3 min read

Your Clearing questions answered

Your Clearing questions answered

by Amy Cousins

Type into Google the phrase ‘no such thing as a stupid question’ and in 0.58 seconds you’ll get 73,9000,000 hits – proof, if it was needed, that while we may feel awkward asking a question, we should never feel stupid.

So, we’ve come up with some questions of our own about Clearing – the sort of things we think you might need to know, but don’t want to ask.


When does UCAS Clearing start?

UCAS Clearing 2023 opens on Wednesday 5 July, so if you’ve got your exam results you can start contacting universities about possible vacancies. If you haven’t, you’ll have to wait until your Results Day. Clearing closes mid-October.

Is Clearing just about filling courses no-one wants?

No. There are lots of reasons why there are vacancies on a degree course, including other students having a last-minute change of heart and declining their offer, or not getting the grades they need to secure their place.

Although some of the most competitive courses aren’t available, Clearing can be a real opportunity to find the university and degree that’s the right fit for you.

Do I have to pay to go through Clearing?

If you only made one application through UCAS and paid the reduced £22.50 fee, you’ll need to pay an additional £4.50 so you're eligible to apply for multiple courses through Clearing.

If you originally paid the full fee to apply for multiple courses, there’s no extra charge.


I’m an international student, can I apply through Clearing?

You can use Clearing if:

  • you didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept)
  • you didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
  • you declined a firm place using the ‘decline my place’ button
  • applied after 30 June 2023

If you’ve already received your results you can also apply direct to Newcastle University. 


Where can I find Clearing vacancies?

UCAS has a searchable database of degree vacancies and you can find Clearing vacancies on individual university websites.

Do universities lower their grades in Clearing?

Universities want you to succeed at degree level, so entry requirements are set to reflect how demanding a course is and the key subjects you’ll need to be strong in to learn and thrive on that course.

Some universities will accept lower entry requirements for certain courses in Clearing, but you’ll still have to show you’re passionate about the course, committed to working hard and the right person for that degree.


How long is a Clearing offer open?

After you’ve received a verbal offer over the phone, the university will send you a confirmation email setting out your next steps and the deadline for accepting your offer.

I’ve got a place through Clearing – can I defer?

If you want to take a year out before you start your degree, some universities will consider this for some courses. You’ll need to discuss this with the Clearing adviser or Admissions office when you contact the university.

Will going through Clearing put me at a disadvantage on my course?

No. When you contact a university through Clearing, as well as checking your results, they may conduct a mini-interview with you over the phone. This is all part of making sure you’re right for the degree course and won’t be at a disadvantage.

Once you’ve received an offer, the admissions process is the same as if you’d applied and been accepted prior to Results Day. When you start your course, it won’t matter if you got your place through Clearing.


Will going through Clearing affect my student finance?

If you’ve already applied for student finance, you'll need to update your details – but don’t worry, it’s easy to do through your online account. Your application will be reassessed, but you should find out very quickly if there are any changes in the amount of student finance you'll get.

If you get a place through Clearing and haven’t applied for student finance, you need to do that now as applications can take six weeks to process. For advice, read our blog on applying for student finance late.


I’ve accepted a course in Clearing, can I still apply for uni accommodation?

Yes, you can – and you’ll get all the information you need about how to apply for your accommodation once your place is confirmed.


I can’t find a course I want to accept in Clearing, what should I do?

This is not the end of the world. Instead, think about it as an opportunity to plan your next move.

If you’ve still got your heart set on going to university, you can resit your exams and re-apply for entry next year, or you can take a year out.

A gap year spent working or travelling can give you new skills and experience to add to your personal statement next time. Read our guide to applying to university after a gap year.

It can feel like there are a lot of many moving parts when it comes to Clearing, but we're here to demystify the entire process and make sure you are Results Day ready.