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What is Clearing? Guide to University Clearing | CRM Students

What is Clearing? Your Guide to University Clearing

  |     |   Student advice

The prospect of Clearing can be scary for some students. There’s a reputation of a mad rush after A-Level results for students to get a place at university if they haven’t met the grades for their top choices. Extra hassle at an already stressful time isn’t ideal.

It’s important to be prepared. You should be aware of all your options around A-Level results time, so you’re happy with the university you’re heading to and the course you start later in the year. We’ve put together this handy guide with everything you need to know, from the key dates to finding accommodation through Clearing.

What is Clearing?

The university Clearing process is a service offered by UCAS. For universities, it lets them fill any courses with spaces. For students, think of Clearing as a second chance to get a place at university. If you didn’t get the grades for your first choice or backup, hope is not lost! Clearing gives you the chance to get a place on a university course – whether that’s at somewhere you’ve already applied to or a completely different institution.

You can also apply for a university place directly through Clearing, even if you didn’t make an application earlier in the year. You can use Clearing if:

  • You’re applying after 30th June
  • You haven’t received any offers (or none that you wanted to accept)
  • You didn’t get the grades you needed for your first choice or backup offers
  • You got better grades than you expected and want to apply to a different university
  • You’ve changed your mind about your choice of university or course
  • You've paid the multiple choice application fee of £27
  • You’ve declined your firm place using the ‘decline my place’ button in your UCAS application

When is Clearing 2023?

Applying to uni through clearing can be done from July to October each year. If you already have your grades, maybe you got your results last summer and you’re on a gap year, you can use the Clearing service from Wednesday 5th July 2023.

Took your A-Levels this summer? If you’ve had conditional offers but didn’t meet your grades, you can apply through Clearing on A-Level results day (Thursday 17th August 2023). Clearing vacancies will be available in the UCAS search tool, most are added on results day. Check with the individual university for opening times, and it’s best to be as quick as you can to avoid the disappointment of courses filling up.

The university clearing process runs until Tuesday 17th October. This is the last day to add your Clearing choices, and the last day for universities to make their decision.

Applying to Uni Through Clearing

If you don’t get the results you were hoping for, don’t panic. Speak to an advisor at your school or college – they can advise on alternative courses and subjects.

  1. See what courses are available

Search UCAS to see which courses are available for Clearing. Not confident you’ll get your grades? It could be worth doing a bit of research before results day. Don’t forget – clearing opened in July. If you can’t find the exact course you’re looking for, consider different subjects or joint honours programs. You don’t have to stick with your original plan.

Keep checking UCAS – universities update course information regularly, so vacancies could appear later. And keep an eye on course details – be realistic with entry requirements.

  1. Speak to universities

To apply through clearing to university, you’ll have to pick up the phone. Unfortunately, it has to be you that makes the call – a parent can’t do it for you. Making phone calls can be daunting, especially for something as important as a university place. Make sure you have your UCAS ID, Clearing number, personal statement, results and any questions to hand before making the call.

Make sure you’ve done a bit of homework on the university and course before phoning. You can get informal offers from universities over the phone, before applying for clearing online.

  1. Add your Clearing choice to your application

Once you’ve had an informal offer, you can add your Clearing choice to your UCAS account. The university will then confirm the offer, and the status will be ‘Clearing accepted’.

Congratulations! You’re off to uni. Now you need to think about other practicalities.

Finding Accommodation Through Clearing

In Clearing, your first priority has to be getting a place on a university course. Once that’s confirmed, you need to think about where you’ll be living. Don’t think that all the best accommodation will have gone because you’re applying later than other students. There is a variety of clearing student accommodation, from university halls to private student accommodation.

There’s a lot to think about. Consider how far from the university you want to be, your budget and the type of room you’re looking for.

At CRM Students, we have a range of student rooms available throughout the UK. Check out our student accommodation locations – we’ve got the perfect accommodation for you!

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