10 Tips: Clearing Your Way To The Top

For those of you who don’t know clearing is the process which some unsuccessful A- Level students have to go every year in order to find another place at university because they received lower grades than they expected.

For many of you A-Level students, if not everybody, results day is tomorrow.  However, I’m dedicating this post to the people who won’t get the grades they’re expecting and/or wanted because for the people who get the grades, you don’t need much advice on coping with day.  You got what you wanted.

I can remember when I was in this position this time last year.  I was completely crushed.  I had my mind and heart set on Edinburgh or Nottingham university.  It felt as if my life was over and I couldn’t do what I wanted to do anymore.  It didn’t really help that I went to a sixth form which put me in the mind set of ‘Russell Group or nothing’ because they have the best reputations.  People come from all over the world come to the UK (and the USA) to go to these universities.

Anyway, the reality is, it will hurt, you will see some of  your friends, peers and enemies happy because they got in to their first choice universities but I can promise that, the hopelessness and the moping  won’t last forever.  So here are some tips to prepare for the worst.

1. Prepare all of your UCAS information.  You will need this for the following steps.

Your UCAS information is so important because universities will want to verify who you are and take a quick look at your personal statement.  The most important thing to have ready is your UCAS number.

2.  Have a list of at least 10 universities that you will not mind going to and that do your course along with the phone number for clearing.

This list will be crucial for the next few hours of your day.  You need to work out where you want to spend the next 3 or 4 years of your life.  It is important to have these numbers ready because it is first come first serve.  Don’t miss out just because you were not prepared.  You don’t want to be left with the worst of the worst.

3. As well as having a list of university names ready have the COURSE CODES prepared too.  

The course codes are so important to help the person you’re speak to see if there are any places available for your course choice.  It is hard to verify a course without the course code, so have them ready along with your list of universities.

4. Give your friends, family, carers this list of university names with their clearing  phone numbers too and course codes too.  

In order to increase your chances of getting a place first, get some help.  It will make the process easier and you won’t feel alone because no matter what, your friends and family will be there for you.

5. Think about other courses you wanted to study if your first choice course is very popular.

It’s crucial to consider studying something else as well as the course you had your heart set on simply because if the first choice course you had in mind is very popular, the chances of finding a place somewhere else with a good scheme could be very slim.  It’s just something to bare in mind.  If it comes to this, refer back to the first 4 tips mentioned.

6. Found another university you like? GREAT! Go to your UCAS page.

When you have finally had offers from the universities in clearing they will soon send you an offer to your UCAS page.  HOWEVER, don’t just click accept to the first one because YOU CANNOT ACCEPT MORE THAN ONE OFFER.  So look at your options, weigh out your odds and see where you want to go.  Think about this carefully because you will have to live and/or study there.


As soon as you have confirmed your place on UCAS.  You need to go to your student finance straight away and change the name of the university and your course code A.S.A.P and then keep tabs on it to make sure you know where your money is going and when you’re going to get it.


You need to bare in mind that there are people who have already chosen the university that is your clearing option and this means that they already had a choice of accommodation ages ago.  You need to see;

  • What accommodation is available – all the best ones may be gone now….
  • Look at your finances – See which accommodation you can afford
  • Decide weather you want to be catered or non – catered – I will definitely recommend non-catered.  Catered food is usually reused and shit.  It can be hard to stay healthy too.  I will also recommend non-catered if you’re anything like me: Introvert who hates crowds, forced conversations and social obligations…
  • En suite or shared bathroom – Definitely try en suite because you do not know what kinds of people you may have to share with and it’s just easier
  • Mixed or single sex – do you not mind living with the opposite sex or do you want to just stick with your own? Think about this
  • Apply for the accommodation – which can be a long process but get it done anyway – DON’T BE SURPRISED when or if they as for a deposit of about £150-£300 which you may get back at the end of the year

9. Review all of your decisions made and make sure you’re happy with them.  You need to be happy with them.  

Just quickly look at your decisions made and verify what’s what.  You need to be comfortable with your decisions because you’re pretty much on your own from here.  Well I think you should be anyway.  Independence is a beautiful thing.  You can just look forward to the rest of summer now.  Consider doing these things now that all of the hard work is done;

  • Take a trip to where you will be spending the next few years with friends or with family, make a day of it.  Look at the bars, restaurants, attractions (if there are any)
  • Go to the university website and see which societies and sports they have to offer, there will be more than you think or maybe you can start your own
  • Look at your universities freshers week.  I personally didn’t like my freshers week.  I left after five minutes on the first night and didn’t continue with the rest of the week.  I thought it was horrible.
  • Relax, spend time with friends and family because when university comes, it may be a while unit you see them next

10.  Enjoy the rest your day!

Chances are your friends will all be going out to celebrate their grades and you should celebrate with them, because you found a place elsewhere and you’re doing what you want to do!  Life doesn’t stop because of clearing.  Be happy and have fun.  ^_^

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