16 Hours of Clearing

If, like me, you believed you were destined to go into Clearing before you even laid eyes on your results, then you will probably believe that it will be the worst thing anyone has gone through ever. Whilst not being the single greatest moment of your life. The truth is that clearing is nowhere near as bad as you probably believe it will be. Most will end their experience of it mere hours after it had begun. To go through the clearing process, I have boiled clearing down to the 16 hours in which it was front and centre of my life.

The night before

This was the worst night of my life. I’m a pessimist and therefore thought that the worst was going to happen. Even when everyone told me that it would be fine, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the worse case scenario was going to occur. This is normal to feel. The only thing that can help with this is to plan. This is something that is very important to do. Set out for all possible scenarios: likely university courses that you could get on at different result levels.

The morning of the result

I woke up just before the results came out and logged onto UCAS as soon as possible. My fears were confirmed, I had missed the grade requirements for both of my universities. All that I could do for the next two hours was to wait until I could go to my school to see exactly what my results were.

Once I got there I found my results to be nowhere near as bad as I thought they were going to be (I had nightmares of Es and Us in my head). From there I knew what I was dealing with. I could go and look at the courses I had listed in the days before to see if they were on Clearing and what grades they were asking for.

Another key piece of advice is to go for courses slightly above the results you have got. Depending on the interview you could find yourself getting in. This is exactly what happened with me and with The University of York.

The afternoon

My place was verbally confirmed to me by late morning. A few phone calls from other universities had to be ignored but I was able to relax and look forward to my place at York. Selecting accommodation, setting up accounts and sending documentation all came in later days. So, if you get a chance once you have the verbal offer you want, relax.

Calling the universities

This is a nerve wrecking experience and something that seems daunting if you haven’t done it before. However, there isn’t much there to fear. The only question asked to me by the University of York was “Why do you want to study PPE?”. Whilst you may be asked more questions, it is highly unlikely that they will ask something out of the blue. Try to remain calm and collected, and then you will have no problems with this.

Why The University of York?

York was one of my more favoured universities before I started applying. The reason for this is that there are several unique advantages of studying at York.


The first one for me is that it is close to home. If cheap train fares home is something that you would like, and you live in Yorkshire, then York is a great choice.


The campus is away from the city centre and set over two distinct campuses. The advantage of this is that during term days it is relaxed and calm. Compared to York city centre which is usually bustling with tourists. This makes the commute between classes more relaxing and the atmosphere seem more serene.


When you venture off campus, you’ll find York to be one of the best cities in the UK. It was recently voted the best city to live in the UK and with good reason. It has 365 bars, all different and most brilliant. Plenty of festivals and events throughout the year and many other things to see, do and explore. The people greet you with the typical, friendly Yorkshire welcome. Should you ever find yourself looking to leave the city, Leeds is just 20 minutes away, 1 hour to Newcastle and 2 hours to London by train.


The reputation of the University is also brilliant and this leads to top employers coming to the University regularly.

Top tips for clearing

The most important things to remember if you find yourself in clearing are:

  • Keep calm: no, it really isn’t the end of the world
  • Make sure a plan: look at the different universities you would be happy to go to
  • Aim high: reach slightly higher than your results, remember that the universities want to fill their spare places
  • Stay positive: it could always be better. This is what I wished I had known. Looking back I realise that I’m on a course I love in a university and city I love which might not have happened if I had got my original choice. If you go into university thinking negatively and thinking about what you missed, your university experience will be infinitely worse.

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I’m Alex and I’m a 2nd Year Politics and Philosophy student. Before coming to York, I had heard how great university life was meant to be, but I never had expected it to be as fun as it has been.