How to cope with Clearing 2018

University decision

What's it really like to find a university place through Clearing? We asked four students to share their experience

Although the media would have you believe this 'last-minute scramble for places' is a complete free-for-all, the reality is that tens of thousands of students find their uni place through UCAS Clearing every year. 

With a little preparation and the right mindset, you can take advantage of the many options available to make the right choice for your future. Why not use our handy email alert tool so you can be one of the first to hear about uni course spaces?

Many TSR members go through university Clearing every year. We've brought together four members of our forums who found a university place through Clearing last year to share their experience, and reveal where they are now.


Student on phone

How did you find your experience of Clearing?

"I didn't find the process of finding universities with spaces in appropriate courses very stressful at all; there's a specific page on UCAS showing you all the unis you can call, which helped a lot. But I did find the actual process of calling the unis extremely stressful, as I was constantly worried that they would reject me." - Xofia 

"Quite easy. There were lots of options and the people on the phone were always friendly. Even when I did have the grades for some unis they were kind and gave me options like foundation years and call back later as the entry requirements might drop to fill up space." - Ambsey  

"Just fine. ARU offered me a place through Clearing immediately. However, later I was phoning up other institutions which were unwelcoming, and some replied with scorn to my A-Level grades from several years ago..." - DharmaKitty

"Clearing was a great opportunity - within a few hours, I had landed a place at a fairly prestigious uni. The process itself was stressful and involved about 4 hours on the phone... However, it was worth it in the end as I had 6 offers from all Russell Group unis." - j5994


Students researching clearing

How helpful were the universities you contacted?

"I contacted nine universities and seven of them were extremely unhelpful, telling me an immediate 'no' without giving me any other information. Luckily Sussex Uni were much better; they assured me that by passing their psychology foundation year - the entry level is CCC and a pass is an average of 40% - I would be guaranteed a place in their AAB Psychology BSc course.

"This was extremely helpful as I'd only managed to get BBC in my exams, so a foundation year seemed to be my only option for going straight to uni without have to take a gap year or settling for a uni I definitely didn't want to go to." - Xofia 

"Very! They were really friendly. They put me through to course leaders so I could ask any questions I had, and gave me other options of how to get into the course (e.g. foundation years, or to try calling the next day.)" - Ambsey 

"Very helpful - they were easy to speak to and reassuring" - SHUGURU 


Students at uni

How happy are you with the place you got through Clearing?

"I'm extremely happy with the place I got. Not only did I end up living in Brighton, which I love, but the course I'm not going onto study in September after my foundation year is in the top 20 in the UK and higher than some unis I'd originally applied to through UCAS." - Xofia 

"I was initially happy with my place at uni; it was the uni and course I put as one of my five choices but didn't firm/insurance it. I'm changing to a different university for my second year though." - Ambsey 

What advice would you give to someone going through Clearing this year?

"Do the research before hand of the deadline and what you need to do. Don't be scared to call unis with higher entry requirements, because they might still accept you. Give yourself a good few options so you can think about where you'd rather go. Don't rush to pick one! Think about it, do the research, go to an open day if you can and read the modules listed online." - Ambsey

"Don't be stressed and don't panic. Universities are there to help you to get a place with them through clearing and it's not as daunting as it seems" - SHUGURU

"My mistake was that I failed to research the course content and partially based my decision on proximity to my girlfriend at the time. As a result, I ended up dropping out, resitting and applying for a new course. Another issue is accommodation, as since you are a last minute applicant they will most likely put you in the most under-subscribed accommodation. Overall I do truly believe it is an incredible opportunity and there are some pretty decent courses (bar medicine) available, just make sure that you do your research before signing yourself away!" - j5994

"Be positive!"cailin1998

Have you been through Clearing? What was your experience like?

More on TSR

Your guide to A-level results day

More information about A-level results day

Help and advice about Clearing and Adjustment


More about Clearing from our sponsor, Birmingham City University

Birmingham City University Birmingham City University

What is Clearing? What if I don’t get my results? How do I stop worrying? Results day is stressful. We get it. That’s why we're here to help.

We've spoken with our staff and students to give you some of the best advice around. Head over to our Clearing hub to find out more.

Visit the BCU Clearing hub

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