UCAS Clearing 2023: Prepare With Our Full Guide

Time is ticking for all you school or college leavers. A-level results day is right around the corner and it won’t be long till you’re opening the UCAS track system and celebrating with your class of 2023!

We can guarantee you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed with the variety of options there are to choose from after you leave…right? Most students feel this way and we want to emphasise you’re not alone!

A great option for those who don’t receive the grades required for their firm and insurance offers is to go through UCAS Clearing 2023. 

To make life that little bit easier for you, we’ve compiled a full guide on all things UCAS Clearing.

It’s extremely simple (we promise) and will hopefully answer all the burning questions you might have…

ucas clearing 2023

UCAS Clearing Explained

UCAS Clearing (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is a process by which universities can fill places on courses.

It may be an ideal option for you if you don’t get accepted into your chosen university, or if you missed the UCAS deadline back in January. 

To show you just how big Clearing is, in 2021, over 70,000 students decided on their university course through Clearing vacancies offered by universities.

It’s an extremely credible option and who knows, some of your besties might be going on this process with you. 

At the end of the day, gaining a university place you really want will be what’s best for you and your future!

So try not to be upset about missing the grades for your firm and insurance choices, if it comes to this. 

UCAS Clearing is also useful for those who did better than their predicted grades and want to change universities, or for those who declined the offers that they received and want to find an alternative university or course.

man with whiteboard explaining what UCAS clearing 2021 is

Key Dates And Times For The Diary

For UCAS Clearing 2023, the process is open from the 5th of July and will run right up until the 17th of October 2023.

If you’re receiving your A Level results on the 17th August 2023 and find that you’ve not been accepted onto either your firm or insurance choice, you’ll be eligible to add a Clearing choice from 13:00 (UK time).

ucas clearing

How To Apply Through UCAS Clearing 2023

UCAS Clearing is a pretty simple process, however, it can be quite daunting if you’re unsure of what to expect.

To help you out, we’ve made a list for you to brush over so you fully understand what’s to come.

A quick reminder – you have to have received your results in order to be eligible to begin the UCAS Clearing 2023…so all you eager beavers need to be patient and wait! It won’t be long.

Girl with laptop searching for UCAS clearing 2021

1. Do Your Research

Like the title says…DO YOUR RESEARCH! You have until the middle of October to decide on an option.

Of course, the later you leave it the more likely the courses are going to fill up, so we do recommend starting early to ensure you don’t miss out! 

One question to ask yourself is – ‘is Clearing the right option for me?’

If your answer is yes – swiftly move on to stage 2.

If your answer is no – don’t panic, there are plenty of other routes to take after leaving your school or college.

people pointing at the ucas website as they want to go through clearing 2021

2. Use The UCAS Clearing Search Tool

Make the most of the UCAS search tool as it’ll be your best friend during the process!

To summarise, the UCAS search tool is a digital platform where you can log on and explore through thousands of course vacancies. 

Once you get onto the page, you should be able to enter details such as courses, subjects, and areas of interest. Type in what suits your needs and submit your request.

You can even narrow down your search by location and choose your own country and region.

From here, you’ll receive a pop up notification, which confirms that you want to find undergraduate courses for Clearing.

Confirm this and your page will show a list of universities and courses suited to your requirements. 

Magnifying glass searching on laptop for courses through ucas clearing 2021

3. Make A List Of Universities and Courses You’re Interested in

Now, this is where the fun starts! Take your time searching through the UCAS search tool as you’re more than likely going to have lots of details thrown your way.

We suggest that you grab a notebook and pen and shortlist the main university places you want. It’s important to write down their Clearing contact number as you’ll be using this when you move on to stage 4.

Extracting this information will make it easier to visualise the end goal you’re after!

List of universities and courses the student wants to go on through UCAS clearing 2021

4. Contact Universities

It’s time to pick up your phone and start calling! Don’t be afraid of who’s on the other end of the line, they’ll most likely be wanting you to join their university just as much as you do. 

There are a few things you’ll need for this stage as the university Clearing team will need to take some details from you:

  • Your UCAS ID
  • Your UCAS Clearing number
  • The A-level results you received for 2023 
  • Your personal statement

It’s also worth writing down a bunch of questions you want to ask that might be burning in the back of your mind. We bet there’s quite a few and this is the perfect time to do so!

girl getting phone out to call universities about ucas clearing 2021

5. Confirm Your Place

You’re more than likely going to receive verbal confirmation of your university place over the phone from the university Clearing advisor. 

Once you have the permission, you will be able to log into your UCAS track system and identify the chosen university. 

This may take time (up to a few working days in some cases) as the university will have to accept it on their side. 

When this is completed, it’s time to pop open the prosecco – you’ve secured a place at university!

Book the celebratory meal you’ve been dying to have, or go out and party with your friends.

The Clearing process is finished and you can log off of UCAS track for good…PHEW!

Happy man celebrating in crowd because he got into university through ucas clearing

Can International Students Apply Through UCAS Clearing?

We’ve got some good news, international students (non-UK students) are eligible to use the UCAS Clearing process in the same way that UK students can.

If you’re an international student, you can apply to university through clearing if the following applies:
  • Applying after 30th June
  • You don’t have an offer from a UK university or college
  • You did not meet the entry requirements of your conditional offer
  • You got the grades required of you, but want to change course

can international students apply through ucas clearing

What Is UCAS Clearing Plus?

Clearing Plus is an optional tool you can make use of which matches you with personalised courses that UCAS thinks you may be interested in according to your application.

Finding universities have never been easier thanks to Clearing Plus, as after starting a new application, a button will appear titled “My Matches” which will bring up your top 50 course matches.

If you show your interested in a particular course, that university or college can then contact you if they have places available.

UCAS Clearing Plus is a super helpful service which is completely free to use, as long as you have received your results and are applying to university through clearing.

clearing plus

What Other Options Are There?

UCAS Clearing is a great option for those who do not get the grades they want to enrol at a specific university or on a specific course, but there are other options out there.

If you want to attend university but do not wish to apply through clearing, there is the option to take a gap year and apply for university in the next academic year or resit your exams and apply again.

For those unsure about going to university, there’s other options out there like apprenticeships, overseas study, entry-level jobs and more.

alternatives to clearing

Key Information

  • A-level Results Day 2023 is on Thursday 17th August. This is the same for both England and Scotland. For more information about how to prepare, visit take a read of our guide which explores everything you need to know.
  • If you only applied for one university in your original application you’ll need to pay an additional £4.50 to go through Clearing, as well as the £27 fee.
  • You will find your Clearing number on your UCAS track system. This can be accessed through your user ID and password.
  • If you don’t want your firm choice, you’re able to decline your place online and process through Clearing.

UCAS clearing guide

UCAS Clearing helps you to take control of your future, giving you a second chance to get a place at university!

Hopefully our guide has helped you learn more about how to apply, what to expect and what you need to do to utilise this service.

If you do encounter any issues, there are people you can speak to:

  • UCAS: 0371 468 0 468 
  • Exam Results Helpline (ERH): 0808 100 8000

We have a wide variety of student accommodation across the UK for you to choose from. You’re bound to find a property you’ll fall in love with!

Wondering how to add a clearing choice on UCAS? If so, you need to take a read of our full guide. 

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