How to apply for university clearing

Students who don't get the A Level results they expected or missed the deadline for applying for a place at university can still get a place on the university course they want through Clearing.

See our quick guide to Clearing below, with answers to frequently asked questions to get started.

What is clearing?

Clearing is a service available between July and September, but for most people it is used immediately after the exam results are published. It helps applicants who have not secured a place at university or college for whatever reason to find vacancies on higher education courses.

How do I apply through Clearing?

You need to complete an online application at the UCAS website. However, if you applied in the previous year then that application will not be valid. If you have not applied to UCAS by September 20, you should approach universities and colleges individually to discuss your options.

Is Clearing just for people who have received lower exam results than they expected?

Clearing can be for people who received lower exam results than they expected, but also Clearing is available for those who chose to go to university later than suggested, or did not get into their first choice university.

How do I find out which courses are in Clearing?

If you check the UCAS website for a list of courses that are available through Clearing for all institutions. The Telegraph newspaper also publishes vacancies from 16 August.

Why are places available through Clearing?

Universities and colleges may have places available through Clearing for a number of reasons - it may be a subject for which there is a shortage of applicants nationally, additional places may have been allocated to the course late in the application cycle or it may be a new course which has only recently started recruiting.

How many universities and colleges can I approach?

You can approach many as you would like but remember that some universities and colleges may not make you an offer, and that some may make you an offer for a different course to the one you asked them about. If a course offer is not quite what you want, thank them politely and keep on looking.

When does Clearing finish?

UCAS will process new applications up to September 20 and a list of course vacancies in Clearing will be available on the UCAS website until September 28. If you already have a processed application you can send your application to your Clearing choice up October 22.