Hello, my name is Catherine, and I went through Clearing – OurWarwick

Hello, my name is Catherine, and I went through Clearing

Sorry, my dog has nothing to do with this post, I just think he is too cute not to appear! However, sometimes dogs can be quite nice (I am a big believer in puppy therapy) and for some of you guys, this is not the nicest time in your lives right now, because we are less than two weeks away from A level results day…

I think I am still unwinding from the stress of my results day, almost two years ago. Time flies. If you are a stressed-out 18-year-old reading this, nervously awaiting your fate, then I won’t tell you to just “not worry.” Sure, you can’t change what you have written on your exam papers, but sometimes worrying can’t be stopped, and it is something we all just have to endure. What you can do, is channel your fears into preparation, particularly clearing for if your day doesn’t go to plan. Naturally, I wish all of you the best of luck with your results, and hopefully, any research you do for clearing will be a waste of time. However, sometimes life surprises us and I learned the hard way how frustrating it can be to deal with unexpected results with no concrete preparation.

(Also, try and have as much fun as possible before results day as a distraction- I went to a petting zoo the day before mine!)

A little bit of background, as I didn’t actually use clearing in the most conventional way. One of my first ever blogs was all about this super fun time in my life, which you can read here: https://our.warwick.ac.uk/clearing-pigs-and-a-really-stressful-september-how-i-got-into-warwick/

For the purposes of this blog, here is a brief summary. My firm choice was actually Durham, and my insurance Edinburgh, however on results day, my Spanish grade brought me down, meaning I needed 1 UMS more to secure my place at Durham.  CRIES IN SPANISH. Scotland was waiting for me. Except, I didn’t really want to go to my insurance; after all, I had firmed Durham for a reason, and there was no way I would ever miss my firm. Pride swallowed, I accepted my offer to Edinburgh and then proceeded to drop out two days later. Three weeks later, after a whole lot of confusion, I applied to Warwick through clearing and was actually accepted, despite it being nearly the 15th September. And here we are…

Therefore I offer you some advice…

1. No one is above clearing. As I’ve already said, I never considered preparing to use it, because I never thought I would be in a situation where I would need to. Sure, I chose to drop out of my insurance and then had no other choice, but you never know what might happen with results. Take half an hour sometime before just to look at what universities are offering what courses, it may surprise you. https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/results-confirmation-and-clearing/what-clearing

 Leading me too…

2. Keep your options open. If you are in clearing, that means you have a chance to reconsider all your decisions (have an existential breakdown) and make some new choices. Perhaps you decide to take a gap year, resit some modules, change your degree in light of your results, or decide to go to university in a completely different part of the country. It might surprise you what options are available. If I could end up at Warwick, studying my dream course, after applying through clearing nearly three weeks after it opened- anything is possible!

3.  On the day, you’ll log on to UCAS and see that you’re in clearing and will have received your clearing number. If you haven’t heard from both your firm and insurance choices, that means they might still be considering you- try and call them up and sell yourself! If not, start looking at all your options, call as many places and get as many offers as you want (with clearing, there is no limit on how many). You still have a couple of days before making any decisions- take your time.

4. Finally, once you’re at university, move on. I spent a lot of time in my first semester at Warwick feeling inferior, because I had got there through clearing. It doesn’t matter, Warwick accepted you for a reason; move on, and give your first year your best effort. No one really cares what A level results you got once you are at university.

 5. Finally, (take two) even though it is not really related to clearing and more advice for next year’s cohort, and I’ve said it before: make sure you like and are happy with your insurance choice. A lot of time and stress would have been saved if I had considered Edinburgh as somewhere I actually might end up studying at, and not just assumed I would get into my firm choice. There is a reason you are given an insurance option- use it wisely!

So there you go, I hope you never have to use this blog and you will open your results in a couple of weeks and joyfully start packing. But equally, if you do find yourself with unexpected results and a whole lot of decision making to do, I hope you can use this blog to find comfort that everything will work out. It sounds so cringe, but I do believe I was meant to come to Warwick, even if it did take a month of surprises and setbacks to get me here. 

Good luck!

  • AJ123

    Great advice, thanks Catherine


  • Bao

    Thank you Catherine for this advice. I was just wondering if it took Warwick three weeks to respond to you? Also can one apply for clearing if you don’t have the exact required grade for the course of your choice? My child is presently in the same dilema and I need your candid advice.


    • Catherine Osborne Modern Languages

      Thank you for your comment, Bao! No, I called Warwick three weeks after results day, and luckily, they still had places. I was offered a place within 48 hours of my first call. In terms of grades, depending on popularity, sometimes if you have lower grades than the “Official Entry Requirements” listed on UCAS, you can still get a place through clearing. My advice would be to call the universities and ask them directly, as it can be quite varied and confusing. Good luck! Catherine


Leave a comment

   or Log in?

Ask a