What is Clearing and how do I apply?

September 1st, 2022

Anne Blombach

You might have already heard about Clearing and know exactly what it is. Or you might hear the word here and there but are not quite sure what it means. Or maybe you have absolutely no idea what we are talking about.

What is Clearing?

Clearing defines a period of a few months during the summer before the new term at a university starts and new students arrive. It exists so that universities can fill up spaces that might still be available on some courses and to offer applicants alternatives if they did not get into their preferred course.

The Clearing period starts the day after the final UCAS main application cycle deadline, usually at the end of June, and closes the day before the September term starts which varies depending on each university. The busiest time is around Results Day in mid-August as this is when a lot of applicants that are finishing school in the UK will receive their results and find out whether they got into their chosen course and university.

How do I apply?

Universities might have different ways of how to apply to them through Clearing, so it is always good to study their website and make sure you understand what you have to do. To be eligible for Clearing, you will have to have an active UCAS account (important: UCAS accounts are only active for one academic year!) and you cannot be holding any offers somewhere else.

If you already hold an offer with a different university and have changed your mind or even if you just want to check out other options, you can always contact universities directly. Most of them will have a dedicated Clearing team during that time that will be able to walk you through the process, let you know your options and answer any questions that you might have.

To keep in mind

 If you decide to apply through Clearing, there are some important things to keep in mind.

  1. Make sure you are aware of the processes and deadlines as they might be tighter than the main cycle ones. It can get quite confusing, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  2. Be aware that the Clearing period is usually the busiest time for a university, so make sure you leave as much time as you can.
  3. If you find yourself having to apply through Clearing because you did not get into your chosen course or university, don’t panic. There are often many alternatives available and university teams are there to help you out.
  4. Some courses might close even before Clearing starts if all places have been filled. If that happens, there is normally nothing else that can be done, so it is always good to have a few options.

We know that Clearing can seem daunting and like you have to go through it because you were not as good as others. However, thousands of students find their course through Clearing every year and have just as successful university journeys as everyone else. So, don’t panic, it will all be okay in the end.