Advisers guide to Clearing for international students

Find key information on how Clearing works if you are helping a student come to study in the UK.

Key things to remember

UCAS Clearing is a process in the United Kingdom that allows students who have not secured a place at a university or college through the main application cycle to find alternative courses or institutions. It is primarily used by students who did not receive any offers, did not meet the conditions of their offers, or did not apply before the application deadline.

It may also be used by students who achieved significantly higher grades than expected and wish to explore other opportunities available. 

Clearing provides an opportunity for students to explore alternative study options and secure a place at a university or college, even if they did not initially receive an offer or missed the main application cycle.

Here are some key things to remember about Clearing:

  1. Clearing opens on 5 July 2024

    Clearing opens on Friday 5 July 2024.

    Applicants can add a choice once their place has been confirmed by the institution they would like to apply to through Clearing. For instance, students studying the International Baccalaureate may begin their Clearing search when they receive their results on the 6 July.

    Remember, there'll be an influx of places available on Thursday 15 August 2025 as UK students get their results. 

  2. The embargo

    Each year, UCAS and universities and colleges are given early access to results under strict embargo arrangements with the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). The embargo period allows universities and colleges to prepare and make decisions by the official publication dates of exam results.

    The SQA and JCQ results embargo periods for 2024 are:

    • 29 July at 18:00 (UK time) – 6 August at 09:00 (UK time)
    • 9 August at 14:00 (UK time) – 15 August at 08:00 (UK time

    UCAS systems do not update during the embargo  this can be a barrier for international applicants as many UK providers won't make Clearing decisions during the embargoes. It's always worth contacting providers if you have your results before the main results days on 6 and 15 August.

  3. Nominated access

    Applicants can give advisers nominated access to enable them to speak to UCAS on the applicant's behalf. This allows the adviser to discuss their application with us. 

    Please be aware that this must be a named person, not just the school. 

  4. Finance and accommodation

    Make sure that students have considered accommodation and financial arrangements when they're applying through Clearing.

    We have useful information on financial options for international students and ways to find accommodation.

  5. There are a huge range of great universities available

    It's useful to look outside the usual well-established universities. Lots of great institutions are out there and could be perfect for your students depending on their subject choice. 

The Clearing process

This simple process diagram shows how the Clearing process works for the applicant.
  1. Research vacancies

  2. Contact universities to discuss

  3. Student enters choice on their application

  4. University or college considers application

  5. Placed on course

  6. If unsuccessful, the student can start again.

Key terms to understand

Clearing For students who apply after 30 June or applicants who want to apply elsewhere to start their studies this year. Clearing vacancies are displayed in the UCAS search tool from 5 July. 
Clearing Plus Also for students who apply after 30 June, and those not holding an offer. We use their application information to match them to suggested courses. They can see these courses by clicking the ‘My matches’ button in their application. 
Decline my place For applicants who have changed their mind, ‘Decline my place’ enables them to add another choice to their application. The ‘Decline my place’ button will appear for eligible applicants. Applicants should secure a new place before using this service as it’s not reversible. 


Key statistics from Clearing 2023

Some key facts from last year's Clearing.
of providers had at least one course in Clearing.
Russell Group
of Russell Group providers had courses in Clearing.
courses in Clearing on JCQ results day 2022.
UK spread
All four countries of the UK had vacancies available.