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Feeling confused about Clearing 2021?

You're not alone! Clearing has changed slightly this year, so we’ve created this handy guide to help you smash it!

Clearing can be a daunting prospect but every year thousands of students find a fantastic university place using it.

We’ll take you through everything you need to know to use Clearing 2021 to your advantage. 

What students have said about Clearing

Over 80,000 students in the UK went through clearing in 2020. The student reviews on our site give a snapshot of the experience:

Review by cazjarvo

Student leaving a review of Nottingham Trent University

“I didnt want to come to Nottingham Trent initially, but I was offered a place through clearing. I came straight down for a tour of the campus and loved it, and accepting the offer was one of the best things I've ever done. I've visited other unis that my friends go to, and they really don't compare to trent. Everything is good here”

By Bananakingdom

Student leaving a review of Cardiff University

“I got in through clearing and was scared if I would love it as much as I had my first choice, I definitely made the right decision and have no regrets.”

By member911433

Student leaving a review of University of Hull

“If I'm honest, I originally did not want to attend Hull, as I entered through Clearing. However, having been here for a year, I am entirely grateful to my original choices for rejecting me. Coming to Hull was the best decision of my life.”


What is Clearing?

Clearing is the process of matching university applicants to courses that are yet to be filled. To be eligible for Clearing you must be applying for an undergraduate course through UCAS and not be holding any other offers.

Who can use Clearing?

You can use Clearing if you:

  • Didn’t get an offer from your firm or insurance university choices
  • Changed your mind about the universities you have offers from
  • Do not meet the requirements of the offer
  • Are applying after 30th June
  • Don’t want to accept any of your offers (you must self-release into Clearing)
  • Have achieved higher grades than you expected and wish to ‘adjust’ your choice (you must use Adjustment via UCAS to do this)

Clearing is open to anyone holding A-level or equivalent qualifications. There is no age limit and the process is open to both domestic and international students.

Take a look at the official UCAS clearing page to find out more about Clearing and FAQs.

Why is 2021 different?

There is no doubt the process of choosing a university has been very different in 2021. You may have not been able to visit universities in person and you might have had difficulty making up your mind.

An additional process called Clearing Plus has been added to the Clearing system this year. This is a service on the UCAS website that suggests Clearing courses that you might be interested in. Universities are able to directly contact you if you express an interest. You can find your top 50 course matches under ‘My Matches’ on your Track page, but don’t worry, these are only suggestions to help you choose what is best for you!

How do I enter Clearing?

All you have to do is register on the UCAS website and enter an application. You will then have access to Track where you can find your UCAS and Clearing number. 

Key dates

You can apply for a course using Clearing on the UCAS website from the 5th July - 19th October. However, you cannot be allocated a place until you have received your grades.

Results day

International Baccalaureate results day takes place on 5th July 2021 and A-Level, SQA and BTEC results day takes place on 10th August 2021. This is the key date on which you will know what you have been awarded and whether that has secured your chosen place on your chosen course. If you have applied directly into Clearing this will also be the date on which you can be allocated a place on your course. 

How to make the all important decisions: ask the students!

Making a decision on university, particularly in a short timeframe during Clearing, can be really daunting and a bit stressful. 

There are all sorts of things to look into, like the type of course, uni life, budget etc. 

We believe one of the most important resources you can use are student reviews. There is no better way to learn about each university than to hear about the personal experiences of students who have gone before you. You can find student reviews for every university, course and accommodation by searching for the university on our main page

Each year, we publish the StudentCrowd Best University Awards which showcase the universities with the best student experience. 

Check out last year's winners here. Keep an eye out for our Best UK University Awards 2021 at the end of July!

How much is it all going to cost?

Another factor to consider when choosing a university is the cost. University is expensive and the accommodation costs alone can use up to 73% of the maximum cash available for student loans. To help you weigh up how important this factor is in your decision-making, we have published an article on the Cheapest UK cities for student accommodation using the most up-to-date data. 

The all-important practical bits

Clearing is on a first-come-first-served basis so it is useful to know what your options are beforehand. Make a list of all the universities you may be interested in, the course you would like to apply for and the Clearing number for the university. You can find your clearing number in the top left hand corner of the Track home page.

Make sure you have all the documents ready that you’ll need: your UCAS number, Clearing number (found on your UCAS Track account), A-Level and GCSE results. Also this will be your opportunity to ask any questions you may have, so make sure you’ve got a note of these too.

If you are going through the Clearing process and have a telephone call with a university Clearing line, they may ask you some basic interview questions. These questions could include things such as ‘‘Why are you interested in this course?” so it is always good to practice your answers beforehand.

What do you need to do after Clearing? 

Once you have accepted your offer through Clearing, you will want to start looking into what type of accommodation is available at your chosen university. You can check out all the reviews on student accommodation on our site by searching the location on our main page. Just type in the name of your university in the search box, e.g. Manchester and you’ll see accommodation results appear.

Lots of universities have hall groups on social media so once your accommodation is confirmed, you can join these groups and get to know people you’ll be living with. Make sure to check out our article on how to make the most of your student accommodation.

Be sure to have fun at university and enjoy your time there! Any student will tell you that time flies by very fast so make sure to get involved in everything you can.




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