Results day can bring about a number of scenarios so it’s best to prepare for clearing. The night before my results day, I watched lots of advice videos on YouTube and I’m so glad I did. By noting down the worst- and best-case grade scenarios, I could then search for alternative universities.
My experience of clearing
I found all the universities that offered my course whilst sticking mainly to the Russell Groups. This was fairly easy to do as I had selected a niche degree, Physics with Philosophy. I looked at the department, course modules, league table positions, city life and of course, what grades they needed from me. From this, I ranked them and prepared to take this with me into sixth form the next day.
A second chance
As you may have guessed, I did not get into my first choice of university. But this blow was softened when I found out that I got into my insurance. However, my gut feeling was telling me that I did not want to go to that university. Similarly to my first choice, my insurance was a Russell Group university. However, it was in a city that I had never visited and I wanted to experience what it was like. After some deliberation and talking to my teachers, family members and friends, I decided that the University of York was the best place for me to go.
When I called up York, I spoke to someone lovely who asked me ‘why do you want to come to York’. I explained why and secured my place, there and then which was a very happy moment for me. Now, I write this as a third-year student who is about to graduate and I’ll never forget my time here.
The positive opportunities that clearing can offer you
- A choice
Above all the other positives, clearing gave me a choice. It allowed me to have an option when my insurance choice didn’t, it was no longer right for me at that moment. Results day is naturally stressful, so knowing I could prepare for clearing if things didn’t go to plan, made me feel somewhat at ease.
- An immediate course of action
When you open UCAS and discover you didn’t get into your first choice, it can be a crushing feeling. However, clearing helps you work through that feeling by giving you something practical to do to rectify the situation. When I discovered I had missed out on my top choice and didn’t want to go to my insurance anymore, my list of alternatives was a solution. It stopped me from being fixated on what had gone wrong and gave me back some control.
- A second chance
Sometimes we don’t get into our first choice or insurance and that is okay. But if we decide that we still want to go to university, clearing is great. We are not failures because we may have missed our grades and clearing shows us that in practical terms, by saying ‘Look, you still have options!’. Results day can feel like a day where your personal failures are amplified, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You are still worthy of a choice, even if your exams didn’t go so well.
Everything happens for a reason
If you prepare for clearing, you can still attend attend a brilliant university, like I have. I am so glad this happened to me because I have really enjoyed my time at the University of York. Clearing does not have to be scary or have to make you feel like you’re not good enough. Instead, it should be seen as a way in which you are taking control of your education, where the results could be so much better than you first imagined.
Read more student blogs about clearing.