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UCAS Clearing 2023 FAQ and Help Megathread

Mega Clearing FAQ 2023

Clearing, Self-Release into Clearing and Changes for 2023

By popular demand, our FAQ Megathread for Results and Clearing for 2023 is back!

This thread contains several FAQs asked by students on TSR each year. From Clearing basics (what it is and how to apply), to troubleshooting and changing your mind, we’ve compiled a list of popular questions and answers from previous years, all updated for 2023 applicants.

All guidance on this thread comes from UCAS-trained Clearing and Applications advisors with years of experience supporting applicants on results day with impartial advice.

Use these links to quickly jump to the Clearing FAQ section relevant to you!

How does Clearing Work and am I Eligible (click to jump)

Finding Vacancies and Contacting Universities (click to jump)

Once You've Secured an Informal Offer (click to jump)

Troubleshooting - When things don’t quite go to plan... (click to jump)

Common Questions for 2023 (click to jump)

Self Release into Clearing FAQ - Using the 'decline my place' button to place yourself into Clearing (click to jump)

All about Clearing Plus (click to jump)

What is / was UCAS Adjustment? (click to jump)

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!

Resources and Further Support:
Getting out of an unconditional offer and applying through Clearing
Universities in Clearing for 2023
Threads for each university about Clearing
Medicine Clearing thread
A-Level results day countdown thread
Ask a Question in our Clearing forum

UCAS Social Media accounts:
TikTok ¦ Instagram ¦ Facebook ¦ Twitter ¦ LinkedIn ¦ YouTube
(edited 7 months ago)

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How does Clearing Work and am I Eligible

What is Clearing?
Clearing is essentially a way to apply to university for people who either did not apply in the main cycle or for those who do not hold any offers. It provides access to a pool of places which have not been filled in the main application cycle.

When does Clearing open?
UCAS Clearing 2023 opens on 5th July 2023 and closes on 17th October 2023. You can access it through this link!

How is Clearing different from the main UCAS application cycle?
In Clearing, the onus lies with the applicant to search for available places, and then contact universities directly. Universities will speak with the applicant and review their UCAS application to determine their suitability.

Applicants then obtain 'verbal' or 'provisional' or 'informal' offers - this is an informal commitment for a place from the university. Once this is received, the applicant can then add the course and university onto their UCAS account as a clearing choice. The university will then accept this, and the place is confirmed.

Who is eligible for Clearing?
Essentially, anyone who does not hold an offer of a place when Clearing opens on 5th July is eligible. If you're eligible, then UCAS Hub should have a clear message stating "You are in Clearing". Although all Clearing offers are unconditional, you will only get a formal offer on UCAS Hub when you have your results.

There are many situations where someone might be placed into Clearing. this might be because:

You applied directly to Clearing as a late applicant

You did not receive any offers from your original choices

You missed the deadline to accept your offers and UCAS declined them all on your behalf

You failed to meet the conditions of your firm and insurance offers

You asked a university you were placed with to place you into Clearing

You used the 'decline my place' feature to release yourself from an unconditional offer

To be eligible for Clearing, you need to have an application in the current UCAS cycle and to have paid the full application fee - you must complete these in order to access Clearing if you have not done so already as part of the main application cycle.

What is a Clearing number?
To apply via Clearing you must have a Clearing number. A Clearing number or Clearing ID is a number which appears on your UCAS homepage once you login and currently hold no offers. When you speak to universities, you may need to provide this number in order for them to find your application and view it on UCAS. Many universities won't ask for this and will just use your UCAS ID (the long 10 digit number).

What about Adjustment?
Adjustment was a service UCAS used to offer, but it was scrapped in 2022. It was a way to look around for other offers without giving up their firm place, provided you had met and exceeded your original offer. Since the same outcome can be achieved via Clearing, there was little point in having a different service for this.

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
Clearing - Finding Vacancies and Contacting Universities

How does the Clearing application process work?
During Clearing, you are able to directly contact universities to see if they have a place available on a course you wish to access. Generally, this is done by phone or using web forms on university websites (some universities utilize social media too). You can search for available vacancies via the UCAS website, make a list of universities you think you may be interested in and then give them a call.

Universities can then make you an informal (sometimes called verbal or provisional) offer. Once you have this, you can enter it by clicking on the "Add a Clearing choice" link on your UCAS Hub. On A level Results Day, this can be done from 1 pm - this allows you to call several universities and gives you some time to consider your options.

Universities will often give you a time period to enter your choice on UCAS Hub - they don’t want to hold places for people who may not be interested. Once you’ve submitted the choice on UCAS Hub, the university will then formally accept your place. They might need to confirm your immigration or fee status and ask for proof of your qualifications before your place gets confirmed, so keep an eye on your emails!

Clearing is quite different to the main UCAS process in that it works based on informal offers. The onus is on the applicant to contact universities, obtain an informal offer (or multiple informal offers if they're smart) and then choose one offer to enter onto UCAS Hub, which the university will then confirm. The applicant needs to search clearing vacancies, identify universities and then contact them directly to open a dialogue.

How do I know if a specific university has spaces available on my chosen course?
Clearing vacancies are published only on the UCAS website or on university websites.

Note: the "Clearing" app on the Apple App Store/Google Play is NOT official and will only show vacancies from universities that have paid a subscription to the app creator.

You can search for Clearing vacancies here:

Clearing vacancies change all the time (with courses both added and removed) - for example, what is available on the 5th of July is likely to be very different from what is available after A level Results Day, so it is well worth regularly checking for new vacancies.

Can I call a university even if they haven't advertised any clearing vacancies for my course?
Yes, however it’s unlikely they will have places. Universities do, occasionally, operate internal Clearing lists for very popular courses, or courses where there may only be one or two places, to avoid the university being flooded with applications. If there is a particular course or university you have your heart set on then it may be worth a try, however, you should be aware it’s very likely you will not be successful. It is generally better to use your time focusing on securing informal offers at universities which are advertising places.

How many universities can I add / call? Is Clearing first come, first served?
Of course! It’s a good idea to consider all of your available options. There is no limit to the number of informal offers you can hold, although you can only add one choice on UCAS Hub. It’s a good idea to prioritize the universities you want to go to most, as these offers are on a first-come-first-served basis, and obviously if you decide you no longer want a place at a university, it’s a good idea to let them know so that that place can be offered to someone else. This is where preparing well for the day can become a big advantage.

Will universities speak to me if I'm not in Clearing? Can I speculatively contact a university to see if they will consider me?
They may or may not. You can contact a university you are interested in, they might be able to give you limited information. However, they should require you to be in Clearing in order to speak to you officially about a place. UCAS guidance is that universities should not approach applicants who have secured a place elsewhere, but unis should also provide reassurance to applicants whether they would be accepted or not before an applicant surrenders a place elsewhere for them. In short: worth trying, but universities may be inconsistent in this scenario.

Check that your UCAS Contact details are correct!
Before making ANY phone calls (ideally before you get your results) log into UCAS Hub and make sure your phone number and email address on your application are correct. Lots of applicants apply using a school or college email address and then don't remember or bother to update it which means they miss important updates (and then Clearing universities can't get in touch with them).

How do I contact universities to get an offer in Clearing?
Traditionally, you'd phone them, however in recent years we have seen many universities providing online "application forms" for Clearing applicants to fill in their details. And some universities are very active on social media - offers have been given on Facebook and Instagram, as examples. Bear in mind that not all universities use social media in this way - we recommend this as a good thing to do if you find yourself stuck on hold on the university phone lines.

What do I say when I call the universities?
You simply need to say that you are interested in X course and would like to make a Clearing application. You will likely then be asked to provide your UCAS ID or Clearing number so that the university can access your application. Universities might ask you to confirm personal details or academic results, so it’s a good idea to have a transcript of your results to hand. The person on the call will guide you in terms of any information they require from you - this will vary by university and course. You should always take a note of the name of the person you spoke to and any important information they give you, so keep a pen and paper handy! If you're confused or don't understand what they're saying then ask them to confirm what they've said by email so you have a written copy.

Will I need a new personal statement?
Universities you apply to in Clearing will see your original UCAS application. If you are applying for a different course, you will need to explain this to the university and ask if they would be willing to consider an additional statement. This is fairly common and universities will know how to deal with this. Obviously, you would need to have this prepared in advance, so if you are thinking of a course change, it is good to make an early start when it comes to writing your additional personal statement.

Is Clearing only for unpopular courses? What about Law and Medicine?
There is a common misconception that Clearing only has vacancies for unpopular courses where there weren’t enough applicants. Courses may be in Clearing for many reasons. Some of these include:

Not enough applicants meeting the minimum entry requirements

More applicants than expected performing poorly at interview

Poor advertising of the course

More applicants than expected failing to meet the conditions of their offer

More applicants than expected changing their mind - applying elsewhere, deferring or taking a gap year.

In recent years, we’ve seen places for Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Sciences and other very popular courses at top universities appear in Clearing. At most, this will be a handful of places in one or two institutions, and many of these courses will not be advertised in Clearing at all. Bear in mind that any available places are usually snapped up very quickly. Securing a place on a high demand course in Clearing is not something you should expect or rely upon, as the vast majority (if not all) places will have already been filled in the main application cycle, or via waiting lists.

In summary: this is possible, but have Plan B and Plan C ready to go.

Medicine in Clearing advice can be found here.

Will universities reduce their entry requirements in Clearing?
Potentially - there unfortunately isn’t any way to predict whether entry requirements will reduce, and, if so, by how much. Some universities have the option to be more flexible depending on the strength of the rest of your application - this particularly applies to vocational courses. Grade requirements may also change as Clearing progresses - universities may decide to make further reductions if Clearing is well under way and they are struggling to fill the course.

For courses with requirements for GCSE English and Maths at a particular grade, these are highly unlikely to be lowered as these form basic minimum requirements for the course and may be dictated by regulatory bodies. A good rule of thumb is that if a university shows Clearing specific entry requirements on their website then those are the lowest they'll accept. If they don't list Clearing specific entry requirements then it's worth contacting them if you're within 2 grades of their standard entry requirements.

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
Clearing - Once You've Secured an Informal Offer

I’ve got an informal offer - now what do I do?
Once you’ve secured an informal offer, you can enter it into your UCAS Hub by clicking on the "Add a Clearing choice". This is your formal submission of your offer. You absolutely must make sure you enter this offer within the timeframe stated by the university - failure to do so can mean you losing your place and put you in a real pickle. Universities set a time limit to avoid applicants holding their places for too long - remember that the universities will be keen to fill their course and offer the place to someone else.

Most universities will now send you an email explaining the terms of any informal or provisional offer. If a university makes you an offer over the phone then ASK THEM if they can confirm the offer and any terms in writing by email. Don't forget to keep an eye on your email junk/spam folders.

When can I enter a clearing choice on UCAS Hub?
If you already have your exam results, you can enter a choice as soon as Clearing opens (5th July). If you have results to collect on A-level Results Day, you won’t be able to enter a choice until 1pm that day. This gives you time to look at your options, call some universities and make a decision. You can only enter one choice in UCAS Hub - so you need to make sure it’s the right one!

Will I need to attend an interview?
For most applicants, it’s unlikely. Most universities don’t have the capacity/facility to hold interviews during Clearing. There are, however, some exceptions to this.

For healthcare courses (Nursing, Midwifery, Medicine etc.), you may need to attend an interview which may be remote or in person. The Clearing admissions contact will advise you on this. Universities are often required to interview prospective students as part of the requirements of their professional regulatory body. You may also be required to attend for an Occupational Health appointment. This is worth bearing in mind if you are applying to a university a considerable distance away.

For Art and Design courses, you will sometimes be required to send over a web-based portfolio before being given an offer. It’s therefore really important that you’ve had a look at portfolio guidelines beforehand and have one prepared.

Performing arts courses may require provision of a video audition (usually pre-recorded). It’s a good idea to have a selection of monologues, music or choreography (as appropriate) prepared.

Do I need to contact universities I held a informal offer for but didn't choose?
You aren't obligated to. Universities will hold your place for a specified amount of time, and then will release it and offer it to someone else. You should not prioritize contacting these universities - it is far more important that you have sorted and secured your own place.

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!

Troubleshooting - When things don’t quite go to plan...

Anything that happens outside of the ‘normal’ UCAS process has the potential for issues to occur. By following the advice above, you should limit the chances of any problems, however, things unfortunately do still go wrong on occasion. The process is not perfect, and mistakes can be made by the applicant and/or the university. Here’s how to deal with the most common issues.

Can I be rejected after I’ve entered a Clearing choice on UCAS Hub?
Yes - there are three main reasons why this may happen.

1. Failing to obtain an informal offer before adding the choice on UCAS Hub. Many universities won’t accept someone they have never heard of - some applicants seem to think this is worth a try, however this is often unsuccessful and wastes time. If you’ve done this, you would need to contact the university to explain, and ask them to make a decision on your application ASAP so that you can apply elsewhere.

2. Failing to add the choice by the deadline specified by the university at the time of the offer. The university may well have already allocated that space on their course to someone else now.

3. Some sort of error or misrepresentation - perhaps the university misunderstood your grades, or there is an issue with your transcript. For international students this can also happen if there's a problem with your UK visa history. This is more complex and it is important to have a record of exactly who you spoke to and what they said. In this scenario, please start a thread or comment below, so we can provide additional help.

If you do find you have been rejected and can’t work out why, it’s important that you contact the university as soon as possible to find out the reason so it can be addressed.

Universities are not supposed to change their mind once a informal offer has been made. Universities should not give out informal offers and rescind these unless you have misrepresented yourself or have given false or incorrect information.

I accepted a Clearing offer and added it to UCAS Hub, but I’ve changed my mind. What do I do?
Once you have accepted an informal offer and added it to UCAS Hub, you are committed to that offer to some degree, so it’s important you are sure about your choice before entering it.

If you definitely do not wish to attend that university what you need to do depends on what UCAS Hub says about your Clearing Choice.

- If your choice says "referred" then you would need to contact the university, explain the situation and request that they place you back in Clearing. The university is under no obligation to do this quickly, and are likely to prioritize the applicants who want to attend their university. It's a good idea to ask what their timescale for this is, and also to contact the university you actually want to go to in order to make them aware of the delay, and make sure that they are happy to wait.

- If your place is confirmed (unconditional firm) on UCAS Hub then you should have a button available to "Decline my place" to put yourself back into Clearing.

I have been accepted into my firm/insurance but I’ve seen something I love in Clearing. Can I apply?
Firstly, you would need to call the university in Clearing to see if the place is still available and get a preliminary idea of whether they would accept you. Remember that the university may not commit to giving you an offer without you being in Clearing and may not give any indication as to your chances. In which case, you need to decide whether the risk is worthwhile to you. Universities are likely to be more flexible around this rule if they were one of your original 5 choices - in that case they can see your UCAS application even if you're not in Clearing.

Only once you are absolutely certain this is what you want to do, and that you understand you will hold no university place, you can use UCAS Hub to place yourself in Clearing. You can do this by following the ‘Decline my place’ option on UCAS Hub and filling in the form. Once you have been placed into Clearing, you can follow the normal Clearing process of adding the choice to your UCAS Hub.

Be aware that there is risk associated with this - you will hold no confirmed place during this process and will need to work to the timescales set by the new university. Be aware that UCAS are often unable to assist with this.

I have been accepted by my firm but I now want to go to my insurance, what do I do?
You would need to follow the same steps as above, as once you have met the conditions of your firm choice, your insurance offer ceases to exist. You would initially need to contact the insurance choice to explain the situation, and see if they still have places and would be willing to consider you.

TSR recommends you do this in advance of results day for the best chance of securing a spot at your insurance university. If your grades come through and match your firm offer, your insurance choice will already be allocating your space to somebody else. We think it is worth reaching out to the insurance university ahead of results day to make clear that you want to come to them.

You must be aware that you may not be able to go to your insurance choice because that course is full and unavailable in Clearing.

I’m waiting for a decision from my firm/insurance, but I've found a course I like in clearing, what do I do?
You can call your firm/insurance to let them know you no longer want to be considered so that they can record an unsuccessful decision and then you can be placed in Clearing.

It is important to ask them the timescale for this and to follow up regularly - universities will generally prioritize filling their courses. UCAS will normally be able to help you out in this situation if you are having trouble with delays from your original university.

I’m worried about accommodation. Won’t it all be taken by the time I apply?
This is something it’s important to discuss with universities at the time when you are given an informal offer. Some universities may have places in their own accommodation, others may not. Some universities can offer you additional support if you are accepted in Clearing to secure private accommodation.

Generally it’s unlikely you would be stuck without any accommodation at all - even if what is available would not be your first choice. This is something you can look at and prepare in advance with universities you are looking at already with Clearing in mind. Every university has their own policy for guaranteed accommodation. Some will guarantee it for clearing applicants, some will not.

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
Decline my place FAQ

Since 2019, UCAS has allowed applicants to release themselves into Clearing through a 'Decline my place' button. This is an irreversible decision and it is therefore extremely important that students fully understand the implications. We’ve compiled a few FAQs to help you understand what self-release is, how to do it and what happens if things go wrong.

What is "Decline my place" and how does it work?
In previous years, applicants who no longer wished to take up their unconditional offer and wanted to apply elsewhere would need to contact the university they had been placed with and ask to be placed into Clearing.

The problem with this was that universities tend to be really busy on A-level Results Day, and weren’t prioritizing these students - naturally, they gave more time and attention to the ones who actually wanted to go there. This resulted in huge amounts of stress for students, as their new university would often only agree to hold their place for a limited amount of time.

To tackle this, UCAS now allows applicants to release themselves in to Clearing using a 'decline my place' button on their UCAS Hub.

Declining your unconditional firm place
Essentially, this button allows an applicant who holds an unconditional offer to place themselves into Clearing. This declines their place and allows them to apply to other universities which have vacancies. This can be done via UCAS Hub and doesn’t require the applicant to contact the university they want to be released from.

Who can decline their place? Is it open to everyone?
'Decline my place' is open to any applicant who has been placed with a university. That means that you have accepted an offer and it's been made unconditional. You might have an unconditional offer early if you already had your results, or, more commonly, your offer will turn unconditional on A-level Results Day, once you meet the conditions set out in your offer.

If you are eligible, you will see a button on your UCAS Hub stating ‘Decline my place’ from 5th July.

When should I release myself into Clearing?
You can press the button from any time when you have an unconditional offer. You should only release once you are completely sure you do not wish to attend the university you have been placed with.

I want to be placed into Clearing but I don't have an unconditional offer yet - my university hasn't made a decision. How do I do this?
The 'decline my place' process is only applicable to people with an unconditional offer - people who have met the conditions of their offer and have secured a place at university.

If you want to be released into Clearing from a conditional offer, you will not be able to place yourself into Clearing. You would instead need to contact the university directly, and ask them to reject your application on UCAS. It is worth bearing in mind that universities often do not prioritize this sort of task over assisting people who actually want to go there, so this can take some time. When you phone them, ask them how long they expect this to take. Relay that timescale onto any university you then contact about Clearing places.

Universities also aren't permitted to reject applicants who have met their offer conditions (or haven't had their results yet). Remember that communication is key and it is really important that you keep everyone aware of the situation and timescales, and make notes of who you spoke to and when.

What are the benefits of releasing yourself into Clearing?
Firstly, it’s a lot quicker than the old method. It can be done in a matter of minutes. You’re also totally in control - you aren’t relying on administrative staff from a university. The aim is that this method will reduce a lot of stress associated with Clearing.

What are the risks?
Once you are placed in Clearing, your place at your original university becomes available to others and is no longer associated with you at all. There is no easy way to reverse this and it may mean you lose your place if it is offered to someone else.

Additionally, if you place yourself in Clearing and subsequently fail to secure a place at a new university (for example, if you don’t find anything you like or if universities aren’t willing to offer you a place) then you may find yourself without any offers and facing the possibility of needing to reapply.

Therefore, this isn’t a decision you should ever take lightly.

Can I press the "decline my place" button by accident?
Potentially, but UCAS makes it very hard to do so.

In addition to clicking the ‘decline my place’ button, you would also need to complete a drop-down questionnaire.

You shouldn’t proceed with the self-release unless you are 100% sure you do not want to attend the university you have been placed with.

I pressed the "decline my place" button and now I wish I hadn’t. What do I do?
You will need to phone up your original university which you were placed with as soon as possible. Once you have been placed in Clearing, your spot at that university becomes up for grabs.

You need to contact the university to explain you made a mistake and that you still want the place. They will then instruct you about the next steps.

It is possible that the university will already have filled your place, particularly if there is a time gap between your self-release and you contacting the university. If this is the case, you may unfortunately need to look for another place elsewhere.

Have questions that aren’t answered here? Need more information before making a decision? Post below and one of our UCAS trained Applications and Clearing Advisers will do their best to help!

Questions for 2023

Will unis be more flexible about entry requirements considering the impact of covid-19 on my education?
This is the fourth year of results that we've seen since the pandemic began; all HE institutions are aware of what happened in schools and colleges during this time. Universities have also been significantly impacted in the way that they work and some have made permanent changes to the way courses are now delivered, among other things.

In our experience, we have found that universities are generally more flexible than they used to be for a lot of courses. Very competitive courses with heavily oversubscribed applications are still very difficult to find spaces on, but we have noticed that people who typically find themselves looking for courses in Clearing are finding offers faster than they used to.

I am worried I won't have the university experience or might miss out on face-to-face learning, should I consider deferring?
Deferring is a very personal choice.

It is important that students recognize that a lot of the blended learning methods we have seen during the pandemic have actually been in the pipeline for a long time, and that virtual learning was always going to happen. There has been a huge investment into remote learning, so lots of universities are continuing with this long-term. Universities generally see this as a benefit to students. Deferring to avoid remote learning is not something we recommend.

Remember that students cannot hold a deferred offer and also make a new UCAS application in the next cycle.

What happens about the 31st August deadline for meeting conditions?
**Awaiting information in UCAS training**

Is it still possible to call UCAS in the case of problems?
Short answer: Yes. You may get a faster response using UCAS's social media platforms though. The list of issues to contact UCAS about is quite small. Majority of your interactions on results day should be with universities. If you're unsure who you need to help resolve a problem, ask us :smile:

How will Clearing work for Advisers and teachers this year?
Your school advisor (this will likely be your careers advisor or head of year at school) is able to login to their version of Track early every year, and there is a feature to let them know about their unplaced applicants. This means your teachers will already know who needs additional support and while they can't tell you in advance of Track opening, they will be ready to help you.

Have a question we didn't answer? Need more information? Post below and one of our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
'Clearing Plus' FAQ

In 2020, UCAS introduced 'Clearing Plus'. This is a service which sits alongside actual Clearing and it provides a list of courses matched via an algorithm to each student. Clearing Plus also allows students to let universities know that they are interested in a particular course. Clearing will go live on 5th July - Clearing Plus runs throughout this this whole period.

Important: Clearing Plus is an option, and not the only route to apply through Clearing - the normal Clearing course search is still available and should also be used. Students are not encouraged to solely rely on Clearing Plus. Clearing Plus works most effectively when a student has said they are interested and immediately phones the university. This way, the university can see your full application immediately and can make a decision quickly.

What is Clearing Plus and how does it work?
The whole purpose of Clearing Plus is to offer applicants with some options as a starting point, rather than going straight into a potentially very large pool of courses in main Clearing search. We expect 30,000 courses total in Clearing which is a lot for students to manage, so this aims to give a more rational starting point. Clearing Plus replaces the Direct Contact Service which was used for the last 4 years.

Clearing Plus essentially takes all courses and uses algorithms to cluster them to match students to. The key benefit of Clearing Plus is that it might suggest similar but slightly different courses that a student may not have considered. Students will have a list of ‘matched courses’ and can then let universities know that they are interested. Universities that pay £2k for an enhanced profile will have their logo displayed and a tagline under the university name. Other universities will just have the university name.

Will all universities be using Clearing Plus?
All universities will have access to Clearing Plus; this doesn't mean they will all use it in the same way. If an applicant expresses an interest through Clearing Plus, UCAS would hope all universities using Clearing Plus would provide a response either way, however, universities are not obligated to use Clearing Plus or to respond to applicants. Universities who pay UCAS for the advanced perks of Clearing Plus are more likely to be active on the platform - you can typically identify see these universities if their logo and tagline are displayed on the Clearing Plus search.

Will there be courses in Clearing Plus which are not available on the normal UCAS Clearing listings and vice versa?
Yes there might be - there may be courses unis don’t want everyone to see, just certain students that meet specific criteria they have set. It is recommended to use a combination of Clearing Plus and the ordinary UCAS Clearing course search.

Are universities more likely to place students who contact them directly than through Clearing Plus?
We think the short answer is probably, yes. If someone is really really interested in a vacancy then it is best to use the university's own contact method, particularly if this is a high demand course which will fill up quickly. Although, every university may behave slightly differently.

Who can use Clearing Plus?
Clearing Plus is open to any unplaced applicant (i.e. those not holding an offer). There is no sign up - this is automatically available and there is no need to opt-in. You will see the 'see matches' button on your UCAS Track if you are eligible for Clearing Plus.

Can students use Clearing Plus if they have applied directly to Clearing?
Yes - there will be less information about them available to make matches but Clearing Plus can still be used. Matches may be less relevant but will still be present. To be eligible for Clearing students need to have paid the full application fee.

What about international applicants?
It is also available to international students, however the qualifications in clearing plus are generally UK ones - the matches therefore might not be so relevant. At the moment, if a university sets requirements in terms of UK qualifications, it is not possible to match that course to international applicants. This is a limitation of the service because it is so new. If you are an international applicant, it may be best to primarily use the traditional UCAS Clearing vacancy search and/or contact universities directly.

What if I don't have my results yet?
Students who don't yet have confirmed results for whatever reason will be placed into a 'cluster'. They will still be shown matches but these might not be so relevant. Once results have been confirmed, the match relevance will improve.

How do Clearing Plus matches work?
Every student is matched to courses based on their profile (subjects included in their UCAS application) and criteria set by universities. UCAS's algorithm will take into consideration previous choices, grades, and qualification subjects when matching students to courses, and the profiles of previous students accepted onto the course.

In addition to this, universities can set their own criteria (see the next point).

Can universities decide who their course is shown to?
Universities can set their own, confidential criteria to decide what types of students their course is shown to. This is entirely at the discretion of universities however is likely to include qualification type and grades achieved. POLAR scores (a measure of how likely students in a particular geographic area are to access higher education) and SIMD scores (a measure of geographical deprivation) are also options for universities to use, to help with widening participation. Universities can also filter by international applicants, home applicants or all applicants.

The benefit of this to universities is that they can look at their current cohort and can then target their matches through Clearing Plus to help meet their objectives - for example, if they are looking to meet their widening participation targets, they might decide to only show their courses to students with lower POLAR and SIMD scores. To be clear: we are saying universities can do this and might be doing this, we don't know which institutions do or don't use these practices. Universities can change their criteria at any point in time.

What happens if the university or course I want isn't matched to me?
For applicants, the university criteria (described above) means that although you may not see a course in your matches, you may just not be in the specific group that the university is looking to target. It is still worth checking the main UCAS Clearing vacancies and contacting the university.

Can you be matched to a university you were rejected from previously?
Applicants that a university may have previously rejected for a course (based on interview/portfolio/subject mix/poor reference etc. or possibly predicted grades) can be matched to the same course they were rejected for. There is no way for a university to opt to exclude previously rejected applicants.

If you have been matched to a course which you have already been rejected from, it is unfortunately due to UCAS algorithm and the limitations of this. It does not mean the university will reconsider you.

Is there a limit to the number of matches a student might get?
Every student will have some matches, although this is likely to be more limited for niche subjects.

Initially, you will see the top 50 matches, with the ability to keep revealing 50 more, until you reach 1000 courses. You will importantly only see courses switched on in Clearing Plus, and courses for which you meet the criteria set by the university. Unis can therefore control to some degree who sees their courses.

Does Clearing Plus update over time?
Yes, the list will update when the student presses the 'See matches' button in Track, and courses will be available in as close to real time as possible (there may be a couple of seconds delay between a provider adding a course and the student seeing it).

Is it possible to filter courses by distance from home?
This functionality is not yet available.

How to show interest through Clearing Plus
It is important to remember that Clearing Plus is not a formal application to a university. It is simply a way to let a university know that you may be interested in their course. They will then review the people who have said they are interested, and will get in touch with ones they wish to pursue. If you are super keen on a university, we still recommend getting in touch through other means (telephone, live chat etc.).

How do I let a university know I am interested?
Simply select the 'I'm interested' button and you will see a popup that says:
"I agree that this course provider can contact me if they still have places available for this course, or similar courses, and I meet their entry requirements.
If you change your mind, you need to contact the course provider to let them know"

And then the student can select ‘Allow providers to contact me’ or ‘Cancel’.

What do universities see when students say they are interested?
Universities have a dashboard which allows them to see all interested participants. They are initially just provided with very basic data, including your name and contact details. Some universities might just use this, but they are also provided with a link to your UCAS application if they want more information before contacting you.

Is there a limit to the number of courses a student can say they are interested in?
There is a limit of 5 courses students can express interest in via Clearing Plus. It should be noted that selecting 'I'm interested' does not guarantee contact from the university.

How will universities contact students who have said they are interested - is this by phone as default or email?
It is up to the university how they contact the student - it may be by email or phone.

How long do students have to consider offers from universities?
If students have selected a lot of courses they are interested in and receive a number of offers, it is up to the student to decide which one (if any) they are interested in. There is still a need to act quickly as places will be taken up.

UCAS advise unis to have reasonable deadlines on offers (24hrs or more) to limit pressure on students. Each university will set their own deadline - make sure you check this.

Is there a way to revoke interest?
Short answer, no. For the moment, if a student expresses interest in error, they’re best letting the university know if they contact them. UCAS are working on the ability for a student to revoke interest - please watch this space!

Have a question that isn't answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!

Adjustment - No longer offered by UCAS

Adjustment was a UCAS service in place until 2021. We have a couple of FAQs since we still do get asked some questions about it.

I keep seeing articles and references to Adjustment, what is it and are you sure it doesn't exist?
Through Adjustment, students who had met the conditions of all of their firm offer, and had exceeded at least one condition could hold their place and attempt to 'trade up' to a better university. It aimed to enable students who did considerably better than expected to apply to a university they had not previously considered.

The service definitely no longer exists. The closure of Adjustment was not widely publicized, and for this reason references to it might still be present in school literature, printed reference materials and in some outdated online sources. Adjustment is no longer available to anyone, in any situation.

If I do better than expected, how do I reduce the risk when applying elsewhere?
The first thing to do is to call universities - many will not speak to you without a Clearing ID (you don't get this until you are placed in Clearing) however this is still worth a try. Explain that you have done better than expected, and try to get an indication as to whether the university would be willing to offer you a place.

Crucially, you need to find out how long the university can hold your place for, to give you time to place yourself into Clearing and add it as a choice (you can't add a Clearing choice until 1pm on Results Day).

If you have very high grades, this is where it may be worth chancing some universities who haven't advertised any spaces on your course, but you'd love to go there and may have an internal clearing list. See "Can I call a university even if they haven't advertised any clearing vacancies for my course?" in one of the above posts.

Have a question that isn't answered here? Post in the thread and our UCAS trained Clearing and Applications Advisers will do their best to help!
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Reply 8
I'm a private candidate and will receive my A Level results through email. Do universities you contact through clearing need to see my A level certificates or when they ask for my results will the email I receive be enough?
Original post by aaryas0803
I'm a private candidate and will receive my A Level results through email. Do universities you contact through clearing need to see my A level certificates or when they ask for my results will the email I receive be enough?

Do you have a UCAS application underway already?
Original post by 04MR17
Do you have a UCAS application underway already?

Yes, but I’ve changed my mind about the course so I’ll be going through clearing.
Original post by aaryas0803
Yes, but I’ve changed my mind about the course so I’ll be going through clearing.

Brill thanks, so you will ring up the uni and tell them your grades and your clearing ID number. Your A Level results will be visible to them once you enter them as a clearing choice, so as long as what they see on there matches what you tell them on the phone, there shouldn't be an issue. No need for certificates or confirmation emails if you've already got a UCAS application underway.
Okay, thank you!
Original post by 04MR17
Brill thanks, so you will ring up the uni and tell them your grades and your clearing ID number. Your A Level results will be visible to them once you enter them as a clearing choice, so as long as what they see on there matches what you tell them on the phone, there shouldn't be an issue. No need for certificates or confirmation emails if you've already got a UCAS application underway.
Reply 13
Original post by 04MR17
Brill thanks, so you will ring up the uni and tell them your grades and your clearing ID number. Your A Level results will be visible to them once you enter them as a clearing choice, so as long as what they see on there matches what you tell them on the phone, there shouldn't be an issue. No need for certificates or confirmation emails if you've already got a UCAS application underway.

Can i just ask where can i find my Clearing number, all i have is my UCAS ID number
Original post by Raheem_w
Can i just ask where can i find my Clearing number, all i have is my UCAS ID number

Great question - you'll only have your clearing ID number when you go into clearing. Then it should display very clearly on your UCAS hub once you're in clearing. I'll try to find a screenshot of what that looks like now.

EDIT: Very blurry but:
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 15
i see, as i am holding an offer atm, i currently am not in the clearing process then, makes sense, thanks ! :smile:

Original post by 04MR17
Great question - you'll only have your clearing ID number when you go into clearing. Then it should display very clearly on your UCAS hub once you're in clearing. I'll try to find a screenshot of what that looks like now.

EDIT: Very blurry but:
Lots of universities will just ask for your UCAS ID and not your clearing number. They can see whether or not you’re in clearing with a ucas id
Original post by Raheem_w
i see, as i am holding an offer atm, i currently am not in the clearing process then, makes sense, thanks ! :smile:

Nope you'll only go into Clearing if you either don't have a place on results day (missing your firm/insurance offers) or choose to decline the place you end up with on results day. If you decline your place this cannot be undone, so be extremely careful if considering that option!
Reply 18
Original post by PQ
Lots of universities will just ask for your UCAS ID and not your clearing number. They can see whether or not you’re in clearing with a ucas id

i see 👌
Does anyone know which universities won't talk to us about clearing position unless we are in clearing?

Say if we want to try an university with higher entry requirements which has clearing places.

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