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Students from Great Britain

My Top Tips for Navigating the Clearing Process

Every year lots of students find a University Place using Clearing. Gabriella is sharing her top tips for making that process go as smoothly as possible.

Lanyon 20.07.2018 from a distance

People go through Clearing for different reasons. Whether it’s because you’ve chosen to decline your offers or you’ve missed the required grades for your original offer, Clearing will have many options for you. Here are my top tips:

Create a ‘Just in Case’ List

If possible, it’s a great idea to look on the UCAS website before Results Day to get an idea of what universities and courses are already offering entry through Clearing. Making a ‘just in case’ list of universities and courses so you’re ready on the day. You can also check the Queen’s Clearing Website for what course vacancies have already been listed.

Take a Minute to Breathe

Results Day can be a stressful, fraught day. Make sure you stay calm and focussed. If you have unexpectedly missed your university choices, you might be a bit emotional. It’s important to recognise these emotions, lean on family and friends if you can. When I went through Clearing, I felt my whole world had come crashing down. So I took a walk around my school grounds with my mum and cleared my head. Remember it is not the end of the world, there will be a university place for you. Take a moment to breathe and start looking for Clearing Places.

Check UCAS

If you were able to make a Clearing plan, start with contacting those universities. If you have family or friends willing to help, get them to ring universities with you. If you haven’t planned, or you didn’t expect to go through Clearing, start by looking on the UCAS website at the university Clearing spaces and some newspapers will have Clearing places printed. The UCAS website will be the best place to start though.

Be persistent!

So many students will be ringing universities, it might take a little while to get an answer. Don’t be discouraged, keep ringing until you get through. It will take patience and determination. I decided I loved Queen’s and was determined to get my space. So, I enlisted the help of 3 family members to keep ringing for me. Subsequently, I got my place!

Be Confident in Yourself

You have worked so hard for your grades, no matter if the end result wasn’t quite what you expected. You are also more than your grades. You probably have many other hobbies and interests that you can sell yourself with. When you get through to universities, make sure you let them know how amazing you are, and how much they need you at their university.

If In Doubt It’s Still Worth Calling

Don’t let anyone tell you a university won’t accept you. There are so many excellent universities with places available. Clearing can be nerve-wracking but you definitely won’t get a place if you don’t try. Ring anyway. If they do say no, you’ve not lost anything. If I’d listened to discouraging teachers who told me that Queen’s would never accept my grades, I wouldn’t be here now! I’m so glad that I ignored them and rang and got my place regardless.


Make sure you congratulate yourself and celebrate what you’ve achieved. Whether you’ve ended up where you expected or not, you have worked hard for your grades and you should be proud of that. If you got your place, celebrate that! If you got into university through Clearing, definitely celebrate! Navigating Clearing is not the easiest thing but you did it!


Well done for all your hard work, and good luck!

To Find Out More about what courses are available through Clearing, check out the details here.

Photo: Gabriella Dancer
Gabriella Dancer
Student Blogger, BA Criminology