The Complete Guide to UCAS Clearing – 2023/2024 Intake

As the academic year commences for the 2023/2024 intake, students find themselves at a crossroads, seeking alternative routes to fulfill their dreams of attending university. This comprehensive resource is designed to empower students with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the UCAS Clearing process with confidence, unlocking new opportunities and securing a place at esteemed institutions. Join us on this transformative journey as we demystify Clearing, provide step-by-step guidance, and share invaluable insights for a promising academic future.

ucas clearing

Table of Contents

What is UCAS Clearing

First things first, UCAS, which stands for “Universities and Colleges Admissions Service,” is the organisation that manages university applications in the UK.

Basically, UCAS Clearing is like a second chance for students who haven’t yet secured a place at a university. It’s a process that opens up after the regular university application deadline has passed. During Clearing, universities and colleges have spaces available on their courses that haven’t been filled, and they’re actively looking for students like you to fill those spots.

How does UCAS Clearing Work

You can use Clearing if

  • You’re applying after 30 June;
  • You didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept);
  • You didn’t meet the conditions of your offers;
  • You’ve paid the multiple choice application fee of £27;
  • You’ve declined your firm place using the ‘decline my place’ button in your application

During Clearing, you can search for courses that have vacancies through the UCAS website. If you find a course and university that interests you, you can contact them directly to see if they’d consider offering you a place. It’s essential to be proactive and make those calls because Clearing spaces can fill up quickly!

Remember, UCAS Clearing is all about giving students a chance to find the right place for them at a university that suits their interests and abilities. It might seem like a bit of a detour, but many students have found amazing opportunities through Clearing, leading them to successful and fulfilling academic journeys. So, don’t be discouraged if things didn’t go as planned initially – Clearing could open up new and exciting possibilities for you!

How to add Clearing Choice on UCAS

This year, Clearing is open from 5 July and closes on 17 October 2023.

Clearing matches are an important aspect of the UCAS Clearing process, specifically designed for students who were unsuccessful in their initial university applications or are applying for the first time during Clearing.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Profile Analysis: When you apply to university, UCAS considers your original choices and the qualifications/grades you have achieved.

  2. Available Courses: Universities and colleges have already informed UCAS about the courses they have available for Clearing. These courses match your profile and meet the necessary entry requirements.

  3. Matching Process: UCAS analyses the choices made by students in previous Clearing cycles to determine which courses could be suitable for you based on your profile.

  4. Viewing Matches: If you are eligible, you will see a ‘See matches’ button in your UCAS application. Clicking this button will present you with a list of courses that match your profile. These matches are unique to you and tailored to your qualifications and preferences.

  5. Expressing Interest: You can express your interest in a course by clicking ‘interested.’ If you do, the respective university or college can contact you to discuss the course and possibly offer you a place.

Remember, courses in Clearing fill up quickly, and not every match will result in a call. Therefore, it’s essential to keep your options open and continue exploring courses through Clearing.

Example: For instance, let’s consider Rosie, who receives her exam results but unfortunately doesn’t meet the requirements for her firm or insurance choices. She logs into her UCAS application and discovers the ‘See matches’ button. Upon clicking it, she finds a list of her top 50 course matches based on her original choices. She selects four courses she’s interested in and expresses her interest. Eventually, she receives a call from one of the universities, where they discuss her aspirations and offer her a place. Rosie then adds this course as a Clearing choice and successfully secures her spot at the university.

Clearing matches offer personalised options based on your qualifications, making it easier for you to find suitable courses and secure a place at university during the Clearing process.

Clearing Guide for Parents

Before results day, it’s crucial to get prepared and support your child for the big day. Understand what UCAS Clearing is all about to offer the necessary assistance. Check the UCAS search tool when Clearing opens on 5th July to see available course vacancies. Regularly remind your child to check their application for updates and ensure their contact details are correct. Having a backup plan is beneficial in case they need to consider alternative options. Also, encourage them to connect with current students to gain valuable insights.

When results are released, provide reassurance and stay positive. There’s no need to rush into decisions; taking a step back to figure things out is perfectly fine. Be prepared for Clearing, as it may involve phone conversations with universities. If your child has changed their mind about their firm choice, they can use the ‘Decline my place‘ button in their application to release themselves into Clearing. You can also use Clearing Plus matches to view courses they’ve been personally matched to.

After Clearing, continue to provide support and guidance. If your child successfully secured a place, help them prepare for university life and what to pack. In case they didn’t get the desired place or opted for a different path, remain open-minded and supportive. They might consider reapplying in the future or exploring alternative options like apprenticeships.

By staying informed and offering your support, you can guide your child through the UCAS Clearing process, helping them make the best decisions for their academic journey and future.

UCAS Clearing Courses in 2023

There are tens of thousands of courses with Clearing vacancies at the time of writing. You can find out which courses and which universities are still available through the UCAS Search Tool.

Important Things to know about UCAS Clearing

Remember, entering the Clearing process DOES NOT MEAN YOU FAILED!

  • Nobody is going to look at you differently just because you enrolled through Clearing. 
  • You can also apply to the university that rejected you. 
  • There are many success stories of past students that started their academic journey through Clearing. 
  • If it’s all too much, you can always opt for a gap year or an apprenticeship.

Frequently Asked Questions

UCAS Clearing is a process that allows students to find available course vacancies at universities and colleges after the main application cycle has ended. It is designed for students who haven’t received any offers or didn’t meet the conditions of their offers.

UCAS Clearing is open from 5 July – 17 October 2023. However, course availability can change throughout this period, so it’s essential to be proactive and act quickly.

Students who are eligible for Clearing include those who have declined all their offers, haven’t received any offers, or didn’t meet the conditions of their offers.

Yes, Clearing allows you to apply to universities and courses that you haven’t previously considered. You can explore various options to find the best fit for your preferences and qualifications.

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