Your Ultimate Guide to University Clearing [2023]

Photograph of a member of staff at UCEN Manchester talking to a student from the School of Business and Law.

If you want to go to university in September but haven’t secured a place on a course that’s the right fit for you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Every year, thousands of students in the UK find themselves in the same situation.  In fact, around 66,000 students were accepted through clearing in 2021.

Whether you didn’t meet the conditions of your offers, didn't receive any offers, missed the UCAS deadline, or simply changed your mind, clearing can give you a second chance to secure a place at university.

The clearing process can be difficult and confusing for those who haven’t done their research, but don’t panic because we’re here to help.  This blog will help you navigate the clearing process and answer the most commonly asked questions about how university clearing actually works.

Find out:

  • When clearing opens in 2023
  • Who clearing is for
  • What courses go through clearing
  • How to prepare for clearing
  • How to increase your chances of getting accepted through clearing.

What is university clearing?

Clearing is an application/enrolment process for students wanting to study a higher education course who have not yet secured a place at university or with a higher education provider. 

The process of clearing gives students the opportunity to go to university and secure a place on a course that still has availability.

At the beginning of the summer months (5 July 2023), universities and UCAS will release clearing places so that students know what courses still have availability.  If students are looking to attend a specific university, they can visit the clearing section of the university’s website to weigh up their options. 

Who is clearing for?

Clearing is for students that have:

  • Not yet secured a place at university
  • Been rejected by their first choice offers on Level 3 results day
  • Declined the offers they’ve received
  • Applied to university after the UCAS deadline – Friday 30 June 2023
  • Changed their mind about their chosen course or university
  • Not achieved the required exam results.

When does university clearing 2023 start?

The official opening of university clearing 2023 is Wednesday 5 July and the period runs until mid-October.  You can apply for clearing before Level 3 results day (BTECs, A Levels, Access to Higher Education Diplomas, NVQs).  However, most universities will only consider your application once you have your results.  You can still make enquiries before you have your results to ensure you’re prepared and know what’s on offer.

If you need to find out your results before you know if your first choice university has accepted or rejected your application, you can apply for clearing courses on A Level results day.

Remember, clearing courses are offered on a first come, first served basis.  This means early applicants are more likely to secure a place on their desired clearing course. 

You can speak to a member of our team about which of our courses will go through clearing this year from 8am on Wedneday 5 July. 

What is the clearing process?

1. The first step in the clearing application process is to create a UCAS account, if you haven’t already 

2. Browse the clearing courses available and choose your preferred option(s).  Remember, you can only apply for one clearing course at a time, so do your research on the universities and courses you’re considering in advance

3. Contact the university you’ve chosen and make sure you have your qualifications to hand when you call.  Our team is contactable via 0161 674 7777 and there to answer any questions you might have.  For more information about our Access to HE, Professional, Teacher Education and Construction courses, please call 03333 222 777.

4. Log in to your UCAS account to get your unique clearing number and select your desired course.

If you want to learn more about applying through clearing, we have an entire section of our website dedicated to helping you through the process. You can also make an enquiry for more information.

Do universities lower entry requirements for clearing?

Some universities may lower their entry requirements for clearing, however, this is not always the case.

Clearing can be competitive, and some courses may have a higher demand than others.  In this case, universities may not lower their entry requirements at all. 

Check out our clearing FAQs for answers to some of the common questions that students have.

Is it hard to get in through clearing?

Entry requirements vary from course to course, so how difficult you find the process will depend on your circumstances and what the university you’ve picked requires of applicants. 

There’s no substitute for being well-prepared - do your research and give yourself the best possible chance of securing a place through clearing. 

What courses are usually in clearing?

There are typically a wide-range of courses available through clearing. 

We offer clearing courses across a number of subject areas, so you’re sure to find a course that is suited to you. 

Our university clearing guide has an extensive list of courses for you to choose from. 

What can you do to prepare for clearing?

Here are a few clearing tips you should consider before and during the clearing application process. 

  • Do your research in advance
  • Consider what course you want to study
  • Compile a list of your top three universities/cities
  • Be prepared on Level 3 results day and apply early
  • Be positive and remain calm 
  • Ask the right questions
  • Sell yourself
  • Don’t make snap decisions.

Visit the clearing section of our website to find out about the courses we have available and take the first step towards securing your place.