Didn’t get the results you need for your preferred course? Don’t panic – that’s what Clearing is for.

What is university Clearing and how does it work?

Taking A-Levels comes with immense pressure, and not everyone manages to seal the grades required to get into their chosen university. If this has happened, and you didn’t receive any formal offers after submitting your UCAS application, Clearing helps you secure a place on another university course.

Clearing pairs applicants who didn’t get a place on their first-choice course with university places that are yet to be filled. This doesn’t mean only the courses that nobody wanted are left; there can be many reasons that places are still available on university courses. Using the UCAS Clearing search tool, you can take your time searching for a course that takes your interest.

When does Clearing start?

You can use UCAS Clearing 2021 if you want to apply to university after 30th June. But typically, it kicks off on results day – which is the 5th July for International Baccalaureate students and 10th August for A-Levels.

The sooner you apply for Clearing, the more courses you will have to choose from.

When does Clearing end?

Clearing officially closes on the 20th October – but it probably won't take this long to find a suitable place. The faster you learn how to apply through Clearing and what course you want to study, the more options you will have and the quicker the process will be.

Clearing Accommodation:
How do I apply for university Clearing?

The first step when applying for university through Clearing is to register with UCAS, then you will receive your Clearing number and access to UCAS track. Take note of your number, as you’ll need it when you’re talking to universities and colleges.

The second step is to search for a course you are interested in, then call the uni to enquire about the vacancy. Remember - first impressions count, so do your best to project yourself as enthusiastic and confident.

For the last step, if the university offers you a place on their course that you want to accept, you need to add the Clearing choice in UCAS Track.

If you decide the course isn’t for you, you need to ask the uni to cancel your place before you can apply through Clearing again.

How long do universities take to respond to Clearing applications?

There is no specific answer to how long it takes to go through Clearing. Usually, all Clearing applications are done over the phone. Once you have contacted the university and confirmed they still have vacancies, it’s up to them whether to offer you a place. This means response times are usually quick, and if you are unsuccessful you can quickly move on to your next choice.

How many universities can I apply to through Clearing?

Although you have the freedom to apply to as many universities as you want through Clearing, you can only have one on-going application at a time.

If you are unsuccessful applying for a place at your first choice Clearing university, or decide that course isn’t for you, call the uni and ask them to cancel your place. Then, you can either apply for a different university or apply for a different course at the same university.

Note: If on your original application you only applied for one choice, you’ll need to pay an additional £5 to go through Clearing again.

No decision is final until you add a university as your selected Clearing choice on UCAS Track.

Lucy: University Clearing Tips and Advice

Finding accommodation in Clearing

If you’ve found a place on a course through Clearing that takes you to a different city, that means a last-minute hunt for student accommodation. The sooner you are proactive about sorting this, the better options you’ll find in front of you.

If you’re looking for Clearing accommodation in major cities around the UK, including London, Manchester and Liverpool, Unite Students has a range of premium accommodation available for Clearing students.

Here are a few things to consider if you're looking for last minute student accommodation:

A fancy room isn’t everything

A lot of the first-choice rooms may be gone by the time it comes to applying for student accommodation, but a fancy kitchen and an en-suite doesn’t define your university experience. It's better to have more money for food, drinks and events.

It’s also worth remembering that if you’re not happy with your Clearing accommodation when you arrive, you can always speak to the university or provider to find out if there’s other options.

Know your budget

On the flipside, there is also a chance that when applying for Clearing accommodation you could get offered a top-end room that you may end up being unable to afford. A student going through Clearing, you may feel under pressure to accept – but remember, renting an unaffordable room could lead to on-going financial pressure after you’ve moved in.

A lot of university rent is more than the average student loan provided through student finance – therefore it’s important you consider what you can afford before accepting Clearing accommodation.

Seek advice from your uni

If you’re going through Clearing and find that there is no more on-campus accommodation, your best move is to speak to your university. The university’s housing offices will be able to point you in the direction of private landlords and letting agencies.

You can also ask what measures they have in place to help you link up with other students in a similar situation, and if there is anything extra they can do to help you feel more comfortable in your first few weeks in Clearing accommodation. Social media groups are another useful way of getting in touch with students in a similar situation and following accommodation updates.

Clearing Accommodation:
Got better grades than expected?
Consider Adjustment

Adjustment works in a similar way to Clearing, but allows you to consider courses you didn’t think you’d get the grades for.

Adjustment is a chance for you to reconsider your options, and switch to a new course or university. You can register for Adjustment in Track – but make sure to get in there quickly, as you don’t have long to complete the process.

Key dates to note

Clearing typically commences in July and closes in September but the specific dates vary from year to year. The following dates are for Clearing 2021.

  • 1 July 2021: Applications open
  • 6 July 2021: International Baccalaureate results day
  • 10 to 18 August 2021: Adjustment available
  • 10 August 2021: A-level results day in Scotland, England and Wales
  • 20 October 2021: Applications close


If you have questions on how applying through Clearing will affect booking student accommodation, you can talk with a member of our team via our chatbox, which you can find at the bottom right hand side of our homepage. Or you can call us on 0300 303 8635 from the UK and 0117 302 7439 from overseas.

Clearing Accommodation:

Tati: Results Day, Clearing and Preparing For Uni

Clearing Accommodation: