Guide to Clearing 2014

Everyone wants to get to their dream university, and know that they have secured all the grades necessary. Realistically however, we will all know one or two people who go into Clearing; this is our guide to how the whole process works.

If you don’t achieve the grades needed for your first or second choice university, then you are put into Clearing. You can also go into Clearing if you don’t wish to accept any of the offers you’ve received. The next step is to check the official vacancy list on UCAS or the Telegraph, and contact the universities with courses that interest you. As long as you are fairly flexible with your choice of course and location then you should be able to find something to suit you.

The main thing is not to worry. Try to think of it as a positive, an opportunity to still get that university experience at a new location or doing something a little different to what you originally planned.

I have a good friend who planned to go to Lincoln University. She was positive she would get in, so bought a Lincoln hoodie and planned train tickets home to see friends in the holidays. Results day came in and she missed her conditional offer by one grade and so went into Clearing. She found a course at Edge Hill University, which is ranked below Lincoln in league tables. Even so, my friend enjoyed her time here much more than her friends who did go to Lincoln. She finds the course has more practical elements which suits the way she likes to learn. This is just one positive story to come out of Clearing!

The most important thing is to pick a university that feels right for you. Don’t get hung up on league tables but do look at the course modules and the way in which each is taught. Don’t rush the process, even though it can be tempting to make a decision straight away to the first university that has a space on your course. If the course or university is really important to you, consider taking a year out to re-sit exams and get the grades you need. If you contact your school/college then they can advise you on re-taking exams. An extra year will allow you time to study and improve where you need to, and to also earn a bit of money for university.

Nobody wants to experience Clearing, but it’s not the end of the world. Take your time to make sure your decision is the right one, and do a good amount of research on any new courses you come across!

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