Universities use Clearing as a means of filling any places remaining on their courses, so if you've not managed to find a suitable course yet for 2022/23, discover what you need to do to apply

What is Clearing?

Clearing is a UCAS service that allows universities to fill spaces on courses that aren't yet full, while students without offers are given a second chance to pursue their higher education aspirations.

In 2020, a total of 73,320 students managed to secure their university places through UCAS Clearing, with a record 19,640 using the service without having applied to university earlier in the year.

When does Clearing 2022 open?

The service is available from July to October each year, meaning that for 2022/23, if you already have your grades, you can use the Clearing service straight away from Tuesday 5 July 2022.

However, if you had conditional offers but your grades didn't go to plan, you can enter Clearing from A-level results day onwards (Clearing choices can be added from 2pm on the day).

Clearing vacancies are displayed in UCAS's search tool, with the majority added from results day. You can phone the university hotline numbers from Tuesday morning to late afternoon on this day. As opening times will vary, it's best to check with the individual university for details.

Applications will be accepted until Tuesday 18 October 2022, with this being the last date to add your choices, and for universities to make their final decisions.

Can I use UCAS Clearing?

This could be the ideal way to find a place on a new course if you:

  • were late applying for university (after 30 June)
  • haven't received any offers (or none you're willing to accept)
  • didn't meet the conditions of your offers
  • have paid the multiple-choice application fee of £26.50
  • declined your firm place using UCAS Track.

Even if you meet the grade requirements for your insurance offer, you may still be able to negotiate a release from your university choice and find a course through Clearing.

If you only paid the reduced fee of £22 to choose one course in your initial UCAS application, you'll be charged an additional £4.50 so you're eligible to apply for multiple courses through Clearing.

How does Clearing work?

While some universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, don't take part in Clearing (though Cambridge participates in Adjustment on A-level results day), the UCAS Clearing website lists more than 30,000 course vacancies through its official search facility. The list is updated regularly up to mid-September.

However, it's up to you to identify courses of interest that still have spaces to fill. Contact the relevant universities directly to confirm whether they'll offer you a place.

You can even consider applying for courses in subjects you hadn't originally applied for, and to universities that may have previously rejected you earlier in the year. Read more about how to choose the right degree.

Trained advisers are on hand, manning university hotlines to guide you through the process. You'll need to gain permission from a university before you can add the course to Track.

Once you've received a verbal offer, it's been added in Track and confirmed by the university, your place is guaranteed.

Read more about how Clearing works at UCAS - What is Clearing?

What is Clearing Plus?

As well as searching for suitable courses through the UCAS search facility, you can also take advantage of its new Clearing Plus tool, which has been designed to match you with your ideal course using information from your application and what universities are looking for in candidates.

If you haven't got a place at university or have started a new application, you'll see a 'My matches' button in Track. This takes you to your top 50 course matches. From the list, you can approach universities offering courses you're interested in. They may then contact you if they still have vacancies and you meet their entry requirements.

How do I apply through Clearing?

Any places on courses that universities haven't managed to fill can be found via the UCAS search tool - where you can browse vacancies according to subject, location or university.

To apply, fill out your details as normal (including your university personal statement). Once submitted, you'll be invited to use the Track service and be given a Clearing number. From there, you'll need to follow the steps and look for a place.

You'll need to give the university your Clearing number and personal ID, so they can view your online application. Verbal offers are usually made over the phone, and you should only accept one.

Remember, you'll only be able to add one choice at a time. If the university doesn't confirm the offer, you can look again and add another.

How do I add Clearing choices?

If you've previously registered for Track and your results have updated, you're ready to use Clearing when your status changes to either 'You are in Clearing' or 'Clearing has started'.

From this point you can visit the 'Your choices' section and click 'Add Clearing choice'.

You'll then be able to enter the course details.

Only once you've been granted permission by your chosen university should you add a Clearing choice. The university will then confirm your place in Track.

How do I secure student finance after Clearing?

If you accept an offer through Clearing or Adjustment, you need to make sure you get your student loan.

The process for finance will be different - depending on whether you applied for university in the initial application phase, or whether you're using Clearing and Adjustment for your first application.

If you've already applied for funding but have changed your course or the university you're attending, you'll need to let Student Finance know. It's easy to update your details but you should do this as soon as possible, as it may affect the amount you receive.

Follow the steps below to update your GOV.UK - Student finance application:

  1. Log into your account at GOV.UK - Student finance login
  2. Go to 'Your Account'
  3. Select 'Change your Application'
  4. Then select 'University/College and Course'.

Meanwhile, if you've decided to go to university this year and you still haven't applied for finance, you'll need to apply now to give yourself the best chance of receiving your loan in time for the start of your course. You can register and apply online (see GOV.UK above).

While it's possible you won't get all of your funding in time for the start of your course, Student Finance will do their best to make sure you receive some support shortly after you register. If you face a delay in your funding, contact your university to let them know.

Whether you've already applied or not, students from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will need to apply or update their details at the relevant website.

Read more about student loans and finance, which includes guidance on student bank accounts. You can also explore saving money as a student.

University Clearing tips

Susie King, head of admissions at Middlesex University London, gives her advice on how to navigate the university Clearing process:

  • Don't panic if you don't get the grades you were expecting - you can shop around for suitable courses.
  • Listen to advice from parents and teachers as well as university academics and programme leaders when considering courses through Clearing. You can also discuss your options and get support and advice from the National Careers Service.
  • Speak to admissions advisers (prior to results day) on the likelihood of spaces being available on your chosen course. While they won't be able to confirm exact numbers, you'll get a good idea, and this will help you to prepare.
  • Consider retaking your exams if your heart's set on a particular subject. Speak to your teachers - they're perfectly placed to offer guidance on resitting, or if there are universities that might take you for a similar course with lower entry grades.
  • Be ready to answer questions on your reasons for choosing a specific course (as well as your academic ability), as universities will want to know you're the right fit. You may even be asked to speak to a programme leader about the course, or be invited for a university interview.
  • Be aware of dates and times, including the fact most courses won't close until the end of the first day of Clearing. Hotlines will stay open until September, giving you time to discuss your options with those closest to you.
  • Take notes when talking to universities, jotting down reference numbers and words of advice, while having your UCAS number to hand.
  • Use your time wisely to research, browse websites, view virtual tours, check social media channels and get a feel for the university and area. Only when you're 100% sure on a decision should you put in a formal offer via Track.
  • Be patient, as with hundreds of applications to process, it can take up to a day for your chosen university to make a decision and respond. If you haven't heard back by the following day, give them a call to find out about your place. Even though you applied late, you'll still receive a welcome pack and your university will make sure you're all set for freshers' week.

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page