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Ultimate Guide to UCAS Clearing 2023

Are you hoping to start university in 2023? We’ve created this guide to help you navigate UCAS clearing. Anyone who has applied for uni through UCAS can use clearing! Find out everything you need to know about the UCAS clearing search in our ultimate guide below.

What is UCAS Clearing?

Clearing allows students who have not yet confirmed their university course to explore other options for the upcoming academic year. Universities use clearing to ensure that their courses are filled with students. The number of places available on each university course during clearing depends on the success of applicants on results day. 

If an applicant should fail to achieve the required grades for their firm choice course, then that course place may become available through Clearing. Clearing also enables students who might not have obtained the grades for their current choices to apply to alternative universities.

During Clearing, universities may alter entry requirements for course applicants. For example, a student who has not received the grades for their course may be able to apply again through Clearing. 

 

When does Clearing open 2023?

UK university Clearing is open from 5th July 2023 to 17th October 2023. Students can complete their UCAS Clearing application in this time period to start university in 2023.

 

When is results day 2023?

A Level, AS Level and T Level results day is on Thursday 17th August 2023. You can receive your exam results by email, post or by visiting your school in person. If your results are not as you’d expected, visiting the school can be helpful for getting support and advice from your teachers. 

The UCAS Hub will update at around 8am on Thursday 17th August. Universities may take some time to update the UCAS system, so don’t worry if your option has not been confirmed straight away. If you have received the grades needed for your university choice, but the UCAS Hub has not updated, wait a couple of hours before calling the uni to check your place.

Once it has been updated, the application system will show you whether you have received a place from your firm-choice university. Your A-level results will not show up on the UCAS track system.

If you are applying to university with any of the listed qualifications on this UCAS page, you will need to send proof of qualifications to your provider and add your grades to the ‘Education’ section of your UCAS application. International and EU students hoping to study in the UK will need to send proof of results in certificate or transcript format to the education provider.

Scottish Highers results day is on Tuesday 8th August 2023.

Who can apply to university through UCAS Clearing?

Students who fit into one of the following categories can use Clearing to get into university:

If you didn’t get an offer on UCAS from your firm and insurance choices

If you’ve changed your mind about the universities you have received offers from

If you did not meet the conditions of your offers

If you are starting your university application after 30 June 2023

If you don’t want to accept the university offers you have received on UCAS

If you have received higher grades than you had expected

Clearing is open to students with an undergraduate application who have achieved A Levels or equivalent qualifications. It is not limited to applicants living in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. International students can also find a university course through clearing.

How does university Clearing work?

Step 1: Discover the courses available through Clearing

You can use the UCAS clearing search tool to find out which university courses still have places available. This course vacancy list will update throughout the Clearing time period (5th July-17th October 2023). Make sure to keep checking for updates, as courses are added and removed throughout the window that Clearing is open.

Step 2: Call the universities you are interested in applying for via Clearing

You will need to provide your UCAS ID and Clearing ID numbers so they can find your application online. Ask the advisor on the phone whether they would like to offer you a course place. Give some justifications as to why you would be a good candidate for the course. Note down the universities which have given you permission to add the course as a Clearing option.

Step 3: Decide on your final Clearing choice and add it to your application

Once you have decided which course you would like to study, you will need to add your Clearing choice into the UCAS Hub. Read below to find out how to add Clearing choices. You can only add one choice at a time. If your first Clearing choice does not confirm your place, you can add an alternative option.

 

What do you need before calling a Clearing phone number?

Before you make a call to a Clearing hotline, have everything you need to hand so you can reference it in your conversation:

UCAS ID

UCAS Clearing Number ID

Exam Results and Grades

UCAS Points - find out what your grades are worth here

Personal Statement

UCAS Course Codes

You may also find it useful to have a pen and paper handy to make any notes during the call. Try to take your calls in a quiet location so you can focus on what the admissions office is saying to you about your clearing offers. Be prepared to ask questions about the courses available and have an open mind to the opportunities offered to you.

How do you add a Clearing choice on UCAS?

Once you have been granted permission from a university to add their course as your clearing option, you will need to add this to UCAS Hub. In the UCAS Hub, select the ‘Your Choices’ section. When clearing is open, a button will appear called ‘Add Clearing Choice’. This link takes you to a page where you can add the details of the course. 

Next you have to wait for the university to confirm your clearing application choice. The option will appear as “Accepted” once this is complete. 

Finally, you will receive a confirmation letter from UCAS, this means you have successfully received a place on the course you have applied for.

How do you use UCAS Clearing Plus?

Now called ‘Clearing matches’, Clearing plus is a system that suggests courses to students which they are eligible for, based on their exam results and application. When logged into your UCAS Hub application, click the  “See matches” button to view the courses UCAS recommends. 

This feature works in the same way as searching for courses manually. Should you find a particular course through your clearing matches that you’d like to apply for, follow the usual steps for clearing.

You are not limited to the courses UCAS suggests to you through Clearing matches. If you want to expand your search, continue to use the UCAS Search Tool.

How do you self-release into UCAS Clearing?

If you have received an offer from a university and you have selected it as your firm choice, you can still change your mind and enter into Clearing. To ‘self-release’ into Clearing means you have declined your firm offer and need to apply through Clearing to be accepted onto another university course.

Step 1: Log in to the UCAS Hub

Step 2: Next to your current firm choice, select the ‘decline my place’ button and confirm your decision.

Step 3: Search for alternative courses using the UCAS Clearing search tool.

Once you have declined your firm place, you cannot reverse the decision. Think carefully about whether you want to give up your place on a course before declining it.

Where are the Clearing courses on UCAS?

To explore the Clearing courses available for studying in 2023, you can use the UCAS Clearing search tool to explore all of the options. If you are set on studying at a specific university, you can check their website to find out which courses are open to Clearing applications.

 

Which universities offer Clearing courses?

The universities which offer Clearing courses vary each year depending on how many students accept the courses they have applied for. If lots of students fail to meet the requirements of a course, that university will list those places on Clearing. Equally, if students decide to defer their course place for next year, this opens up places for Clearing applicants.

To keep track of the universities offering Clearing places, make sure to check the UCAS Clearing search tool throughout results day to view your options. Course places may appear later in the day as students make decisions.

Conservatoires do not use UCAS Clearing to fill course places. This is because they require auditions and interviews to select their students. 

Can you apply for a different course subject through Clearing?

Yes, you can apply for a different type of course using UCAS Clearing. However, your personal statement on the UCAS Hub cannot be changed. When applying for a different subject, the university may ask you to directly send them an alternative personal statement.

If you are worried about your personal statement impacting your course offers during Clearing, contact the universities you are interested in and ask for their advice.

How do you know if a university Clearing option is worth it?

It can be hard to judge if a course will meet your standards. One way to find out what previous students think about the course is to read reviews. 

You can use StudentCrowd to read verified student reviews on coursesuniversitiesstudent accommodation and even study locations. Reading about student experiences can help to shape your decision making process. If you are torn between 2 course options, you can read reviews to compare student satisfaction and enjoyment. 

You can also read about the graduate outcomes of that course or university. Try to view courses more relevant to your ideal career path. Most universities showcase their graduates' outcomes for each course, even sharing what job roles or organisations past students now work in. 

What happens if you don’t get onto a course through university Clearing?

If you are unsuccessful in receiving a place on a university course you are passionate about, there are still other options for you! 

Consider which qualifications you may want to retake. If you were a couple of grades away from the entry requirements of your dream courses, ask your college or sixth-form if you can retake that subject. This way your university options could expand to a wider selection. Choosing to do this requires motivation to study hard and push for higher grades. 

If you are happy with your current grades, why not take a year out to think about your options? Many students take a gap year between completing their A-Levels and starting university. You can fill this time with travelling, gaining work experience or retaking your qualifications.

During this time, you may find it helpful to browse subject guides to explore your potential degree options. Once you have your grades, it can feel less daunting to look at courses as you can set a realistic expectation for what you are eligible for.

Usually if you apply for a course the following year with the grade requirements met, you are more likely to receive an unconditional offer. This can make starting university less stressful as you can prepare months in advance.

Can you apply to a university without using UCAS?

Some universities in the UK allow students to apply for courses directly. This is called Record of Prior Acceptance (RPA). This option is often used by mature students or people who know exactly which university they want to apply for. Not every university in the UK accepts applications in this format.

If you apply for university via RPA, your application cannot be directly passed on to another UK institution. For this reason, most students choose to apply through UCAS as it allows them to be flexible and open-minded with their application.

I’ve firmed my university choice, what do you do after Clearing?

After accepting your ideal course offer through Clearing, you need to make sure you are prepared to start university. Holding an offer from a university does not mean you have everything sorted and ready to go!

Make sure you have checked off everything on this list:

Booked your student accommodation

Organised your travel arrangements for moving in at the start of term

Applied for Student Finance and loans if you need them

Applied for a student bank account

Calculated your budget for the year

Decided what things you will need to bring to university

Most universities have pages and group chats for their incoming students on social media. Once you have confirmed your halls of residence, try searching for groups so you can get ahead on meeting your flatmates or course mates.  

If you are an international student coming to the UK, check out this article to find out what you need to do before starting your degree.

Where do you find student accommodation after Clearing?

After you have a confirmed offer for a university course, you will need to think about what kind of student accommodation you will need. Student accommodation options can be overwhelming! You can find out more about the different options available in our article here

Once you know which location and type of accommodation you are looking for, you can use our accommodation pages to discover the options in your university city. On StudentCrowd you can read authentic student reviews of all student accommodation in the UK. This way, when you are applying for university halls, you can know what to expect and explore a range of options.

After you have found a list of accommodation options, make sure to book and apply through the correct website. This could be through a private provider or directly with the university.

How do you apply for a student bank account?

Once you have confirmed your place on a university course, you can apply to open a student bank account. Banks offer accounts especially for students, with incentives such as overdrafts, cash and subscriptions included. To start, choose the bank you would like to open an account with and either apply online or visit the bank in person.

Before you can apply for a student bank account, you will need:

Proof of student status e.g. university acceptance letter or a UCAS offer letter.

Proof of address e.g. recent bank statement or utility bull

1 or 2 forms of photo ID e.g. passport, driving licence or provisional driving licence

Applying for student finance after Clearing

It only takes around 30 minutes to apply for student finance. This includes loans for tuition fees and your maintenance loan for living costs. All UK students can apply for student finance, just make sure you apply for the correct country:

Student Finance England

Student Finance Scotland

Student Finance Wales

Student Finance Northern Ireland 

If you haven’t applied for student finance, make sure you do this as soon as you have confirmed your university choice. 

If you have applied for student finance but changed your course through clearing, you will need to update this information online. You can do this by signing into your student finance account. Make sure you update the university, course and tuition fees for your new choice.

If you have applied for student finance but your living situation has changed, you will need to update this information online. If you decide to live at home, or have a variation from living in London, this will impact how much maintenance loan you can receive.

What do students think about Clearing?

I applied here through clearing, as before I wasn’t sure whether or not I thought university was right for me. But I’m so glad I chose to apply. I’ve had an amazing time at Uclan. All of the staff are welcoming and if there are any issues they are solved efficiently. My experience has been more than I could have ever hoped for and I can’t wait to progress onto year two.

Verified student review of University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

I came to NTU through clearing and have been pleasantly surprised with the standard of teaching, facilities and social aspect - all very good!

Verified student review of Nottingham Trent University (NTU)

 

I came here as a last minute choice after being offered a place. The clearing procedure was straight forward and the university so has been good.

Verified student review of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU)

 

I came to Loughborough through clearing and knew nothing about the university when I applied. When the coach arrived in the university I knew I was going to love it here. The people were very nice and kind, and my lecturers were extremely welcoming. The vibe in the university with its open spaces and student-friendly town really made my experience a beautiful one.

Verified student review of Loughborough University

 

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