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Clearing Hotline - 023 9284 8090

Everything you need to know about how Clearing works

You can use Clearing if any of the following apply to you:

  • You don't meet the conditions of your offer for your firm (first) or insurance (second) choice courses
  • Your exam results are better than you expected and you want to change your course / university
  • You don't hold any offers
  • You're applying for the first time after 30 June
  • You've accepted an offer but changed your mind about the course you want to do

Important dates

  • 30 June 2023 – any undergraduate application made through UCAS after 6.00pm on 30 June will automatically go into Clearing
  • 5 July 2023 – Clearing opens and you can apply if you already have your exam results
  • 17 August 2023 – A level and T level results day in the UK. Most Clearing applications are made on this day
  • 18 October 2023 – Last day applications can be made through Clearing. Some universities close Clearing before this date

Read our 9-step guide to applying through Clearing so you'll understand how it works and what you need to do when.

How to apply through Clearing

Applying through Clearing might seem complicated or overwhelming at first, but it's a simple process when you break it down into these steps:

Before Clearing opens

1. Prepare yourself

It's best to do this in the days or weeks before Clearing starts, even if you're confident about your exam results. Spend some time looking at universities and courses you might consider and have all the numbers and information you'll need on results day if your exam results aren't what you expected.

Our guide on preparing for Clearing tells you everything you'll need to know before you contact universities, including how to make a shortlist of courses and universities, what information you'll need to have to hand and what questions to ask when you get in touch.

Clearing can be stressful, but even spending a few minutes preparing yourself before you contact unis puts you in a great position. If you're feeling overwhelmed, see our guide on how to beat stress and anxiety during Clearing. You might also find our guide on how to help a friend if they don't get their grades helpful.

2. Check Clearing course vacancies regularly

Have a think about what other courses you might be interested in if you don't get the results you need for your first choice university, or if you think you might do better than expected. This will help you to act quickly on results day, because the most popular courses do fill up quickly.

Remember that the availability of courses changes rapidly in Clearing, so you need to keep an eye on the latest vacancies.

You can see all Clearing vacancies on the UCAS website and on university websites.

Explore our courses

3. Attend some open days

Most universities will be holding in-person undergraduate open days this summer. If you haven't yet had a chance to visit universities you're interested in person this is your chance. Pay some visits over the summer and you'll have a better idea of where you want to be in September.

We're holding several open days this summer and we're offering a contribution to offset your travel costs.

During Clearing (once you have your results)

1. Contact universities and get offers

As soon as you have your exam results after 5 July you can apply through Clearing. On A level / T level results day (17 August 2023) university phone lines and online application forms will open early and they will be busy. In many cases you'll also be able to talk to universities through their social media accounts, through chatbots and live chat and through WhatsApp.

It pays to do some research and to be prepared. For everything you'll need to be ready for your results day read our guide to preparing for Clearing.

You'll need to contact all the universities you're interested in directly to discuss your options. Once you have your offers you can then make your final decision using UCAS Hub (if you previously applied through UCAS).

You can also use UCAS Clearing Plus by going to the 'My matches' option in UCAS Hub and selecting the 'I'm interested button' for the courses you're interested in. This allows universities to contact you. But it might mean you miss out on popular courses if universities have already filled places via their phone lines or websites.

Transferring from another university

You can use Clearing to change university part-way through your course, but the process may be slightly different. For example, here at Portsmouth if you want to join us in the 2nd or 3rd year of a degree you'll need to complete a different application form and not the main Clearing form. The best thing to do is to contact the university you're interested in and ask them what their process is.

Getting an offer

If we make you an offer we'll confirm it by email and give you 24 hours to accept it.

We'll ask you to read through our Clearing terms and conditions before you accept an offer.

Starting in 2024 instead of 2023

If you want to take a year out before you start your course, we consider ‘deferred entry’ for some courses during Clearing.

We'll let you know if this option is available for your chosen course when you contact us.

Tips for contacting universities during Clearing

  • Find a quiet, comfortable space with good phone and web access, away from distractions
  • Have your address, phone number and email address to hand. You'll also need your qualifications and grades – including GCSE grades
  • Have your UCAS Personal ID with you, if you applied through UCAS (but don't worry if you don't have this on you)
  • Keep a list of questions to ask so you get the information you need to make the right choice
  • Have an idea of what to say to stand out, such as highlighting your qualities and experience
  • If you're thinking of studying a different course to your original application, let the advisor know what area you're interested in and why – they can talk about courses they offer
  • Keep a notepad nearby to jot down information about your conversations – write down the person's name and a summary of what you discussed including any deadlines for accepting an offer or getting back to them
  • Contact universities yourself – don't ask a parent, teacher or friend to call, unless you absolutely must
  • Be prepared for a telephone interview with a lecturer as some courses might require this
  • Don't give up if the first few universities on your shortlist don't offer you a place – stay positive and keep calling
  • If your first choice says no, give them another call, as entry requirements can change during Clearing
  • Don't forget to take breaks – get some fresh air and eat regularly to keep your energy levels up
  • Download and print our free Clearing help sheet (PDF) to list the contact details you'll need on the day

2. Accept an offer

Accepting an offer through UCAS

If you previously applied to university through UCAS, you can accept a Clearing offer in your UCAS Hub. Go to the ‘Your choices’ section of your application and click 'Add Clearing choice. Then enter the details of the course. Remember:

  • Only add a Clearing choice if you've been given an offer by a university
  • You can only accept one offer in UCAS Hub, so don't be too hasty in making your decision.

If you have any difficulty adding your Clearing choice in UCAS, or you've missed the deadline, let the university know as soon as possible.

Accepting an offer if you didn't apply through UCAS

If we offer you a place and you didn't apply through UCAS, follow the link in your email confirmation and complete our online Record of Prior Acceptance form to accept it.

Sending proof of qualifications

UCAS sends us results for most types of qualifications as soon as they're available, so you won't normally need to send us any proof if you previously applied through UCAS. We will eventually need to see your exam certificates.

We'll tell you if you do need to send us your results because you applied to us directly or UCAS can't send them to us.

After getting your place through Clearing


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1. Sort out your accommodation

Your next step after accepting an offer is to sort out where you're going to live. After all, it's only a matter of weeks until you start your course.

If you accept a place at Portsmouth our friendly student housing team will get in touch with you to help you sort out the right accommodation for you. Whether you decide to live in halls or in private rented accommodation we offer the same 24/7 welfare advice and support to all new students.

Clearing accommodation guide


2. Apply for your visa

If you're an EU or international student and you need a visa to study here you need to start the process quickly as visas can take some time to come through. Get in touch with our visa support team if you have a question or problem.

Guidance on getting visas

3. Update your student finance application

If you've already applied for your student loan, you'll need to log into your account and update details about your new course/university. If you haven't applied for your student loan yet, don't panic. Apply today – it only takes 30 minutes.

Your guide to student finance for clearing

4. Get ready for your arrival at uni

Once you've formally accepted your offer, sorted your accommodation and checked your student finance application, it's time to get ready for your arrival.

Our guide to joining the university lists everything you need to do before you get here.

International Clearing

We welcome applications from international students. If you already have your exam results you can apply from July 5 2022. Find out more about international clearing and how to apply.

 Advice for international students applying through Clearing
Read more

Undergraduate Open Days

Thinking about joining us as an undergrad? Book your spot at one of our upcoming Open Days.

Open Day - 2nd July 2022
Book now


Find an undergraduate or postgraduate degree course that suits you at Portsmouth.

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Find your course

Contact us about Clearing