Almost 18,000 university places have now been snapped up through clearing, updated figures have shown.
New data published by Ucas reveals that record numbers of applicants have had their university places confirmed.
But many more are still eligible for clearing, with vacancies filling up fast.
In total, 17,878 students have secured a place through clearing, 4,281 more than at this point last year.
Some 189,267 people are eligible for clearing because they have had no offers, failed to make their grades or applied too late.
According to Ucas, figures from the start of clearing last week showed there were around 29,000 degree courses with vacancies.
And universities minister David Willetts suggested last week that there will be 40,000 or more places in clearing this year.
This could mean that potentially almost five students are still competing for each clearing place.
The latest snapshot shows that a total of 425,487 students have now had their university or college place confirmed - a massive 10,416 more than at this point last year.
Some 61,737 applicants are waiting to see if they have been accepted because they have just missed their grades, are waiting to hear from their university, are still waiting for results or are appealing over their grades.