Results day can be daunting, especially when things don’t go to plan during exams. After I didn’t get the grades for either of my top choices, I thought I’d missed my chance to go to University, let alone a Russell Group uni. How wrong I was! Here’s my clearing experience and how I ended up at York:
Before Results Day…
In the days before results day, I was convinced I’d done so badly in exams that I wouldn’t even be able to go through clearing. Like everyone, I’d had good subjects and weaker ones in sixth form, but I knew some exams hadn’t gone my way. Rather than starting to look at clearing places, I ended up sticking my head in the sand and just waiting to see what happened. So by the time results day came around, I was pretty resigned to having to retake all my exams, which I didn’t really fancy!
The Morning of…
The first thing I did on the morning of results day was open UCAS Track to see whether I’d got my firm choice uni. It confirmed I’d missed the grades and that I could now begin the clearing process. I was filled with anxiety, and waiting to go into my sixth form to collect my results was excruciating.
My results weren’t as bad as I’d thought they’d be. I still wanted to go to uni, so I began the clearing process.
The Afternoon of…
Choosing a couse
With results in hand, I began looking on the UCAS Clearing Search Tool for courses like mine. I’d originally applied to do anthropology, which York doesn’t offer, so I’d never considered the uni before. However, once I’d looked at all the anthropology courses, my tutors encouraged me to look at similar courses in case I found something I liked even more. That’s how I ended up looking at social and political sciences (SPS) courses. They covered all my favourite subjects at sixth form and offered lots of variation in module choice!
On the phone
Having made a shortlist of a few different courses at a variety of universities, the next step was to start calling them up. Each university has a ‘clearing line’. Upon calling it, I had to:
- introduce myself
- ask whether they still had spaces on a particular course
- present my UCAS ID
- talk about what grades I’d got, including my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) I’d done the year before (which helped me get my place!).
The people I spoke to were all really nice and I didn’t feel judged at all. There are loads of reasons why people end up going through clearing, and once you start at uni, no one cares!
I got a few rejections, but also some verbal offers. Once I’d got the offer from York, though, I knew that there was nowhere else I wanted to go. The course looked really interesting, I was able to defer my place like I’d originally planned, and the people I’d spoken to in the SPS department were so lovely. Plus, York is a Russell Group Uni with a good ranking for my course, which really sold it for me!
I put my verbal offer into UCAS, and waited for York to confirm it, which didn’t take very long. I was able to relax after that – I wasn’t going to have to retake exams, I could still take a gap year, and I was going to a uni I’d heard lots of good things about!
After Results Day…
It took until the day after Results Day for everything to be properly confirmed, but I was already celebrating by then. After that, all I had to do was set up a uni account and send some documents across. Selecting accommodation and sorting out finance came later. I did get a chance to go and visit York, and loved it, which just confirmed that I’d made the right decision. I also read some of the uni’s student blogs, which made me feel better about starting uni in an unfamiliar place!
And that’s all there was to it.
I started results day feeling very pessimistic about my future. But by the end of it, things were looking much brighter. And now, I couldn’t be happier at York. I love my course, I’ve made some great friends, and York itself is now one of my favourite places.
Looking back, I can see now that missing my grades was one of the best things that could have happened. It certainly wasn’t the disaster I’d thought. I would never have discovered my course or York without clearing.
Clearing can be stressful, but the process is simple and there is lots of support available. Persevere and you’re bound to come across a great opportunity to study your passion!
Read more student stories about clearing.