5 Myths about Clearing that are totally wrong

Ever since its introduction, UCAS Clearing has been an alternative method of getting to university. While it is often seen as a last case scenario, it can be a far more positive and productive experience than you might think.

Despite all the online panic about Clearing, you can still find the course of your dreams, even if it’s one you hadn’t previously considered! Take a look below at the most common misconceptions about Clearing and the truth about what you could gain from it.

“If you go into Clearing, you’re definitely not clever enough to go to uni.”

This, in my opinion, is the most important myth to clear up first. Just because you may not have made the grades for your original choices, that doesn’t mean by any measure that you’re not good enough for uni! The first thing to know about entering Clearing is that you’ve by no means failed. Everyone can have an off day, and sometimes that day can just so happen to be one when you have a coursework submission or an exam. I believe that exams are never truly reflective of your abilities as a student, and you’ll find once you get to university that much more worth is given to your efforts across the year as a whole through different units and varied assessments, rather than a single exam after two years of study. Going into Clearing means that you’ve got the chance to find a place regardless of what you think of your results.

“The courses you get through Clearing are undersubscribed. This is because the course/university is terrible.”

This is certainly not the case. While it may be true that Clearing courses are undersubscribed, that could be for any number of factors. For instance, many universities are seeing a slow decline in the number of humanities students as the pressure for students to study degrees in STEM instead increases – this can be attributed as a cause for more humanities courses ending up in Clearing. As well as this, just google ‘Clearing’ and you’ll see adverts from all the top-ranking universities such as Sussex, York and Warwick. So, you shouldn’t fear that you’ll get lumped with a bad course if you end up in Clearing.

“Clearing is a stressful, difficult process.”

It doesn’t have to be at all! It’s all about preparation. Regardless of what you think the outcome of your results will be, it’s good practice to research your other options. Remember, even if you do well you’ll have the chance to change your choices through Adjustment, which is most easily described as Clearing for those who exceeded their expected results and therefore want to change courses. Make a list before results day of the universities and courses you’re interested in, and all of the course codes and Clearing numbers of universities. This will avoid unnecessary stress later, and it means you haven’t lost anything if you don’t need it.

“Clearing will put me on a course that I know nothing about.”

Again, this one is all about being prepared. Clearing options were made available here on UCAS on the 5th July and will be open until 23rd October this year. This means you still have a few weeks before A-Level results day to decide what other courses are for you. Some people even take the prospect of Clearing as a chance to consider new courses that they would not have felt they qualified for previously, with people moving disciplines and subjects to things that make more sense for them. Many universities have even seen a spike in students declining all their offers on results day as a chance to talk to universities personally and find a better option.

“Everyone will think I’ve failed if I go into Clearing.”

This is very untrue. Every student progresses to university in a different way, and at the end of the day, you’ll all end up in the same classrooms regardless of whether you got an unconditional offer months ago or just got your place on a course this August. No one has the right to judge your way of getting into uni, and you should be proud that you had the confidence and the common sense to prepare for every possible situation. Clearing should be a positive experience, so embrace it as much as you can and celebrate your new university place!


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