Clearing explained

A lot of students feel they've 'failed' in some way if their results don't meet entry requirements and they find their course through Clearing. Not so: it's just time to press reset and look for a new perfect match.

When results' day rolls around, hopefully your child will have the grades they need for their chosen university - if this is the case, you don't need to read this!

If not, don't worry - we know things don't always go to plan. It just means your son or daughter now enters the Clearing process to find a new course from over 30,000 vacancies across all the higher-education providers in the UCAS system.

Thousands of students go through Clearing every year and end up loving their course and university experience, going on to fulfilling, successful careers in their chosen area.

Find out what it's like to go through Clearing

Clearing is when universities make their remaining course vacancies available to students already in the UCAS system. The main reasons for entering Clearing are:

  • Your child didn't meet their offer entry requirements
  • They are applying after the deadline
  • They didn't receive any offers or they don't want to accept the offers they got

Clearing usually runs from July to mid-October in the year of university entry. If your child only decides they would like to go to university after the June deadline, they will have to register quickly with UCAS.

There are thousands of course places available through Clearing so there certainly is choice. But it can depend on the subject your child wants to study, particularly if it is a popular choice, and if there are other restrictions on them accepting a course – for instance, location.

Clearing may mean considering a wider or different subject choice. Make sure you discuss being more flexible with your son or daughter before you start looking on Clearing so they go into the process with an open mind.

If your child has already applied through UCAS, it will happen automatically when they don't meet their entry requirements: their status in their will change to Clearing mode.

If your child has met entry requirements but changed their mind about their firm choice, they'll need to manually change their status on their Hub by declining the offer.

If your child would now like to go to uni but hasn't applied before, they still can: just register with UCAS and make an application. This can happen on results' day following better-than-expected exam results, perhaps.

If your child goes on their and finds their status hasn't changed to 'Clearing', they should call their offer universities. It may be the unis are still considering offering your child a place despite results not meeting entry requirements.

1. Your child searches through the courses on the UCAS system to find those that match their spec – they don't have to keep to the same subject they had originally. If they can't find a course immediately, they should keep checking in as universities are constantly posting new vacancies.

2. Make a note of the Clearing phone numbers for each university your child is interested in. You can contact the ƹƵ of ƹƵ on +44 (0)300 3300 073.

3. Your child calls the universities' Clearing lines to find out if they can offer a place. It has to be your child – you can't call for them! They will need their UCAS Clearing number (look on their welcome page) and personal ID. Any informal offers given over the phone will be followed by a confirming email from the university.

4. Take time to do a bit of research about the university, especially if this uni is completely new to you all. Use their website to check out their fees, scholarships and bursaries, accommodation and facilities. Look out for an Open Day or campus tour (in person if possible, online if not) – most universities run tours regularly in the weeks following results' day. At Beds, we usually run daily campus tours in August.

5. Once the decision is made about accepting a course, get permission from the university admissions team to add the course as your child's Clearing choice on . The uni will give your child a deadline for doing this.

6. Add their Clearing choice: note that, in doing this, your child is accepting the university's offer. The university will then confirm their place. If it doesn't, your child can add a new choice in its place.

You should let Student Finance know of the change as soon as possible. Log into your account and go to Your Account > Change Your Application >ƹƵ/College Course.

If your child has signed a contract for accommodation at their original offer university, you should contact them to make them aware that your child isn't taking up a place and cancel the booking.

Then get moving on booking accommodation at your child's new university! Ask the admissions team how to book or look on the university website. Universities usually hold on to accommodation places for Clearing. At Beds, we guarantee all first-year students a place in our on-campus accommodation

You will also swiftly start to receive emails from your child's new university and faculty on how to register for the course and other useful information, ready for their start in September. ƹƵ websites will usually also have starter information – check out Beds' Welcome

"I came to the ƹƵ of ƹƵ through Clearing and I didn't have any problems. The people I spoke to were all kind and reassuring. Then, when I visited to see the Uni itself, I realised it was perfect for me." Naya, BA (Hons) Acting

If your child is entering Clearing and wants to be considered for a course at the ƹƵ of ƹƵ, call our Clearing hotline now.


ƹƵ switchboard
During office hours
(Monday-Friday 08:30-17:00)
+44 (0)1234 400 400

Outside office hours
(Campus Watch)
+44 (0)1582 74 39 89



International office

Student support


social media