• What is university clearing like: Students share their experiences

TSR Wiki > University > Applying to University > University Clearing

Do you think you might be going through Clearing in 2013? If so, now's the time to get yourself prepared.

Clearing doesn't have to be daunting - a bit of preparation time now can help ensure you make the most of the thousands of unfilled uni and college places that are available after A-level results day. In 2012, more than 12% of all university places were filled by students using the Clearing process.

Below are some stories from members of The Student Room who went through Clearing in 2012, along with their tips and advice on how to handle Clearing if you're going through it this year.

If you've been through Clearing yourself, please feel free to edit this page and add in your own experiences.


Matt

Were you expecting to go through Clearing?

No

How did you find the Clearing process?

A little difficult and it took a lot of time to do. Quite a few of the phone lines were unhelpful and unclear on what I had to do. Track took ages to update too.

How easy or difficult was it to find a course and uni you liked in Clearing?

Not too bad, there were still a few I liked the look of and it was just a quick phone call to see if places were still available.

Before you started the course and uni you chose through Clearing, how did you feel about it?

Slightly nervous and a little bit sad about what might have been.

One year on – are you glad that you went through Clearing?

Yes, I'm not sure I could have coped with a year out and I'm really enjoying my time at the uni and on the course that I picked.

What did you find most helpful during your experience of Clearing?

The teachers I had who were willing to help me through it, couldn't thank them enough. A lot of the guys on this forum were really supportive too.

What advice would you give to students who find themselves in Clearing this year?

Don't panic. You'll most likely feel disappointed, that's normal. Just try and pick yourself up and get looking through the paper. Don't feel forced to go through it if you don't feel there's anything for you, but you can get some really good choices you might not have given a thought to through Track.


James

Were you expecting to go through Clearing?

I knew it was a possibility.

How did you find the Clearing process?

It was really good, possibly the easiest and one of the quickest (~10 minutes) phone calls of my life.

How easy or difficult was it to find a course and uni you liked in Clearing?

Quite easy; some made it painfully obvious that they had Clearing spaces and showed which courses were available through Clearing by keeping their website up-to-date and making large banners, etc. Personally I applied and got into to the institution which would have been my first choice, although ironically I thought the grade requirements were too high so didn't firm or insurance it.

Before you started the course and uni you chose through Clearing, how did you feel about it?

Confident as I'd been to the open day before clearing.

One year on – are you glad that you went through Clearing?

Incredibly. If I hadn't gone through Clearing I may not have gone to uni at all.

What advice would you give to students who find themselves in Clearing this year?

If you think you might not do as well you think, prepare yourself; the couple of days before results day look for unis that you are interested in, write them down and the course codes as well as the entry requirements and the clearing/contact phone number. Try to put them in some order of preference, that way when you get your results you can immediately call them up and get ahead of those who haven't prepared; remember, Clearing is first come first served so you don't have time to hang about.


Abigail

Were you expecting to go through Clearing?

No. But I knew it was a strong possibility, considering how much I struggled through A2s and had pinned my hopes on one university, with no insurance choice...

How did you find the Clearing process?

Tiring/exhausting. And slightly silly, considering the uni I phoned up through clearing and got a place at had already rejected me once through UCAS. Which kind of made the whole UCAS application process redundant..

How easy or difficult was it to find a course and uni you liked in Clearing?

I had already applied to the university and been rejected, been to the open day and also knew about the course I wanted to do, so if I was going to phone anyone up it would be this university.

Before you started the course and uni you chose through Clearing, how did you feel about it?

I was actually more excited for this university than I was for my original firm choice and was very happy about how it all worked out for the best. It kind of proves that Clearing isn't necessarily a bad thing.

One year on – are you glad that you went through Clearing?

Very glad. From what I've seen of my old University, a lot of those students have had problems finding accommodation since the University did not have enough and it's not so good being in London.

What did you find most helpful during your experience of Clearing?

I found the reassurance of my parents and the people on the end of the phones at UCAS helpful, but the eight hours of phone calls trying to get them to confirm whether I had got into my university was very tiresome and not nice.

What advice would you give to students who find themselves in Clearing this year?

Don't freak out. And also be rational. Things happen for a reason, and somewhere will take you in the end. Also, be patient since the systems take ages to update and phone systems go down on results day.


Zahra

Were you expecting to go through Clearing?

Yes.

How did you find the Clearing process?

Well, I was abroad unfortunately which made contacting universities very difficult. When I called my insurance to let them know I wanted to be released into Clearing, they managed to delete my UCAS application completely, which delayed my Clearing process. After a lot of stress, I called UCAS, who were very helpful and told me to call the uni back. A few hours, I managed to get into Clearing, but found it very simple, as I'd had made a list of all the unis I should contact.

How easy or difficult was it to find a course and uni you liked in Clearing?

One of my A-level courses results was missing and I didn't know my grade until the Saturday coming, so that made it quite difficult to secure a place at any university. But once I had all my grades, contacting the universities and the whole process of finding was a place was very straightforward. I simply had to tell them my grades and they would tell me whether they could offer me a place or not. If they could, I simply had to give them my details.

Before you started the course and uni you chose through Clearing, how did you feel about it?

I was quite hesitant. I really considered retaking a year to improve my grades, as I was very disappointed I didn't get through for my first choice. I was also a bit nervous, thinking the university might not have my details because I got the place through clearing unlike other students. I always expected something to go wrong.

One year on – are you glad that you went through Clearing?

Yes, I am. I don't think I would've liked my insurance choice at all compared to my current university. I have made a lot of great friends and am getting along great with my modules. I'm very much looking forward to my second year back.

What did you find most helpful during your experience of Clearing?

How simple it was. Being abroad made things very complicated, to being able to look up all the universities and courses that went for clearing and easily being able to understand what to do really made less stressful.

What advice would you give to students who find themselves in Clearing this year?

Just relax. Clearing is no way near as scary as it sounds. Make a list of all the unis you want to contact depending on the grades you think you'll get, so that when result's day comes, you'll have a plan.


Christian

Were you expecting to go through Clearing?

No.

How did you find the Clearing process?

Mad, scary and yet incredibly relieving at the same time. Frantically calling up universities for spare places has advantages and disadvantages - you can call whatever University you think your grades would allow and barter for a place, although if you're unsuccessful then you may have nowhere to go.

The part I loved was getting an instant reply on the phone from the universities I applied for during clearing. It's such a relieving change compared to waiting months on end for UCAS responses! Being able to pick and choose from multiple clearing offers is pretty comforting in its own right, too.

How easy or difficult was it to find a course and uni you liked in Clearing?

Finding places for my course was easy enough, but finding my course at a university I liked (and could get into) proved challenging.

Before you started the course and uni you chose through Clearing, how did you feel about it?

Nervous, to be honest. I'd been given several clearing options (even an offer from Durham albeit for a different course) and couldn't choose between some of them, though I eventually forced myself to do so. Having spent months dreaming of going to other universities the sudden rush of going off to a university I'd never considered before was daunting, but an adventure nontheless.

One year on – are you glad that you went through Clearing?

To a degree, no. Going through clearing was a great experience (smooth and quick), but I very much wish I'd got into either my first or second choice university.

What did you find most helpful during your experience of Clearing?

The instant replies from universities upon calling them. Even if it was a straight 'no,' it's much better than hearing a 'call back in x days and ask again.' Being told you've got an offer in seconds is brilliant.

What advice would you give to students who find themselves in Clearing this year?

Keep your head cool, call wherever you feel you can, and really promote yourself through your grades and experience as someone they should have on your course. If you do this right, then Clearing is your playground. Go have fun.

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