The Gown Guide to Clearing




After months of waiting with baited breath, results day has finally arrived for our A-Level students! Whilst many households across the UK will be filled with celebrations – parents and students breathing a sigh of relief – spare a thought for those whose wait is only really beginning, as they go through the process of clearing and adjustment.

Take it from people speaking from the other side of results day – the team here at The Gown can confirm that life really does go on after clearing! When university starts and first year students get wrapped up in the whirlwind of Fresher’s Fortnight; when they begin to form friendships inside and outside the lecture theatre, no one asks whether you got into university automatically, or whether you went through clearing.

If, however, you still feel uneasy about the process, it’s important to think of clearing positively. Turn something which has been stigmatised by secondary school careers advisers into a great opportunity. This year, with a slight drop in A-Level grades there is ample opportunity to find a great university course through clearing. According to Helen Thorne, director of policy and research at UCAS, a record high 345 universities have offered places during the clearing process this year already. With such a wide variety of university places on offer from Russell group universities, spaces may fill up incredibly quickly – so we advise that candidates act as soon as possible to nab a last-minute position. As more and more places are offered in the coming days, it’s also important to be persistent and proactive with universities, and actively seek out spare spaces on courses. (This is especially advised if you have your heart set on a particular career path or course of study – developing a rapport with admissions staff where possible will allow them to keep you up to date with any new vacancies).

With an estimated 30,000 courses available around the UK, many currently disheartened students may discover a course that they enjoy in a city that they love, in a university which offers opportunities of which they never before dreamed. Indeed, the clearing system offers students an unlimited amount of courses to which to apply, whereas initially students may be constrained only choosing five potential courses and whittling them down to two final options.

Instead of ending on a cliché of the “everything happens for a reason” variety, we at The Gown wish everyone going through clearing the best of luck for the coming weeks.


Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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