Are you looking to get into your dream school in the UK? Now is your chance with this year’s clearing that’s expected to open a record number of slots. This year is the best time to secure a spot in a UK university because of two reasons. 

For one, there’s a significant dip in the UK demographic in the past years as the number of 18 year-olds decreased by around 5% (or around 43,000). University recruitment numbers are thrown off as there are more slots available. Second, it’s predicted that the number of EU international students would decrease following Brexit. 

What is the Clearing?

Last year, around 66,000 students used clearing to get into universities, but what is the clearing exactly? Well, it’s an opportunity for students, both locally and internationally, to make last-minute applications to universities with vacancies. It’s the perfect way to get into a university if you didn’t receive an offer or have not accepted any programs yet.

To use clearing, you should first register to UCAS and pay the £24 application fee in full. Clearing will be open from July 5 to October 23. However, international students should do this as early as possible to get the necessary visas and proficiency tests out of the way.

The next step is to do your research and start contacting universities. Openings would be listed in the UCAS website, but a lot of universities publicize their open slots, too. Discuss and ready the requirements asked.

Once you’re offered a slot, give them your Personal ID number, and you’ll be able to add them to your Clearing choice. Note that these offers would only be available for a day. Also, you can only accept a Clearing choice one at a time, so make sure you’ve considered all your options.

Universities Looking for Students

The number of vacant slots are expected to reach up to 80,000 this year. Even the most in-demand universities and programs still have slots open. The Guardian notes that even Cambridge is included in this year’s clearing. Even if you were given an offer, it’s worth checking out this year’s clearing as you might find even better universities.

“There will be lots of availability in clearing, even on very selective courses at Russell Group institutions, though I do think those top courses will go quite quickly,” says Mary Curnock-Cook, former chief executive of UCAS. “It’s more like universities scrambling for applicants than applicants for places, so applicants can afford to be quite choosy.”

The Independent found that the ones with the most slots are the University of Liverpool with 919 and the University of Southampton with 372. Included in the clearing are highly competitive and challenging programs like engineering, law, physics, and languages.

Some universities are even becoming more lenient with their requirements in order to encourage more applicants.

“Most universities would rather lower their grades and fill the places rather than admit lack of demand,” says Richard Harvey, academic director of admissions at the University of East Anglia.


The events in the past decade created an ideal environment for international students. Students have the luxury to be more selective and explore their options.