Why Clearing isn’t as bad as you think

Everyone who’s gone through clearing has a different reason, a different experience, and a different story. It’s totally wrong to assume that anyone who goes through it is stupid or rejected by your firm uni for particular reason – there are loads of reasons why someone might go through it.

Personally, I only have myself to blame. I didn’t take applying to uni seriously enough, and I’d applied to places I hadn’t really researched. Two rejections later, I was left with three unis which didn’t massively appeal, and I put down arbitrary choices for my firm and insurance. Ironically, the one place which I rejected myself was Leeds – the place I ultimately ended up at.

Around July, I began to realise that I really didn’t want to be at my firm choice. I thought I’d just got cold feet or something initially, but no – all my friends seemed really excited to go to uni, and I just didn’t. I felt sick when browsing the accommodation website, unable to see myself there at all. I wondered if I could reject my firm and choose my insurance instead – but even then, my insurance didn’t appeal either. I had to start from scratch.

Some researching that should have been conducted a year ago ensued, and I came to the conclusion that I simply had to go to Exeter. I looked into how I could achieve this, and the only answer I could find was to put myself in Clearing. I was initially confused and a bit daunted – I thought clearing was for people who’d got rejected, or for people with really bad grades – but I came to realise that the stigma surrounding clearing was stupid. People use it for all sorts of reasons.

Results day came, and I found that I’d exceeded my required grades, so I could go into adjustment – which is basically clearing if you exceed your grades, with the option of going into clearing or accepting your firm instead at the end of it all. It gave me a good security net. So at 9am on results day, I called up Exeter, calm and confident, and ready to accept a place for English.

They told me they didn’t have any spaces, and my stomach sank.

But I’d emailed before, I said. They just said sorry, they couldn’t help me, they didn’t have any spaces.

I was adamant to the point of petulance about going to Exeter. I rang up every number available, and I even got my Head of English to ring them, but to no avail. And during this period, where I was wasting my time on a uni that didn’t want me, places at good unis were vanishing.

By the time I accepted that Exeter didn’t want me, Leeds was the only Russell Group left. A gap year wasn’t an option – I’d long outgrown my sleepy little Midlands village, and I had no money or plans for a gap year. I had no choice, it seemed, but to accept Leeds.

And it was the best decision of my life so far.

I took a risk and it paid off. So when it comes to Clearing or Adjustment, take a risk and I’m sure it’ll pay off.

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