Skip to Content

Students from Great Britain

What I wish I'd known before going through Clearing

Aaron Johnson is a 1st year Law student from Lancashire who found Queen's through Clearing last year. He tells us what he wishes he'd known about Clearing and how choosing Queen's has been his best decision ever.

Lanyon banner July 2018

I was lucky enough to get my place at Queen’s through Clearing last year. Although it wasn’t what I had planned, I’ve loved my time here so far. Choosing Queen’s has been my best decision ever.  

Here’s my experience of Clearing - from my results day anxiety to tips for getting the right place for you! 

Give yourself a head start! 

I fell short of the grades for my firm and insurance university choices. This meant I was automatically in Clearing and could apply elsewhere with my final grades. 

My sixth form college gave me a lot of guidance on the application process but I didn’t know a lot about Clearing. I had the basic understanding – Clearing is a way to find places if you don’t get the necessary grades. That was all I knew. 

This made me feel a bit like a fish out of water when I had to go through the process myself. My advice would be to take the time now to find out about how Clearing works. This will put you on the right track to a less stressful experience on the day. 

UCAS Clearing Plus could be your best friend on results day 

There are now loads of tools to help you find a place that’s right for you. UCAS recently introduced Clearing Plus to show you all the courses available. This was my best friend on results day! It streamlined the process and I was relieved to see a long list of universities that still wanted me.  

When you enter what you’re looking for, you’ll get a list of universities and you can select which courses you’d like to apply to. That university may then reach out to make an offer. It’s a great way to quickly apply to several places on one website.  

My advice for using Clearing Plus? Be selective! Have an idea of what you want to do. Otherwise, you’ll have loads of calls for places you don’t want. This can really stress you out and make you feel like you’re wasting time.  

Here’s how I got my place at Queen’s 

The more traditional way to find a place through Clearing is by phoning individual clearing hotlines yourself. You can see who is participating in clearing through UCAS or on their own websites. 

This is how I got my place at Queens. They’ll ask for your UCAS ID number, your grades and an email address or phone number. Make sure you have all this information to hand as it makes life so much easier!  

Some universities may make you an offer right there and then over the phone, but some may take a look over your personal statement and other information. It can be nerve-wracking waiting to hear back but it gives you a great opportunity to weigh up your options. 

Queen's wasn't my first choice – but it was the right choice 

Everyone is different when it comes to choosing which university suits them best. It's great to have a rough idea of what you like and don't like and then see which offers suit you best. 

Queen’s was the right choice for me because it was far away from home. In Belfast, I’d have the chance to be independent in a completely new city with a lot of nightlife and culture.  
Accommodation was also a big factor for me. There’s a wide range of guaranteed accommodation available to GB students who come through clearing. You can enjoy city-centre living in BT1 and BT2 or a more village-style life in Elms BT9. 

The deciding factor for me was the course though. I really liked the structure of my course at Queen’s, compared to offers from other universities. 


I hope my rough guide to Clearing has given you a few tips to make the process easier. And, from someone who has been through the process, don’t worry! There are still lots of options available to you if you don’t make your grades. 

Photo: Aaron Johnson
Aaron Johnson