Sponsored feature, words by Fay Millar

If you find yourself in Clearing it can be unsettling having to change your plans so close to the start of university.

But have a little faith that things can turn out just fine, or even better than you originally thought. Just ask Arthur Kaddu.

Arthur had already realised he might have chosen the wrong universities originally, plus when A-Level results day rolled around he didn’t quite make the grades he wanted.

This, coupled with an open day visit to the University of Bolton convinced him to follow his heart and apply there instead through Clearing.

Six years on, Arthur has not only graduated with a BA (Hons) in art and design, he also spent two years as student president, has recently started working for Bolton Uni’s Student Experience Team and will begin a Master's in September followed by a PhD next year. Eventually he hopes to become a university vice-chancellor.

Here are Arthur’s top tips to make Clearing work for you:

Make the Most of Clearing

Clearing isn’t just for people who have missed their grades, students enter Clearing for a whole range of reasons but it can lead to you finding your dream course. Don’t be afraid to enter Clearing, it could lead to a course you really want at a university where you feel completely at home.

Arthur says: "Although it was disappointing not to get the results I hoped for, I had already decided I might be better studying Art and Design. By applying through Clearing on results day, I secured a place at the University of Bolton where I had really wanted to study.

“I had spoken to a few people previously and they didn’t give much of a positive vibe regarding Clearing. People have a negative perception of Clearing but it certainly wasn't a bad thing for me. I went with my gut instinct and didn’t regret it.

“Clearing can still lead to a high quality degree at a top university. I wouldn't change my experience with clearing at all. Right from the start I was treated as if I had applied the normal way. It is no different and I didn’t feel isolated in any way.”

Have someone with you

With his parents away on holiday, Arthur faced a short but nervous wait for confirmation of his place. Make sure you have someone with you offering support, a shoulder to cry on, chew over ideas or celebrate with.

"I would suggest any students who find themselves going through Clearing to have someone with them, for advice and support. Although it only took a phone call to UCAS and then to University of Bolton, it is a little nerve-wracking waiting for the confirmation email.

“My parents were in Jamaica at the time and I was panicking a bit. They were skyping me but with the time difference it was a bit stressful.

“Have a friend or family member with you because you will need that support because it can lead to stress and even anxiety while you are still waiting.”

Have a plan and be organised

It isn't just a back-up option. If you change your mind about what to study or where between applying and results, Clearing is a chance to do what you really want to do. But make sure you are organised for the Clearing process and beyond.

Arthur says: “You have to be open to different ideas and different courses. You have to be ready and open to change. They might say, okay so you don’t have the grades for biology but we can offer you psychology, for example. Be ready with your results, have the certificates and your personal statement on hand. Be ready because they will ask you a lot of questions.

“Once you have a place start looking at the requirements of your course and materials you need. Make sure you know who your personal tutor is and find the right support for you. Sort out accommodation, get to know the campus. Get to know everyone who will be able to support you during your time at university and particularly, any difficult times.”

Thinking of going through Clearing? Check out Bolton Uni’s clearing pages for lots of up-to-date advice on the latest courses available or call the hotline on 01204 903394

More on TSR:

Your guide to A-level results day

More information about A-level results day

Help and advice about Clearing and Adjustment