For all of those living in the UK, I’m sure you’ll be aware that tomorrow is a-level results day. This time last year I was absolutely terrified about not getting the grades to get into university, but what happened to me was the last thing I could’ve dreamt of.
If you’re a recent follower, you may not know that I got into university through a system we have called “clearance”. My situation was a bit more difficult, because I had to wait three whole days before hearing back from my insurance choice. It was frustrating because you can’t get started with the whole clearance thing until BOTH your firm and insurance choice of universities have decided if they want you or not. Because my insurance choice spent ages getting back to me, I was basically in limbo for three days.
Clearance itself is a good system if you know that university is the choice for you, and you want to get there no matter what. However, like my first point, there are a lot of things that my teachers didn’t tell me, so this post is to tell you all the ins and outs, just in case you happen to find yourself going through clearance.
So, what is clearance? It’s a system for students to go to a different choice of university than their original choices. More often than not, it’s because you haven’t reached the grade requirements. But also, it can be for those who have got better grades than they were predicted, and want to go to a university with higher grade requirements.
This is what we were told at school, and that was about it. No one said anything about having to re-apply for student finance (because you have to change the university name and possibly the course, if you have chosen a different one. Originally I was going to study English literature and drama, then saw that English with American literature was an option and chose that) so make sure you do that! It’s not hugely time consuming, because most of the information will still be the same. But don’t leave it until a week before you go, because as you will know, you need give it like six weeks or something for it to process. It didn’t take that long for me, it was probably just a week or so, but you don’t want to risk it!
The second thing that they don’t tell you about is accommodation. Usually you need to apply as early as possible for the best chance of getting your first choice of accommodation, but with clearance being in August, there is a chance that you may be on a waiting list, and there is no guarantee that you will get the accommodation. What happened to me, was I had to find somewhere else to live. First I went to the Facebook freshers page, and contacted people who were in the same situation. I found some people, eventually we found a house, but then both the girls dropped out of the group and I was on my own. LUCKILY, my aunt had a contact in Winchester, who was willing to let me lodge with her until I found somewhere to stay permanently. I was lucky because the lady I stayed with was lovely, but be aware that not all people are always nice to students!
My university also organised B&B’s for some students for the first couple of weeks, and then they moved into their accommodation within the first month. What I will say, is don’t lost hope and don’t take your name off the waiting list! I nearly did, but I’m glad I didn’t because about three weeks after starting university, I was offered a room! It was the cheapest one, and it was catered rather than self catered but by this point, I wanted to be a part of the student life properly. I was also lucky because I got along so well with my flat mates too.
My next top is to make sure you research the area of the university you are looking at, and don’t make any rash decisions. I very nearly applied to the University of Keele, and although the university is good, it’s very far from my home and the area didn’t look too great either. At this point I was still waiting to hear back from my insurance choice, and I knew that if they gave me a place, then obviously I would choose it. However, Keele only gave me like a day to make my decision, and because I wasn’t 100% set on going there, it wasn’t hard to let their offer go.
The main thing you need to do in this process is stay calm. I’m sure your results day won’t be as hectic as mine was, because I was just unlucky. I realise I have rambled on a bit here, so I’ll summarise this post in bullet points:
- Don’t panic and don’t rush into decisions.
- Maybe have a couple of clearance choices in mind already
- Look into lodging or look for other students who need a housemate
- Apply for accommodation, and keep your name on the waiting list!
- Stay positive! I spent a lot of my last few weeks of August crying last year…
I hope this helps anyone who goes through clearance! I really hope no one has the same experience that I had, but if you need anymore advice or have any questions, then feel free to ask! It’s what I’m here for!