If you have not met the conditions of a university to study law, or you’re applying for a higher education legal course late, you can apply through law clearing. See how to apply for law clearing and find a match to a university with law degree places yet to be filled.

What is University Clearing?

University clearing is the final stage of the UCAS application process and offers a second chance for university hopefuls who perhaps didn’t get the grades they wanted, or changed their mind about what they want to study, to enrol on a degree course.

If you did better than you expected in your A-Levels, then clearing is an opportunity to upgrade your university place through a process called adjustment.

Is There Clearing for Law?

Yes. A number of law schools enter into clearing, offering university hopefuls another opportunity to study a law degree if they don’t meet the conditions of their UCAS offers or they apply late. Clearing for law also helps universities to fill spaces on under-subscribed LLB courses. Discover more on what you need to know about clearing.

When to Apply for Law Courses Through Clearing

Law clearing takes place between July and October of the year that you receive your A-Level results. Clearing in 2022 is open until 18 October 2022, while clearing in 2023 opens on Wednesday, 5 July. It’s recommended that you apply for clearing as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

How to Apply to Study Law Through University Clearing

  • Apply through UCAS – To study law through clearing, you will need to apply to clearing universities through UCAS. You will need to use UCAS search tools to find law degree courses. This is the only official vacancy list, so all course information will be the most up-to-date.
  • Check regularly – If you can’t find a law course immediately, keep checking the UCAS website because law schools update their course information regularly. Once you have found a course, check the details. See what law modules it includes, how it’s structured, and the entry requirements.
  • Contact universities – Before adding a law clearing choice to your UCAS application, you should call the law school for which you want to apply and provide them with your clearing number – found on your UCAS application – and your personal ID, so that they can check your details.
  • Get informal offers – When contacting the university, ask the admissions team if they would accept you as they might reconsider you, even if you applied to them earlier in the year. Alternatively, get informal offers from a variety of universities and then decide which one to accept.
  • Visit campuses/attend clearing open days – Visit university campuses or attend clearing open days to get an idea of what to expect when studying law there and their culture.

Once you have decided on a clearing university, you will need permission to add them as your clearing choice to your UCAS application as follows:

  • Login to your UCAS account and click ‘Add Clearing Choice’. Fill in the course details by the date that the university specified when you contacted them to provide your clearing number.
  • Once you add a university as your clearing choice, this is taken as definitely accepting an offer. If the university accepts your application, it will show up as an acceptance on the ‘Choices’ page in your application.
  • Only one law clearing choice can be added at a time. If the university that you applied to does not confirm your place on a law degree course, you can add another choice. You can track every application that you make.
  • If you are accepted, you will need to arrange accommodation and get everything ready to start your studies.

Can UCAS be Bypassed to Apply for Law Clearing Courses?

Yes. However, you should be mindful that most universities don’t allow direct applications for law clearing courses – only some do.

The process of bypassing UCAS during clearing is referred to as the ‘record of prior acceptance’. This means that if you are accepted onto a clearing course from a direct application, your chosen university will notify UCAS on your behalf.

To apply directly through the record of prior acceptance route, you will need to contact your chosen university’s admissions team and ask about their direct application process. You will need to tell them your grades, provide information about any work experience or extracurricular activities, and you may have to submit a personal statement.

How Many Applications Can I Make Without UCAS?

If you do find a university that accepts direct applications for law clearing, be aware that it will be the only university you can apply to. This dramatically reduces your options and your chances of getting a place on a law degree course. You have to be absolutely sure that the university you apply to is the one you want to go to.

Which Law Schools Offer Clearing Places?

Clearing for law courses is available at certain universities, but is subject to demand. The competition for law degree places is fierce, which means that not many universities offer clearing spaces on undergraduate law courses because vacancies fill fast.

For each academic year, you can find a complete list of law schools offering clearing courses using the UCAS search tool.

What If I Can’t Get A University Place Through Law Clearing?

If you are unable to secure a place on a law degree course through clearing, it’s an opportunity to take a year out, refocus and ensure you get a place next year. A gap year can help you to assess your options, strengthen your university application, do further study and get some legal work experience.

Alternatively, if you still want to study this year, some non-law courses may have lower demand. You can still secure a university degree and then study a law conversion course. If you choose to go through clearing for a non-law course, don’t worry! This won’t prevent you from pursuing a legal career – you can pursue the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) without a law degree, and you can bolster your legal knowledge with the PGDL course after your undergraduate degree.

If you plan to reapply to the same universities next year, make sure you check that they will accept reapplications before applying again.

For inspiration on applying for law clearing, read the story of Lawyer Portal contributor and Ambassador, Ali Chaudry – a tutor in law at the prestigious Royal Holloway, University of London – who had to go through university clearing.

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