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Clearing 2023 FAQs

Whether you’re unsure about Clearing or need advice on choosing a course, we’ve answered all your key questions.

Resalat Rasheed
by Resalat Rasheed
Last Updated:
31 May 2023

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What's Clearing?

Clearing is an opportunity for you to find a place at uni. When Clearing opens, universities will publish a list of courses that still have places available. You’ll find them in our Clearing course search.

What's UCAS Extra?

UCAS Extra lets you apply for a further course or uni if you’ve not got any offers or declined all of your five places. You can use the service if you’ve applied through UCAS and aren’t holding any offers, or are waiting for a decision on any of your initial five applications.

What's Adjustment?

Adjustment was a way to apply for an alternative course or university without losing your original offer if you met or outperformed the conditions of your firm choice. It's not available from 2022 but you can still apply for another course or uni by releasing yourself into Clearing using the ‘decline your place’ button in your UCAS application.

What's Clearing Plus?

Clearing Plus is a UCAS tool that suggests Clearing courses you might enjoy. Unis can directly contact you if you express an interest.

What's self-release?

If you’re holding an offer but change your mind about the university or course, you can self-release yourself into Clearing. Make sure you’ve done thorough research and received an informal offer over the phone before self-releasing. You won’t be able to go back if you change your mind.

What's an informal offer?

When you contact a university through Clearing, you may receive a verbal offer of a place. This’ll give you the chance to research the course further and decide whether to accept the place.

What's a conditional offer?

An offer of a place on your firm or insurance choice made by a university, on the basis that your grades meet the entry requirements on results day.

What's a firm and insurance choice?

A firm choice is your first choice course when you submit your UCAS application. Providing you meet the conditions for entry on results day, you’ll be offered a place on your firm choice. Your insurance choice is your second or back-up option if you don’t meet the entry requirements for your firm choice.

What's confirmation?

Confirmation is where your university place will or won’t be confirmed. There are different confirmation decisions you can receive based on your results.

What's deferral?

Deferring is where you apply for a course but decide to delay starting it by one year. You might apply in 2023 to start in 2023 but defer for a year, meaning that you’ll start uni in 2024.


When's Clearing?

Clearing 2023 opens on 5 July and is set to close on 17 October.

When's UCAS Extra?

UCAS Extra opens on 23 February 2023 and closes on 30 June.


What do you do if you no longer want your firm or insurance choice?

You can self-release from your firm or insurance choice to enter Clearing. You won't be able to reverse the decision, so be absolutely sure before doing so.

A Clearing course you’re interested in has the same requirements as one of your original choices. Is it wise to apply?

You’ll need to decide which course you prefer. You won't be able to apply for a Clearing course if you’re still holding an offer from either your firm or insurance choice. Before you decline your place on either your firm or insurance choice, call the university of the Clearing course you’re interested in and see whether you get a verbal offer.

If you’ve accepted an unconditional offer, can you use Clearing to look into different universities?

You can use Whatuni’s Clearing tool to see what courses are available and learn more about courses and unis. If you change your mind about an offer you’ve accepted and wish to enter Clearing, you’ll have to self-release from the course.

How do you know if you can use Clearing?

If you’ve applied through UCAS before the 30 June deadline, check your UCAS Hub account. This will tell you the status of your application and if you’re eligible for Clearing. If you haven’t applied before 30 June, you’ll need to apply through UCAS.

Can BTEC students go through Clearing?

Yes, Clearing is open to all BTEC students.

Can mature students go through Clearing?

Yes, Clearing has no age limit.

Can EU and international students use Clearing?

Yes, provided they have applied through UCAS and paid the application fee.

Can you still use Clearing if you’re unable to prove your English language requirements/haven't been able to sit the test?

Yes, but you’ll have to prove your English language results once you’ve sat the test. Universities will likely have a cut off point for this. During Clearing, inform the universities you call.

What are your options if you can’t sit the IELTS test?

Universities are accepting alternative English language testing. Please check with the university directly for this information.

If you don’t get your results until August, how can you hold a place when Clearing opens?

You can’t reserve a place until you get your results. To prepare for results day, it’s important you do your research early. You can use Whatuni’s Clearing tool to search, save and compare courses you’re interested in.

What can you do considering your results come out in August and you therefore can’t hold places from 5 July?

Prior to results day, you can start searching, saving and comparing courses on your Whatuni account. We also suggest reading student reviews and checking the regular Clearing guidance on our advice section.

If you have your results but they don't show up on UCAS Hub, can you apply for Clearing courses?

If your results aren't showing up, call the universities you're interested in and explain that you have your grades. You should also contact UCAS to amend your grades not appearing.

What if you’re a mature student who already has your results?

You can start applying once Clearing opens on 5 July 2023.

During Clearing

Where can you find Clearing vacancies/places?

Our Clearing tool will show what courses are available in Clearing. Our pages will be regularly updated with which universities have spaces and for what courses.

Where can you find the Clearing phone numbers for each university?

Our Clearing tool will have a ‘call now’ button with the number to call. Make sure you know what you want to ask and what they may ask you before calling.

What personal information should you have on hand before calling?

Have your Clearing number, your UCAS ID number, your personal statement, your grades and any questions ready before you call.

Do I need a personal statement for Clearing?

You don't need a brand new personal statement for Clearing, as your existing one should have most if not all of the information needed.

Where can you find your Clearing number?

You can find your Clearing number by signing into your UCAS Hub account.

Is Clearing first-come-first-serve?

Places are offered on a first-come-first-served basis, so Clearing offers are open as long as places are available.

How do you add a Clearing choice?

Once you have a verbal offer, log on to your UCAS Hub account. Under the ‘your choices’ tab, click on ‘add Clearing choice’. The university will then confirm your place.

How many Clearing choices can you add?

You can only apply for one course at a time through Clearing.

How long do universities take to respond to Clearing applications?

If the university wants to offer you a place on their course, they'll do so immediately over the phone when you call them. However, you'll still need to log onto your UCAS Hub account and add the Clearing course. Once you've done this, universities will typically confirm your place within 24 to 72 hours.

Do universities lower entry requirements in Clearing?

Some universities will lower the entry requirements for certain courses in Clearing. This won't be the case for every course. Our Clearing tool will show up-to-date entry requirements so you can see which courses have lowered their entry requirements.

How much does Clearing cost?

If you made an application before the 30 June deadline to choose one course, you’ll need to pay an additional fee that adds up to £27.

What happens if you accept an offer through Clearing but change your mind?

You’ll have to self-release from your choice to re-enter Clearing.

Can you defer a university place through Clearing?

No, spaces available through Clearing are for students intending to start this academic year.

Can you still attend open days before making a decision through Clearing?

Yes! Many universities will have open days specifically for those students going through Clearing, while keeping your offer open to you until you’ve had the chance to visit.

Can you apply to a university that rejected you through Clearing?

Yes, as long as there are still spaces available.

Can you apply to a university through Clearing without UCAS?

Yes, through a Record of Prior Acceptance form. Check first that your university offers this route.

Do Russell Group universities do Clearing?

Yes, many Russell Group universities will have courses in Clearing. However, which universities these are and what courses they offer change each year.

Will you miss out on all of the good courses if you don’t go through Clearing straight away?

The popular courses in Clearing will fill up fast once results day arrives. You should research, save and compare any courses you’re interested in before results day.

Will going through Clearing affect your start date?

You’ll still start on the same date as all other students.

What are your other choices if you don’t get any offers through Clearing?

Consider a degree with an integrated foundation year, a foundation degree, an HND or HNC. You’ll get equipped with the skills and grades needed to progress onto a degree-level course.

Student accommodation

Can you find student accommodation through Clearing?

Yes, you can find student accommodation through Clearing. Universities will usually be able to guarantee you a room providing they have the space. Have backup options in place just in case you can’t get into university halls.

Can you apply for accommodation before accepting your place on a course?

You can’t apply for university-managed accommodation until you have a confirmed place. Private accommodation options may accept applications before a university place is confirmed.

Is it hard to find student accommodation through Clearing?

This will depend on the university and how many students are already enrolled. Start researching what accommodation you want to apply for now so that you can confirm your accommodation quickly once you have a place on a course.

Student finance

Can you still apply for a student loan during Clearing?

Yes, but be organised. Contact your relevant student finance organisation to sort out your student loan, maintenance loan and any other loans you’re looking to apply for.

What if you’ve already applied for student finance for a different university and course?

You’ll need to update your details with Student Finance as soon as you have a confirmed place. You can do so by logging in to your Student Finance account.

Ready to start searching for Clearing courses?

You’ll find all the available Clearing courses for popular subjects like Medicine, Law and Computer Science on our Clearing course search tool.


Guide to UCAS Clearing

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