University clearing 2022: what is UCAS process to help students find uni courses - and useful contact numbers

According to UCAS last year more than 47,000 students found their university course through clearing

With results day around the corner, A Level students will soon find out if they got the grades for university.

If you missed out on your top choice or didn’t get the grades you were expecting, there is always an alternative.

Clearing is a popular option amongst students, with 47,000 finding their university place through the process last year, according to UCAS.

Students have a choice from a variety of institutions and courses, giving them plenty of study options.

But what is clearing and how do you apply? Here is everything you need to know about the UCAS process.

Last year more than 47,000 students found their university place through Clearing (Pic: Getty Images)

What is clearing?

Clearing is a process by UCAS that helps students find prospective university courses.

After results day, many universities will find they have unfilled places on courses.

Clearing helps students who didn’t get onto their university choices find an alternative option.

So, if you don’t get the grades you need, or if you got better grades than you’d anticipated, clearing gives you the choice to choose a place on another university course.

This could be at the same institution, or a completely different one.

You are also eligible to apply to study at university through clearing even if you did not receive any university offers.

It is a popular option amongst students, with more than 47,000 finding their university course through clearing in 2021 according to UCAS.

There are a range of universities available, with even high ranking institutions offering places.

With so much choice on offer, it’s important to research your course and prospective institution thoroughly before committing to a place.

When is Clearing 2022?

Clearing kicks off in July, but students generally wait until A Level results day to look for courses.

This year, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, A Level results day is on Thursday 18 August.

In Scotland, students will receive their Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers results on Tuesday 9 August and will be able to begin clearing then.

The deadline to apply for clearing is 18 October 2022.

Employees in the UCAS clearing house call centre answer telephone enquiries ahead of results day (Pic: Getty Images)

How does Clearing work?

After results day, UCAS have a list of university courses in clearing on their website.

All you need to do is enter the course you are interested in and the year you want to study.

Once you have decided on a course, the next step is to call the university to make sure you meet the criteria and they still have space.

If they offer you a place and you accept it, you will need to add clearing to your application, by clicking on the “add clearing” button and then adding in the university course information.

If the university does not confirm your place you can add another clearing option.

If you only applied for one university in your original UCAS application you will have to pay a £4.50 fee for clearing.

Who is eligible for Clearing?

Anyone who has made a UCAS application and hasn’t accepted an offer is eligible for clearing.

You are eligible for clearing if you:

  • applied before 30 June but didn’t receive any offers
  • applied to UCAS after 30 June
  • didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
  • have paid the application fee of £26.50
  • have declined your firm place
Students at the University of Birmingham pose for a group photograph after graduation (Pic: Getty Images)

How can I find a university course?

You can find a university course on the UCAS clearing list website.

Clearing begins in July, but many students do not start to look for courses until after they have received their results.

Popular courses fill up fast, so it’s important that if you find a course or university you want to apply for you don’t wait around.

Who can I contact if I need help?

There are a few places you can go to if you need help during clearing.

Here are some useful contact numbers:

UCAS: 0371 468 0 468

UCAS run a dedicated service for clearing to help students navigate the process.

Whilst staff cannot advise on courses, they can assist with queries or any technical issues you are having with your application.

Alternatively, you can also contact UCAS on social media, via their Twitter account @ucas_online.

Exam Results Helpline: 0800 100 9000

This helpline offers students advice on the next steps after they receive their A Level results.

It opens from 8am on results day and is free to use.