What is UCAS Clearing?

If you’re interested in going to university this autumn, it’s useful to be aware of Clearing (often called UCAS Clearing). You may already have your university place sorted or you may have only just started thinking about going to university – but whatever your situation, you could find yourself needing Clearing. So, what is Clearing?

Clearing is a way that universities fill places on their courses as they get closer to the start of the new academic year. Clearing generally opens in the first week of July and it can be a useful service if you want to go to university but find yourself in one of the following scenarios:

  1. You didn’t achieve the grades for your original choice of course/university
  2. You haven’t yet applied to university for the upcoming autumn
  3. You changed your mind and would like to apply to a different course/university

When is Clearing 2024?

Clearing dates vary slightly each year but if you’re looking specifically for Clearing 2024 dates – this year, Clearing opens on Friday 5 July. From this date, you can often apply directly to your chosen university via phone or, in many cases, through a quick online application form.

You may be in a position to use Clearing immediately, for example if you haven’t yet applied to university for September 2024 or if you’ve changed your mind about what or where you want to study. Alternatively, you may be waiting to receive your A level results on results day, which in 2024 takes place on Thursday 15 August.

The sooner you apply, the more likely you are to get a place on your chosen course – but, rest assured, there are often lots of Clearing places available even after A level results day.

You may also be wondering: when does Clearing finish? Clearing doesn’t usually have a fixed closing date – and it very much depends on the university – but in many cases you can apply through Clearing up until the start of term.

What is UCAS Clearing Plus?

Clearing Plus is a UCAS service available to you if:

  • you’ve been unsuccessful with your other application choices
  • you’re applying to university for the first time through Clearing

UCAS will look at your original choices, as well as your grades and qualifications, and seek to match you with a course and university that has places available through Clearing. You will only be shown matches that you meet the entry requirements for.

If you’re eligible for Clearing Plus, you’ll be able to view your matches in your UCAS Hub.

In your UCAS Hub, you will be able to indicate whether you’re interested in any of the courses/universities that you have been matched with. If you indicate you’re interested, you will usually receive a call from that university (or universities if you’ve said you’re interested in more than one) – they are likely to ask you a few questions about why you think you’ll be a good fit for the course and may then offer you a place.

Of course, you can also do your own research and find courses that you believe are a good match. UCAS Clearing Plus is simply trying to save you time by doing that research for you. If you’re looking to do your own research, why not take a look at our five steps for Clearing success?

Who can apply through Clearing?

In most cases, anyone can apply to university during the Clearing period. However, some application routes are only open to UK students or EU students with settled or pre-settled status.

At London Met, you should only apply through our Clearing hotline or via our quick online Clearing application form if you’re applying for a full-time undergraduate course and you’re either from the UK or you’re from the EU and have settled or pre-settled status.

Providing the international application deadline hasn’t passed, if you’re an overseas student, you can still apply during this period but you need to apply in a slightly different way – simply browse the Clearing courses available and apply from your chosen course page. This is also the application route for all part-time courses, regardless of whether you’re from the UK, EU or outside of the EU. Please note that the application deadline for international students always happens much earlier than the end of the Clearing period.

What do I need for Clearing? 

If applying directly to a university through Clearing, make sure you have your personal details ready  this includes personal details, your contact information and details of any qualifications you hold. If you know which course you want to apply for, that’s great, but remember, if calling a university’s Clearing hotline, one of their advisers should also be able to provide guidance to help you in your decision-making.

Remember, thousands of people go through this process every year so it doesn’t need to be daunting. You may find it useful to hear about other students’ experiences of Clearing – find out from Josh what Clearing’s like.

What courses are usually in Clearing?

It isn’t possible to predict what courses will or won’t be available through Clearing as this can vary and can often depend on the university – but here at London Met, we usually have a wide range of Clearing courses available.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what Clearing is, who it’s for and when it’s available – plus hopefully you’ve picked up a few extra Clearing tips along the way. We wish everyone going through the Clearing process this year the best of luck. Find out more about applying to London Met through Clearing.

London Met graduate Nayara smiling away from the camera