses. A -levels results day in 2018 is on Thursday 16 August.

If you become eligible to use Clearing an 'Add Clearing choice' button will become available on your Track Choices screen. Alternatively, check directly with your firm and insurance choice universities as soon as possible.

Start your journey

How does Clearing work?

If you didn’t receive an offer from any of the five universities you applied to, or find on results day that you didn’t get the grades you needed to reach your Firm or Insurance choices, UCAS Clearing is your second chance of getting a place at university.

If you're applying after 30 June, you still need to register and make an application. In Clearing you need to complete all the application as normal, including your personal statement, but you can't add course choices. When you submit your application you receive a welcome email to access the Track service where you'll find your Clearing Number. You'll know you're in Clearing if your Track status says 'You are in Clearing' or 'Clearing has started'.

A-level applicants will only be able to add a Clearing choice on UCAS Track from 3pm on 16 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.

You will need to take action and find a university that is prepared to accept you. The best way to do this is to check their website or ring them and tell them what you want to do. Usually, if they have vacancies, they will take your details and either give you a decision straightaway or very soon afterwards.

When does UCAS Extra end?

UCAS Extra is another chance for you to gain a place at university or college, between 25 February and 4 July.  If you don’t hold any offers after 4 July, you will be able to add an additional choice using Clearing.

Can you go through Clearing if you already have an offer?

You can only apply through Clearing if you have no offers, so you would have to negotiate a release from any firm or insurance choices before being able to apply through Clearing.  This can take up to 10 days though and there is no going back, so it’s important to think carefully before you commit.

Find your degree

How long does it take for universities to respond?

Responses are issued at different times by different universities; you could hear back within a few days, but it may be weeks or months.   This year, 23 October 2018 is the final date for universities to make decisions on applications through Clearing. 

How does adjustment work in UCAS?

Adjustment is a process which allows you to up-scale to a higher-ranked university if you are more successful in your A-Level results than anticipated.   Adjustment is available to anyone who exceeds the grade requirements of their firm offer, so for example if one university offered you a place on the condition you got ABB and instead you get AAA, you could use Adjustment to find a place at another university.  You will need to contact any universities you’re thinking of swapping to and find out whether they have places available via UCAS Adjustment.  If you get an offer, you will need to consider it and get back to them to confirm you’d like to take it.  Your new choice of university will then update your UCAS Track screen.  Once this university has put the offer on your Track, your original firm choice will be cancelled and you won’t be able to change your mind so it’s important to spend time deciding if this is what you want to do.