What is UCAS Clearing and who can apply?


There are many reasons why you may need to go through university Clearing. Part of the UCAS application process, Clearing is a way for universities to fill leftover course spaces in time for the new academic year. This process isn’t just for people who didn’t get the exam results they wanted, but for many students who haven’t yet found the right course. Whether you left it too late, missed out on offers, or changed your mind at the last minute, our guide to UCAS Clearing in 2018 aims to answer all of your queries. Best of luck!

So who can apply for Clearing?

Who can apply for clearing?

Anyone who has submitted a UCAS undergraduate application but is not accepted by any of their chosen universities will automatically be entered into Clearing. But that doesn’t mean that Clearing should be seen as a 'second best' option, it’s simply a way helping students find the right course.

Other reasons you may be eligible to apply for Clearing are:

  • Because you applied after the deadline (30th June)
  • Because your place is still not confirmed after exam results are published
  • Because you have changed your mind after being accepted

Top tip: if you’ve just missed out on your first choice after getting your exam results, it may be worth contacting the university to see if you can still get a place. Although this doesn’t guarantee you getting accepted, someone else might have decided to drop out, so it’s always worth a try!

What grades do you need for Clearing?

What grades do you need?

The UCAS Tariff points system for A / AS Level, BTEC and other qualifications is used to determine your eligibility for different university courses. The points you need will vary according to the course you’re applying for. The UCAS website has a handy points calculator in case you need to know what your qualifications are worth.

By now, you’re probably wondering about grades: how do Clearing grades work? Are they lower? Well, it varies from course to course, but Clearing does give you a chance to find courses with more flexible entry requirements. Some courses may lower their prerequisites in order to fill up spaces, but this depends on demand. The best way to find out is to talk to the university directly. You can also get advice from an advisor at your school or college.

Generally speaking, if your exam results are close to what’s required and you're flexible on subject and location, you should be able to find a course that matches your interests without a problem. We know that you may have your heart set on a particular location, but just remember that you will have an amazing experience wherever you go.

When does university Clearing start and end?

When does Clearing start and end?

So, when does UCAS Clearing end and when can you start applying? Clearing usually opens in July each year and will run until mid-September, so you will have some time to think about your options.

Whilst you shouldn’t rush into making a decision, it’s still important to move quickly throughout the Clearing process – spots can get snapped up pretty fast and you wouldn’t want to be left with slim pickings. The sooner you can confirm your place, the sooner you can apply for student accommodation too.

University-owned halls work on a 'first-come first-served' basis, and many of the popular private residences can get booked up in advance as well. The faster you act, the more options you will have when it comes to finding your perfect student pad! Here at Liberty Living, we provide private student accommodation across the UK – so if you miss out on places for university halls, you can still find somewhere fantastic to live, right in the middle of a huge student community.

Got any questions about Clearing? Let us know on Twitter @LibertyLivingUK.