What is it like going through UCAS clearing? Students share their experiences

What is it like going through UCAS clearing? Students share their experiences

It can sometimes feel like a very uncertain world if you end up in Clearing. But advice from those who have been through it (and, better still, made a huge success of it) can make a big difference.

Success stories who came through Clearing from the University of Bedfordshire alone include an ITV broadcaster and an Emmy-award winning senior casting director at Walt Disney. So all is not lost if things don’t end up going the way you expected.

Theresa Akinyeme, 19, is studying nursing and went through Clearing to get her place at Bedfordshire. She had to resit a few GCSEs and get her results for those before she could apply for university.

Becky Jago, now a presenter for ITV Anglia, went through Clearing after she didn’t get a place on any dancing or performing courses she had applied for.

Richard Sackey-Addo, who works for the International Tennis Federation in Spain and graduated in 2014, was originally looking for a physiotherapy degree but switched to sport and exercise science in Clearing when he didn’t get the A-level results he expected.

Here’s what they all thought about the process:

How did you end up going through Clearing?

Theresa says: “I got declined from all five of the choices I had submitted to UCAS and I heard about this process through my careers adviser after I had gone through the UCAS Extra process. (You’re eligible for Extra if you’ve used all five choices in your application and you’re not holding any offers. This means that all your choices must be either unsuccessful, you’ve declined any offers or cancelled any choices you have not received decisions for).”

Becky adds: “I was devastated when I didn’t get a place on any of the courses I had applied for once I got my results. I was feeling very sorry for myself and didn’t know what to do next but a teacher recommended a new course at Bedfordshire which covered all aspects of media performance.”

What were your biggest fears about Clearing and what questions did you ask?

Theresa says: “I was just really worried that I wouldn’t get on the course that I wanted so I really wanted to know whether it would affect my place at uni and whether the uni would know I had come through Clearing.”

Richard says: “I spoke to a really helpful member of the admissions team over the phone. That conversation confirmed that the content of the course and how it was taught was exactly what I was looking for, so I applied.”

How was results day and are you happy with the way things turned out?

Theresa says: “I was really happy on results day because I got all the results I needed and I was so pleased I got into uni. I had always wanted to do nursing – I have a lot of family who work in the medical profession and it certainly inspired me.”

Becky adds: “I loved the way it turned out, the course was fantastic. Because every aspect of media was covered in the course, I had the chance to try out lots of different things and find a niche, which is what I think going to university is all about.”

What would you say to anyone going through Clearing?

Theresa says: “I was really panicky going through Clearing. I had my BTEC results and they were fine but I needed to make sure I had my GCSE science and those results didn’t come out until the following week so I had to wait a week. But as soon as I could I called up the universities and got a place doing what I wanted at Bedfordshire – the process itself was straightforward and it was total relief when I got my place.

“If you do find yourself in Clearing make sure you have all your information to hand before you call. Make sure you do your research and stay positive, it will work out.”

Becky agrees: “For anyone who is facing going through Clearing, I want to say that you will get to where you want to go if you keep pushing. Just take a deep breath and keep trying.”

So, how exactly does Clearing work?

  • Keep an eye on UCAS Track on results day. You will go into Clearing if you don’t get the results you need and don’t get any confirmed offers from your firm or insurance university. You’ll also be able to go into Clearing if you have rejected all offers or if you never received any offers.
  • On results day you should log into UCAS Track. Even if you didn’t quite get the results you need you may still have a place. If you don’t get either uni, UCAS Track will show your status as being in Clearing. You can then search through UCAS’s Clearing vacancies and contact universities directly.
  • If you find a course you like, you simply need to pick up the phone, call the Clearing helpline and speak to someone who knows exactly how to help you at the university you’re interested in – nothing at all to worry about. Before you make the call, be ready – you’ll need your latest results and your GCSE results too. Obviously you’ll have to chat about the course you’re trying to get onto so be clued up and passionate. Highlight the strongest points from your personal statement in case any nerves make you tongue-tied.
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date email address as most unis want to send offers this way.
  • And don’t forget to accept your offer! Log in to UCAS Track to do this.

So, in a nutshell, the message is clear – don’t stress, Clearing could be the best thing that ever happens to you!

For more advice on Clearing visit TSR’s Clearing Hub or visit the University of Bedfordshire Clearing website or call 0300 3300 073

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More information about A-level results day

Help and advice about Clearing and Adjustment