My Journey Through Clearing

A-level results day was the day that confirmed that I was never going to university- or so I thought. By the time 6th Form was coming to an end, unlike the rest of my friends, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

Worse still, I had received much lower grades than I had hoped for so even a gap year didn’t seem feasible.

I was passionate about wanting to go to university to gain the valuable experience that my elder siblings had spoken of; the trouble was, I had no subject interest that sparked enough excitement in me (never mind the grades).1380328_10151947959030185_1965724745_n

So I took some time to think, where I went travelling and worked to earn some money. Whilst I was away I discovered my passion for psychology and when I returned home, applied to university through clearing.

Previous to applying my mum had suggested clearing as a possible route into university.

Unfortunately, due to my teenage-pride I simply dismissed the idea. I was already feeling pretty low and the thought of trying to go to university through clearing when I didn’t ‘deserve‘ it, made me feel worse.

I don’t know if it was the excitement of travelling or just gaining a little perspective on life that made me look again at clearing, but whatever it was I am truly grateful.

I went from an underachieving student who knew very little, to graduating with a first-class honours degree, the thought of which still makes me feel a great sense of pride, something I thought would never be attainable.


So if things don’t go quite go as smoothly as you had hoped on results day, there are many things you can do;

  • Do your research– your exams are done and out of the way (yay!), so try not to worry about the things you can’t change and start thinking about the things that you can.Ring up the universities that you still wish to attend on results day and demonstrate your passion and suitability for the course- a little chat can go a long way.
  • Think about alternative routes – depending on what course you want to study, there may be other ways to apply such as a HND or Foundation course.Usually these courses can be followed by a top-up degree which entitles you to a full degree and usually takes the same amount of time as the regular route. I wish I had known more about them when I was in school!
  • Are there courses that come under a different title but still take your fancy? Can that course act as an alternative path to the place that you want to be?
  • Remember if you don’t get in through clearing, it’s an ongoing cycle so you are able to apply again.
  • Consider giving a gap year (or two) a go. Some need the time to think, find their passion or maybe even get some valuable work experience before they embark on their exciting journey.10176251_758087387567100_6559626847698546988_nWhatever the reason, more and more people are giving it a go, many of my friends are mature students

I have to admit that the grand old saying you hear as a child of ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ still rings true today. If you have a passion for something, don’t give up.

The perception of clearing has changed dramatically, how you enter university doesn’t matter, it’s all about what you do with it, I just wish I had taken my mum’s advice in the first place!