Student blog

So you have 24 hours to apply to university


Results day, for me, meant getting out of bed at 6a.m. because I didn’t actually go to sleep (for the record, don’t do this). I checked my firm choice university’s tracker as the UCAS tracker wasn’t updated at this point, and I found out then that I wasn’t in.  So, I was panicking a little.

UCAS tracker updated at 7.30a.m. and it was then I found I had been accepted into my insurance choice. As I still didn’t have my grades I didn’t know if it was worth appealing to my first choice university or worth getting a remark.

So I went straight into my college to pick up my results in person. That’s when I found out I had a bit of a mishap with my results - they were pretty far away from my conditional offer. My firm choice university wanted A,B,B, with an A in English, and I came out with B,C,C with a C in English which is, you know, never good.

Because you see, when I chose my insurance choice it was based on the assurance that I would not need it. And I didn’t really want to go there. You never assume that you will be in the minority who will need their insurance choice, but you know - someone has to.

However I have just finished my first year at University, meaning I am able to tell you about Clearing, because that’s the thing I went through.


I sat in a teacher’s office with my media teacher next to me, because media has always been my best subject as much as I wanted to trick myself into thinking it was English, and I decided to go into UCAS Clearing. I called my insurance choice up and asked to be released from my place started looking at different universities that were in the area that I wanted to live in. 

I found a university that I looked at when I had first started my A Levels – Digital Film & Screen Arts, a specialist, creative arts programme.

I phoned this university, UCA, and managed to get a place on the DFSA course – the one that I was looking at two years ago. My media teacher now claims it to be fate; completely and utterly universe-defining.

So, overall, A Level results day didn’t actually go badly in the end, it was just uncomfortable for a while. But it does mean that I can give you some tips on how to survive Clearing: 


Really. Remaining calm is the only way that you’re going to get through it. I know you want to panic, but there are people around to help you. There are online communities, there are so many websites and people out there to help you. Just trust me, calm.


Research every possible outcome before results day. You want to know what to do if you do end up in clearing (or adjustment – it could go either way).

I personally obsessed over results day from leaving college until it actually happened, which isn’t the route I’d recommend because it drove me crazy. However, look into how it works beforehand, it’s a lot easier to just get started in this type of situation without having to learn it along the way.

I recommend The Student Room; they are really good at giving advice and they even offer a mailing list for results day, where they will email you with available clearing spots.


Everything is so fast-paced when you’re in clearing. You want to call every university and get all the offers you can, and when you get offers you want to assign all them on UCAS. Take the 12/24 hours that are available. Don’t think that the place is going to go away, because it isn’t.

The first offer I received was the one that I accepted, but I ended up getting a few more offers on that first day, as I was phoning universities up and finding out different things about them. You need to consider location, accommodation, if you can you afford to live there and will you like the campus, things that don’t necessarily enter your head when the first offer comes in.

So, sleep on it, make a decision in the morning – it will make life so much easier in the long run.


You’re allowed to be upset if you have not done as well as you thought you were going to. You worked for that conditional offer, so you are allowed to mourn the loss of it. Feel it, and then move on.

There was some more work to do once I’d accepted the offer at UCA; I found accommodation, I changed my Student Finance, I grinned through many ‘I can’t believe I got in, I mean, I missed my offer!’ conversations, and I also had to explain the whole thing to family who didn’t really understand the situation.

But, it’s been worth it. There have been a few moments where I’ve wondered ‘what if?’ but that’s natural, you’ve made a huge decision in a short space of time, it would be weird if you didn’t.  

Just trust you’re instinct, trusting yourself now will save you later on.


Need help researching your options come results day? Have a look at these guides and resources:

UCA Video
UCAS Guide to Clearing
UCAS Clearing Service 2015
The Student Room
Times Higher Education University Rankings
Guardian Students: Clearing
Telegraph Students: Clearing

If I can get through clearing so can you! If you have any questions leave them below and I'll answer them as quickly as possible.

- Rachel