Applying to Uni through Clearing is NOT failing!

Original Picture from Sam via Unsplash

5 years ago I was a 17 years old, year 13 students who was taking Drama, Photography and Government and Politics as my A-levels. I had no clue about what I wanted to do after I left school or what I could study if I carried on with higher education, all I knew was that I didn’t want to carry on with the subjects I was taking at the time.

After attending a Politics conference & speaking to friends I found out that Event Planning was an actual degree and also something I was actually interested in; but to get into the University of Gloucestershire I needed a minimum of one B and two C’s.

Here’s my confession – I got a U in my 2009 politics exam. Not only was this an incredible blow to my self esteem and in my belief in my own abilities, it also made me very aware that I might not get into University or GOD FORBIT have to apply via Clearing, which due to ridiculous rumours from my peers was THE WORST!

Time for some TRUTH!


A lot of websites talk about it being the second chance, and yes there is some truth in that because some students go through the process as they were unable to gain the grades needed for their 1st choice, but really Clearing is another opportunity to really consider your future.

It’s hard at 17/18 to really know what you want to do & when applying for uni you not only have to find a course that really engages and interests you, because why spend £9,000 on something you dislike? You also have to find a place you’re happy to spend three + years; looking at location, distance from home, nightlife, work opportunities etc

And I can tell you from personal experience that getting your first choice doesn’t guarantee that you will love it. So having to go through the clearing process doesn’t mean you have FAILED.

Hannah Wilcock is an Event and Festival Management Student at Buckinghamshire New University and originally she didn’t want to attend university but applied because everyone else was *a feeling many have when in school!* However after she found out she hadn’t gotten the grades needed to get into uni she decided to just start applying for hospitality job, but a year spent trying to get her foot in the door and being turned down because the jobs wanted graduates with a degree, Hannah decided to apply for an events course via clearing. 

My course has been everything I hoped for and has reaffirmed that hospitality is the career for me, and my advice to students applying through Clearing would be to look at the whole package of the university and not just focus on one option. My initial choice was made because I wanted to be at a big university with lots of nightlife, but having come to a smaller university I can’t now imagine studying anywhere else.”

I understand that University isn’t for everyone, I have made no secret of almost dropping out after my first term, and when talking about the events and hospitality sector a degree is not always a necessity. You can try looking for volunteer roles within your local community or start working in a Hotel or venue as a front of house member of staff and build up your experience within that organisation!

I know a lot of universities have their Freshers week happen at the moment & I also know that when all your friends have gone off to start these new chapter you might think you have made the wrong decision in not going to uni this year – however clearing is open till the end of September so you can change that, head on over to UCAS to see what places are still available!*

*But if that feels too rushed, then you can also get ready to apply to start university in September 2015 and take this next 12 months as an opportunity to figure out what you want to do, go on some adventures & earn some money!

Good Luck!

Three Places to go for more advice on Clearing:

  1. Clearing Advice by UCAS
  2. A Guide to Clearing 2014 by The Student Room
  3. Complete Guide to University Clearing by What Uni?  
Thank you to Claire for sending across Hannah’s case study, and for the topic idea of Clearing.