How To Apply Through Clearing

Karis Nash  · Aug 4th 2023  · 6 min

Applying to a university Clearing course is easier than you may think. Whatever your reason for going through Clearing, here’s how to apply.


If you’re wanting to go to university in September you may find yourself going through Clearing. The process of applying through Clearing will differ slightly depending on whether you have previously applied for university or not. Understanding how Clearing works is essential if you want to secure your place.

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How do I apply directly through Clearing

You will need to add Clearing courses to your UCAS Hub when they become available. You will need to have your personal statement, your A-Level and GCSE results and your references with you as well.

Once you have accepted a university Clearing spot, you will need to fill in a Record of Prior Acceptance (RPA). Once you have filled this in, you will no longer be able to apply for another university.

How do I accept a Clearing offer through UCAS?

You will need to call the university directly and discuss Clearing options. Once the university has offered you a place, add it as a Clearing choice in your application. As you will have, you will then need to input all of the details they give you over the phone.

Once the university has confirmed your place, you will not be able to apply for any more. If you have applied for only one choice in your original application, then you will need to pay a fee of £4.50 to enter Clearing.

Understand how Clearing works

University Clearing is a service which matches potential students to universities who have spaces left on their courses. If you have not been successful with your previous university application, or if you’ve changed your mind on a university or a course, you may apply for clearing.

Research the university

Take time to research the institutions which have UCAS clearing spaces available. Knowing the ins and outs of a university will help you decide whether you’d like to study there or not. You can do this by looking at the universities websites or using our university search tool. Also, some universities may offer Clearing open days. Check the universities websites for information on this. If they do not offer a Clearing open day, you can contact the university directly and ask to have a look around. Alternatively, they may offer a virtual tour.

Bear in mind that Clearing spaces go quickly, so if possible research alternative courses and universities prior to A Level results day. It is always best to be prepared even if you do not end up going through the Clearing process.

Ask for advice

If you’re feeling unsure on where to start, have a talk with an advisor. You’ll most likely find an advisor at your career hub at school or college. They will be able to talk you through the universities with clearing spaces and advise you on the UCAS Clearing process. If you cannot find a Clearing advisor, then you can find everything you need to apply through Clearing on the UCAS website.

You can only apply for one Clearing place at a time. If the university rejects your application, only then will you be able to add another choice.

See what courses are available

The first step is to see what courses have Clearing vacancies up for grabs. You can easily find this information by looking at the UCAS clearing list on their website. If you can’t find a course that sparks your interest then consider looking for a different subject. You’re not required to stick to your original course, so browse around. You may find a similar course or a joint honours course which mixes your original choice with another subject. If you’re dead set on the course you want to apply for, then make sure to keep checking the Clearing list. universities update their Clearing spaces regularly, so just because you can’t find the course you want one day, doesn’t mean it won’t be available the next.

ucas clearing courses

When can you apply through clearing?

You can apply for Clearing on A-Level results day. This is on Thursday, 17th August 2023. Clearing usually opens when you receive your results, which tends to be around 08:00am, though this can vary year to year.

How much is UCAS clearing?

The fees you will pay for Clearing will vary depending on how many courses you wish to apply for. If you originally paid for one course, then you will have to pay an additional £4.50 for Clearing.

Talk to the university

Before you add your Clearing choice you will need to contact the universities you are interested in applying for. This is because you will need to confirm with the university if they will accept you before you add your Clearing choice on UCAS Hub.

When you call up any universities make sure to have your Clearing number and Personal ID to hand. Also, having the course name and number jotted down may also come in handy. You can also use this call to receive an informal offer, ask about accommodation options and ask if you can have a look around the campus before making your final decision.

Phoning a university can feel daunting, but if you’re fully prepared then you’ll find it a breeze. Alongside having your UCAS Clearing Number, Personal ID, and the course name/number at the ready, make sure you have the following to hand:

  • Your grades - both A Level and GCSEs.
  • Any questions you would like to ask.
  • Your personal statement.
  • Pen and paper to jot down any important names, numbers or information.

Typically, all you will need to do in the call is confirm your grades and answer a few short questions. Admission tutors want to see your excitement for the course, so questions may be on the lines of why you want to study at their university/ on the course. It’s a good idea to prepare some enthusiastic answers before the phone call.

Understanding how Clearing works is essential if you want to secure your place.

When can you apply through Clearing?

Clearing typically runs from July to October. The official open day for Clearing is Wednesday, the 5th of July, 2023. Most students will not receive their results until the 17th of August 2023, which is when Clearing opens, however, some students may receive their results before then.

Clearing officially closes on Tuesday, the 17th of October, 2023. This is the final day to add your choices and the final day for universities to make their final decisions. Any applications made after this date will not be accepted.

Do all universities accept Clearing applicants?

Not all universities offer Clearing courses for students. Unsurprisingly, universities such as the University of Cambridgeand the University of Oxford do not offer Clearing courses.

That’s not to say that all Russell Group Universities have this same stance. The more competitive universities, such as the aforementioned Oxbridge do not, but some do.

This is also true of courses. Competitive or popular courses such as medicine, dentistry or veterinary sciences do not usually have Clearing alternatives for students as these are usually very oversubscribed and will likely have waiting lists.

Add your Clearing choice on UCAS

Once you’ve had an informal offer from a university, you can add your Clearing choice on UCAS. If you have previously applied for university, however would like to change course/university or have been unsuccessful in your initial application, the Clearing process is as follows:

  • First, log into your UCAS Hub account.
  • From here, navigate the ‘Your Choices’ section on Hub and then click on ‘Add Clearing Choice’.
  • Here, fill in the course details. On your phone call with the university you will be given a date to do this by.
  • Adding your Clearing choice on Hub counts as accepting your offer, so when the University confirms the place is yours.
  • Once you’ve had your offer accepted, make sure to sort out your accommodation and your student loan.

Keep in mind that if you’ve been accepted onto a course but would like to apply for a new university or course through Clearing then you will need to decline your other offers first.

If you are applying to university directly through Clearing, the application process is more or less the same. All you need to do before adding your Clearing choice is create a Hub account. When doing so, you will be asked to fill in your personal details and add your personal statement. Clearing opens on the 5th July, so if you’d like to apply through Clearing it is a good idea to create your account as soon as possible. This way, you have plenty of time before the Clearing deadline, on the 18th October, to find the ideal course for you.

Remember that you can only apply for one Clearing place at a time. If the university rejects your application, only then will you be able to add another choice. To avoid unwanted stress if this does happen, it is a good idea to have a few university Clearing course options.

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