What is Clearing?

student applying online

What even is Clearing?

We’ve got a confession to make… We don’t know why university Clearing is called Clearing. If Essex wrote the dictionary it would just be called “your last chance to choose a university place for this year”.

In a nutshell, Clearing is simply the process of universities filling available spaces. So if you’re looking to start with us this October and you don’t already have a place, you can apply once Clearing opens.

So why enter via Clearing?

Well, there’s no simple answer to this. Everyone has their own individual Clearing journey but generally speaking there are four routes into Clearing:

  1.  You didn’t get the grades you’d hoped for. If on results day you open your results and you’re faced with lower grades than expected, don’t panic. If you haven’t met the required grades to have your place confirmed by your Firm or Insurance choices, Clearing is for you.
  2. You got better grades than you’d hoped for. Picture the scene – come results day you open your results and find out that you absolutely smashed it and exceeded your expectations, so now you want to upgrade your university place.
  3. You wanted to get your results before making any applications. Patience is a virtue, right? You wanted to wait to get your grades before choosing where to apply.
  4. You just changed your mind. Better grades, worse grades, exactly what you were expecting grades. Maybe you just want to change your mind. You may want to do a different course, study somewhere else, or perhaps you never thought university was for you but now you want to give it a shot.

Each year thousands of applicants find their university places through Clearing. We’ve even shared some of our current students’ Clearing stories so hopefully you’ll realise you’re not alone.

Why choose Essex in Clearing?

As a first year student, you're guaranteed University accommodation
You'll join a truly international community of students from over 130 countries
You can study abroad for a year of your course!
We're top 30 in the UK (Complete University Guide 2022)
Essex Abroad World Map
Colchester Campus squares busy on market day
female student working on laptop with coffee
Your Clearing questions answered

Feeling confused? Got a question about how you apply through Clearing, or what will happen if you don't get the grades you were expecting? Check out our most frequently asked questions which should put your mind at ease.

See our Clearing FAQs

Listen to our Clearing podcast

Our Marketing and Student Recruitment team talk about how Results Day works, what it means to go through 'Clearing' and how the University of Essex can support you.