Advice for Students, Clearing, Guest posts

7 Tips for Clearing

It has been about a year now since I went through the most stressful day of my life, results day. I remember waking up at 8am and seeing the email from my first-choice university giving me the dreadful news that I didn’t get in. I did not have a second choice, so I knew I was going to have to go through Clearing. I spent about an hour crying, thinking I was a huge failure, especially considering everyone had so much faith in me. After an hour of crying, I went into “damage control mode”. I sent my mum to the school to pick up my grades and at 10am I started calling universities. After two hours and multiple breakdowns, I got an unconditional offer from Cardiff University. In just 5 hours, I learned that my “failure” was my big success because I had just accepted an offer to study Psychology in one of the best universities in the UK. 

As results day is approaching for many of you, I want to share some tips for you that helped me during this process.

  1. Research universities that are offering clearing places for your course before results day. I suggest you do this even if you don’t think you’ll end up in clearing. If you end up going through clearing it will help you and if you don’t, you will not lose anything by being extra prepared. UCAS makes a list of universities who will be opening clearing spaces, but do not limit yourself to that list. Sometimes your course might not end up on the list, but it could still have clearing spaces. Pick those universities that you might want to go. Look at their location, what the course details are etc – just like you did when choosing the universities you initially applied to. If accommodation is important to you, check if the universities offer accommodation for clearing students because some do not guarantee accommodation. Fortunately, Cardiff University offers guaranteed accommodation for all clearing and adjustment students.
  2. Make a shortlist of possibly universities starting from the university you would like to attend the most and include the telephone numbers of each university in that list. This will save you a huge amount of time on results day as you will not have to look for which universities to call.
  3. On results day, give yourself some time to cry (if needed) and calm down. This is a very stressful time for you, and it hurts to know you didn’t make it in. Make sure you are with someone who can give you emotional support on the day.
  4. Before starting to call anyone, make sure you have all of your results with you. This might include the qualifications you had from before as well as the ones you have just received. If you have any English language qualifications make sure you have those with you as well. Also, make sure you have the details of your UCAS account somewhere you can see.
  5. Start calling the universities according to your list. I recommend first calling the universities that were on UCAS’s list and then the ones that weren’t on UCAS’s list. You have more chance of finding a spot in universities from the UCAS website because unlike others, you know that all of them are opening spaces for clearing.
  6. Prepare yourself for some negative answers and don’t let these affect your hopes and motivation. The first university I called told me they had already filled up their spots, the second rejected me. In the end, I was able to get into Cardiff University which is as good as (some might say better than) the university that rejected me.
  7. Once you have an offer, you might need some time to think. If you’re unsure and you still want to try your chance with other universities, keep calling them. At the end of the day, no matter which university you choose to go or if you choose to go take a gap year do not forget to celebrate.  You just got through what might be the most stressful day of your life and you deserve a celebration for that.

I hope you find these seven tips helpful. I just want to say to all of you that end up going through clearing it does not mean that you have failed; you have just taken an alternative path. I wish all of you the best.

If any of you are interested in applying to Cardiff University through clearing, which I highly recommend you do, here is a link to the university’s clearing page.


  • Hannah

    It’s so great that you’re sharing such an honest experience of results day – I also found it one of the most stressful days of my life and think if I’d read something like this before it would have reassured me a lot! I think the main thing to remember on results day is that although you might have set your sights on a particular university, wherever you end up you are likely to have some of the best few years of your life! Thanks for sharing.

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