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Going through Clearing? Consider the top cities

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If things haven't gone quite the way you'd hoped this A-Level Results Day, all is not lost. Going through Clearing is a great way to find alternative universities and courses to consider.

And luckily, there's a lot of availability this year.

We know this might be your Plan B, and searching for brand-new courses at the last minute can be overwhelming.

Don't panic.

We're breaking down the top cities with courses available in Clearing, and how much it will cost on average to live in these locations. Use our insights to help guide your Clearing search if you don't know where to start.

The top 3 cities with Clearing courses available

In 2023, based on UCAS data, the cities in the UK which are offering the most courses through Clearing are:

  • Liverpool - with 2051 courses available
  • Glasgow - with 1051 courses available
  • London - with 1034 courses available

These statistics could be explained by the number of universities in each of these three cities. Both Liverpool and Glasgow have five different universities within each city. London has around forty higher education institutions, many of which are part of the University of London. If you choose to look at the Clearing options available in these three cities, you'll have a lot of choice in terms of both course and university.

[Source: UCAS & StuRents]

Remember how we said you still have a lot of options? As you can see from our graph, there are also lots of other cities offering hundreds of courses through Clearing, including:

Why not explore some of the Clearing courses available at universities in these locations?

How much will my accommodation cost after Clearing?

Before you accept a course through Clearing, you should consider where you're going to live while you study. Check that the accommodation available at this last-minute stage is still within your budget before you commit.

A lot of universities will retain accommodation places in their halls for students who are accepted through Clearing, so it's always good to check with them first. You can ask about accommodation while you're on your Clearing call. Many universities will also have a dedicated team for housing, so you can look to contact them afterwards if you have any issues. We know what an important factor accommodation is when choosing the university you'll attend, so make sure to consider it carefully.

"Accommodation is the third largest driver when students are choosing their university course as it plays a fundamental part of their university experience. We have a responsibility to support these students during this time to make the right choice for them, whilst having appropriate and accessible accommodation options available to them." - Oliver Wells, Customer Success Director, UCAS

However, if you can't get a place in halls (or you don't want to live in university-owned accommodation), there are lots of private rental options available to you. You could consider a studio room in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). This will be fairly similar to university halls: you'll have an individual room in an apartment or accommodation block that only houses students. Alternatively, you could consider a room in a shared student house (known as a house in multiple occupation, or HMO). There will be a lot of other students in your situation, so it should be easy to find housemates via university housing Facebook groups. HMOs tend to be cheaper than PBSA, so if your budget is tight, it might be best to consider shared housing.

But how much will it actually cost?

We've examined data collected from our platform, StuRents.com, to gain insights into the cost of accommodation in the cities with the most courses available through Clearing. Across these top cities, accommodation ranges from £69 per person, per week to £350 per person, per week. How much you pay will depend heavily on both the city and the type of accommodation you choose to live in.

The cheapest accommodation in Clearing

The average price of HMOs in Aberdeen, Preston, Newcastle, and Cardiff is below £100 per person, per week. Aberdeen has the cheapest HMOs available, with an average cost of £69 per person, per week. If you're looking for the cheapest possible university accommodation, consider exploring the Clearing courses available from the universities in these cities first.

If you'd prefer to live in PBSA, but still need to prioritise affordable accommodation, take a look at the Clearing courses available in Preston, Liverpool, and Aberdeen. The average cost of PBSA in these cities is under £150 per week, with PBSA in Preston averaging at £113 per week.

The most expensive accommodation in Clearing

It will probably come as no surprise to you that, on average, London has the most expensive accommodation in terms of both HMOs and PBSA. The average cost of an HMO in London is £186 per person, per week, while the average cost of PBSA is £350 per person, per week. The cost of living also tends to be higher in London. While London universities offer a lot of courses through Clearing, you should definitely consider whether your budget can cover this before you pursue a course at a London university through Clearing.

Key takeaways

  • Liverpool has both the highest number of courses available through Clearing (2051) and some of the cheapest accommodation options on the market, particularly when it comes to PBSA (£139pppw)
  • Liverpool, Glasgow, and London have the most places available through Clearing
  • On average, Aberdeen has the cheapest HMOs available out of the cities with the most Clearing courses available
  • On average, Preston has the cheapest PBSA available out of the cities with the most Clearing courses available

Need more guidance?

We hope this data helps to guide your Clearing experience. If you need more advice, you can check out our blogs on how to navigate Clearing calls and how to apply for accommodation after Clearing. Clearing changes all the time, so continue to check on ucas.com.

Remember, Clearing is just the beginning of your entire university experience. The best is yet to come!

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