3 min read

How does Clearing work?

How does Clearing work?

by Amy Cousins

UCAS Clearing can help you find the degree and the university that’s right for you.

Read our step-by-step guide to work through the process, calmly and confidently.

Clearing matches university applicants with courses that still have unfilled places. It will open on  5 July and close on 21 October 2024.

Universities start to publish their course vacancies in July, and you can also explore courses that are in Clearing using the free UCAS search tool.

You are eligible to go through Clearing if: 

  • you apply after 30 June  
  • you don't receive any university offers, or none you want to accept 
  • you don’t meet the conditions of your offer(s) 
  • you decline your firm place using the ‘decline my place’ function 

If you are using Clearing to apply to university for the first time you must register with UCAS and submit an application. 

Although the process is the same however you enter Clearing, the information below focuses on students who don't get the grades they need on Results Day for their university offer.


Our step-by-step guide to Clearing:

  1. Prepare for Results Day

  2. On Results Day

  3. In Clearing

  4. Add your Clearing choice

  5. Changing your Clearing choice


1. Prepare for Results Day 

Getting your exam results is the moment you have been working towards all year, so finding out you haven’t got the grades you need for your university offer can be a shock.  

However, there are things you can do now that will help you navigate the Clearing process and find your dream degree on Results Day. 

First, start exploring universities that have vacancies on courses you might be interested in. Use the UCAS Clearing search tool to find available courses by subject, or search by university location. Follow this up with more in-depth research on specific university websites.  

Next, shortlist your course choices, writing down any key pieces of information you may need when you contact the university. This will give you confidence and help you demonstrate your interest in the university and its degree programme when you speak to a Clearing adviser.  

Finally, check our blog for a full list of what you need to prepare for Clearing. 


2. On Results Day

You will be able to check the status of your offers on Results Day by signing in to your UCAS Hub.  

If your application hasn’t been updated, you may need to contact the university directly to confirm the status of your offer.  

If you are eligible for Clearing, your application status will say 'You are in Clearing' and a unique Clearing ID number will show on your account.  


3. In Clearing  

It’s time to start calling the universities you are interested in using their dedicated Clearing hotlines.  

Once you are connected to a Clearing adviser, you will be asked for your Clearing ID number and UCAS ID so they can access your details. 

They will talk through your grades with you and might want to chat about why you want to study a particular course. 

Be prepared to talk about yourself, your passions, and your career ambitions, as well as what interests you about the degree and the university. This is also your chance to ask any questions you might have.  

Remember, Clearing advisers are trained to guide you through this process. You can also find some great advice on what to say during Clearing in our blog. 

If you do meet the course requirements, the Clearing adviser could make you a verbal offer. 


4. Add your Clearing choice  

After you receive a verbal offer from a university, you should also receive an email confirming what you need to do next. To accept an offer, sign in to your UCAS Hub and add the course as your Clearing choice to your application.  

You can only add a Clearing choice if you have been given permission by the university to do so and you can only add one Clearing choice at a time. 

Your email confirmation should also set out how long you have to accept your offer. Adding a Clearing choice counts as you accepting the offer. The university will then confirm your place and this will show as an acceptance on your application. 


5. Changing your Clearing choice

If you change your mind and want to change your Clearing choice, don’t panic. Contact the university whose offer you have accepted and ask them to cancel your place. 

Once you are released back into Clearing, you can start the whole process again and add your new Clearing choice to your account.  

You may have to wait for your application in your UCAS Hub to update before you can do this so be patient. 

Sign up for our CLEARING 2024 ALERTS: Get the information and support you need