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When things don't go to plan

30 MAY 2018 - SARAH -


It’s coming round to exam period for many of our applicants, and it can be a daunting and pressurising time when you have offers from universities. For some of us, it can seem like the end of the world if we don’t get the grades that we need or want. I interviewed Evie, a first year Sociology and Youth Studies student, who told me how easy it was to get into university through clearing when things didn’t go quite as planned.

What encouraged you to go through clearing?

My A Level results weren’t outstanding, and I think a lot of people who go through clearing can relate to that. I hadn’t planned on going to uni last year; I planned to take a year out. If I had applied through the normal process, I don’t think that I would have got in.

It was my mum that encouraged me to go. I was at home, I’d just got back from travelling and I was on the phone to my mum and told her my grades. She told me to go through clearing and go to uni, so she’s the reason I came through clearing. As the university had the course that I wanted to do and had spaces, she thought I should go for it.

I was fully prepared to sign up to another year of college, resit my A Levels (which aren’t fun) and put myself through another year of that. Being encouraged by my mum to go through clearing was a really good thing. I could have said no, but I chose to do it because uni was on my radar. 

Do you feel it benefited you?

I think I would have tried my absolute hardest to end up here anyway, because the course I’m doing is the course I wanted to do. Maybe I would have been more prepared if I went to uni next year because it was a quick process and I only had a few weeks to get used to the idea of going to uni. Normally when you apply to go to uni you have a whole year to wrap your head around it, but to be honest, it wasn’t a massive adjustment for me.

How did you find the process?

It’s so easy! I was dumbfounded at how easy it was. I spent about 5 minutes on the phone to someone in Infozone. As soon as I got off the phone with my mum, I phoned the University, told them I wanted to apply for the course, they asked me a few questions, and they said “congratulations, you’re coming to uni!”

So within the space of about 5 minutes, I went from a state of utter despair of, “I’ve failed and screwed my life up” to, “I’m going to uni!” The first thing that entered my mind was, “I get to go stationary shopping!” I was so excited. I couldn’t have asked for anything else in the process; the University was so helpful.

The Infozone helped me with the whole process. When I started uni, I didn’t feel like I had gone through clearing because they made me feel so welcome, and like it wasn’t a bad thing that I’d screwed it up a bit. I don’t usually tell people that I went through clearing, but I don’t feel any different that I went a different route because everyone’s on a new page and everyone’s equal - you get out of it what you put in.

What advice would you give to students going through clearing?

Just do it! Don’t have an ounce of hesitation, because going through clearing was one of the best things to have happened to me. I went from a state of utter despair, to being really excited to start uni. If things don’t go particularly well on results day, don’t panic. Get on the phone, ring around; there’s so many things that universities can do for you.

It’s also so much easier to sort out than you think; it’s easily done in an afternoon. Student finance, accommodation, course registration can all be done in a few hours. If things don’t go your way and you still really want to go to uni, just do it, because it will be one of the best things that will ever happen to you.


We all wish you the best of luck as you start your exams, and we hope you get the grades you want. For more information on the clearing process, have a look at the UCAS guide to clearing here.

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