How Does Clearing work?

What’s the best way to approach clearing?

Clearing, which is run by the admissions service Ucas, is the way that universities and colleges fill any places they still have on their degree courses, and allows would-be undergraduates to see which courses still have places remaining.

Students can sign into Ucas Track from 08:00 on Thursday 16 August to see their status. You can also follow Ucas on Twitter @ucas_online or on for up-to-date information.

For more information you can also call the Ucas customer experience centre on 0371 468 0468. Lines are open from 07:30 to 19:00 on Thursday, 16 August, 08:00 to 18:00 on Friday, 09:00 to 14:00 on Saturday 18 and 10:00 to 14:00 on Sunday 19 August.

For more general careers advice you can also call the Exam Results Helpline on 0800 100 900, which is run by the National Careers Service. It is a free service and is open from 08:00 to 22:00, seven days a week.

It is staffed by careers advisers and offers advice on sixth form, college, university and other education choices, skills, qualifications, and subject choices, resits and re-marks, gap years, vocational learning routes including diplomas, apprenticeships, careers and employment, confirmation, clearing, adjustment and funding.

UCAS Gives the following advice about clearing:

How does Clearing work?

Clearing is how unis and colleges fill any places they still have on their courses. It’s an ideal way for you to find another course. You find courses (with vacancies) that interest you, and contact universities or colleges directly, to see if they will offer you a place.

  • If you haven’t already applied, you need to register and make an application, but you’ll only be able to add a choice after you’ve submitted it. We’ll send you a welcome email, with details of how to access Track, and your Clearing number. We’ll also tell you the steps you need to follow – ask for advice, search for vacancies in our search tool, then contact unis and colleges to try to find a place – see below for more details. Once you have permission from a uni you want to go to, you can add the course in Track.
  • You’ll know you’re in Clearing if your Track status says ‘You are in Clearing’ or ‘Clearing has started’.
  • If Track doesn’t say either of these yet, it might just be waiting for your results to update. Get in touch with the universities/colleges if it’s taking a while – they might still be considering you, even if your results are a bit lower than required.
  • If you originally only applied for one course for the reduced fee of £13, you’ll have to pay an additional £11 to apply through Clearing.

UCAS also suggest the following:

  1. Ask for Clearing advice
    Talk to an adviser at your school, college, centre, or careers office – they can talk you through alternative courses/subjects.
  2. See what courses are available
    Use our search tool to find courses – it’s the only official vacancy list. If you can’t find the course you’re looking for:

    • consider different subjects – you don’t have to stick with your original idea. You could also look at joint honours courses, so you can study a mix of subjects
    • keep checking – unis update their course information regularly. You might not find the exact unis/colleges/courses you were looking for – some might be full, but some might get vacancies later on
  3. Talk to any unis or colleges you’re interested in
    Before you add a Clearing choice in Track, call the uni and give them your Clearing number (you can find this in Track), and Personal ID, so they can look up your application.

    • Ask if they’d accept you – they might reconsider you (maybe for the same course) even if you applied to them earlier in the year.
    • Get informal offers over the phone – maybe from a variety of universities and colleges – then decide which one you want to accept.
    • Take a look around the campus – if you have the time, it’s the best way to see what a university/college is like – most will be happy to meet you and show you around. Alternatively, see if they have a virtual tour.
  4. Add your Clearing choice in Track
    Only add a Clearing choice once you have permission from the university or college.
  • Click ‘Add Clearing choice’, and fill in the course details by the date the university/college gave you on the phone.
  • This counts as you definitely accepting the offer, so if they confirm, it’ll show as an acceptance on your ‘Choices’ page in Track.
  • You can only add one choice at a time, but if the university/college doesn’t confirm your place, you’ll be able to add another.

You can search for courses through UCAS at:

Find Courses

You can also use their direct contact service at:

Direct Contact


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