So, You Have Found Yourself in ‘Clearing’
There are a number of ways you may have ended up here, be it through choice, or because your results may not have been as good as you hoped for; but, the key thing to remember is NOT to panic. This post is going to dispel a few of the myths surrounding clearing and hopefully help you with you approaching it a little more confidently.
What Is Clearing?
It’s best to begin with a brief explanation of the position you are now in. Clearing is a process by which universities fill the spots on their courses that are currently empty and is open from July to September every year. That’s it. See, not so scary.
By accessing the UCAS clearing page (https://digital.ucas.com/search) you can take a look at the various universities and degree places still available using their search functions.
Is clearing right for me?
One of the biggest issues plaguing student’s minds when they enter clearing is that they may be the only one. Your friends have received their offers and accepted them, but you may feel you are being left behind. However, there are a number of reasons people consider using clearing and you are certainly not alone. For example;
- If you did not manage to achieve the grades required to accept your unconditional offers;
- If your achieved grades are actually better than you have anticipated, you may decide that you would like to try and apply to a different university;
- The course or degree topic you have chosen is no longer of interest to you and you fancy applying for something different;
- You didn’t receive any offers to begin with.
- You've changed your mind and decided you'd like to apply after all - it's not too late!
The point is, using the clearing process is not unusual in any way and is simply another part of the university candidate selection process.
Which Universities are in Clearing 2019?
Most universities participate in clearing, but courses and number of places vary greatly. Some of the 'big name' universities such as Oxford do not participate. The best thing to do is head to the website of the universities you're interested in attending, and see if they have courses on offer.
Which University Do I Choose?
Some people are going to focus too heavily on the negatives associated with not receiving their first university place. Whilst cliché, clearing is an opportunity to re-evaluate your university decisions in response to the grades you have, rather than the grades anticipate receiving. Essentially, you know where you stand and can make a much more informed decision of which university may be best suited for you. When making your decision there are several things you need to take into consideration;
- Firstly, you need to be practical. If your grades are of a lower standard than you were expecting you may not be able to get into the Russel Group of your dreams. This is not the end of the world. I repeat, this is not the end of the world. There are so many universities with brilliant degree courses out there, the Teaching Education Framework awards are also a really useful determiner of this and evidences which degree courses and universities are actually worthwhile attending;
- Next, you need to evaluate whether your chosen degree course is absolutely essential to what you would like to continue with post-university. For example, a number of students who wish to study medicine but did not quite hit the mark can instead choose to study an alternate topic (such as human anatomy), then defer to medicine in their second year. This, however, is entirely subject to your chosen university and it’s likely best to get in contact with them to see if this option is available;
- Alternatively, you may decide to pick an entirely different topic altogether. This is absolutely fine as long as you are certain this topic is something you would genuinely like to pursue. Whilst university is exceptionally fun, it’s hard work, and so picking a course topic you must engage with for at least three years is something you may soon regret.
- Lastly, there’s the most obvious route of continuing with your chosen course at a different university.
On a final note, the most important thing you need to consider when you reach your decision is whether you are picking a degree place out of desperation or are doing it because you truly want to. Always ensure that you are attending university for the correct reasons as applying for whatever degree course you can get your hands on may simply waste your time and cause you further stress.
Is Clearing right for me?
If you are going to take anything from reading this blog post, the point I would like to leave you with is that panicking and making rash decisions will not be useful to you in the long run. You need to take your time and make a confident decision that’s right for you. There are lots of universities out there, and lots of different degree courses. You will find one that’s suited for you if you take your time. You are also not alone and using clearing is exceptionally common, something you will soon learn from talking to any of your future course mates. Good luck!