The page you are visiting was formerly part of the Which? University website, but is now being provided by The Uni Guide — part of The Student Room. For more information please click here.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more

When can you apply for Clearing? And other common questions

So you didn’t quite get the results you needed, or maybe you’ve changed your mind about the course you want to do. Perhaps you’ve only just decided you want to go to university and applied after 30 June. Whatever your reasons, you know Clearing is your next stop. But when should you apply? How does it work? What if you’re abroad?

When you've got so many questions, it's easy to just ignore Clearing completely and hope for the best. But getting prepared now means you're ready for anything, so we've tackled the most common Clearing questions here.

Read on and you can sleep soundly knowing that, even if you don’t ace your exams, you’ll sail through Clearing.

1. What can I do to prepare for results day?

First of all, try not to worry! If you have offers, make sure that you have the contact details of the universities you have firm and insurance choices with in case you need to check anything out once your results are in.

If you haven’t applied yet and are still waiting for your A-level results to see if you can get onto the course you want, make sure you’re clued up on the entry requirements for the universities before you call them.

2. I’m out of the country on results day, what can I do? 

If you can get on the internet, log onto your Ucas Hub account to check out whether your offer has been confirmed.

For anything to do with Clearing or other questions you should still be able to get through to the unis’ hotlines – and most should have contact forms on their websites, email and social media accounts.

3. What’s the best way to check whether I have a place or not?

You can check your Ucas Hub account for updates about your offer. If you have got your results and your offer has not been updated, give the uni a shout to check what’s going on.

Don’t be afraid to call the university if you’re worried about anything. They will be expecting lots of calls from students checking their places or hoping to apply for one.

4. I just missed out on my top choice – by hardly anything – is it worth calling the uni to see if they will still take me?

It’s certainly worth asking about. You could contact the university to see whether or not they might still be able to offer you a place if you have narrowly missed out. 

5. My results weren’t good enough for my first choice and I don’t have a place. What can I do?

You may be able to find a place on another course through Clearing.

You can search for available courses in Clearing on the Ucas website. If you find a course that suits, check the entry requirements to see whether your grades are enough and, if so, call them.

6. Who can use Ucas Clearing?

Anyone looking for a full-time undergraduate course starting this autumn can use Clearing to apply for a course.

7. What’s the best way to deal with Clearing and get a place at uni?

Don’t freak out about the process – Clearing’s an opportunity which loads of people use to apply for courses each year. Whether you have only just decided that you want to apply to university or you didn’t get the grades needed for your firm and insurance choices, Clearing is pretty easy if you’ve done your research.

Depending on your results, you might not get on the exact course you wanted – so keep an open mind as it may turn out for the best – you could discover a passion for something you hadn’t previously thought about. 

Make sure you’re firing on all cylinders when you make the Clearing call. Have all your results (including GCSEs) to hand and highlight bits from your personal statement that you can refer to during the call. Make sure you sound convincing and have all your reasons for wanting to study the course. You might also have to go to an interview before you get the nod and that could be at short notice.

8. Is a uni likely to go below the grades listed on their prospectus as Clearing requirements?

It depends on lots of things and is never guaranteed. However, if a university feels it’s the right thing to do, they might consider lowering grades during the Clearing period

9. I’m applying for uni but I’m taking a year out. I didn’t get my firm or insurance choices – can I use Clearing or do I have to reapply?

If you want to start your course in 2023 you’ll have to go through the process again that year. The point of Clearing is to fill any spaces left on courses starting this year.

10. Is it true you can’t enter Clearing until you have been turned down by your other choices? 

Yes, this is the case – you either have to be turned down or reject all offers you have. Check your Ucas Hub for your firm and insurance status. If you’ve been turned down by them or self-released and it says you’re in Clearing, then you can get working on it. 

If you still have questions about Clearing, you could take a look at our comprehensive guide to Clearing. It's also worth visiting the dedicated Clearing, applications and Ucas forum on our sister site The Student Room to see what other students are saying about their experiences of Clearing. 

Search The Uni Guide

Find further advice or search for information on a course or university