‘My Clearing experience’: Poppy, studying Theology and Religion

I’m Poppy, studying Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter, a course which I secured through Clearing. At GCSE I got 8 A*, 1 A and 1 B. I was predicted A*AA at A-level. I applied for International Relations and Arabic, and got places at Exeter, Leeds, York, Warwick and Bath. Exeter was my first choice, and Leeds was my insurance choice. Here is my experience of Clearing.

Results day

Results day was the most stressful day that I have experienced, largely due to the fact that I had not been given nearly enough information about the clearing process. I knew roughly how it worked – I would ring a number and plead for a place?! However, I did not expect that I would have to go though it myself.

The Clearing process

On the morning of results day, I logged into UCAS and it showed that I had not got into my first place university, nor my insurance place. When I went into school, I collected my grade sheet and I had not nearly achieved my predictions. This was a huge surprise to myself and my teachers and I did not know what to do.  I was given some advice by my head of sixth form, but ultimately the rest was left up to me.

I went onto the Complete University Guide website and typed in the course I wanted to do and the grades I had achieved. I rang the universities that came up and I managed to secure a few places. I had been at school for about 3 hours trying to sort something out, but it was late in the day and it was starting to close. I felt pressured into choosing a course.

I firmed a Global Studies course at another university. I went back home and told my Dad, but I was so upset as it was not what I had hoped for. I still had my heart set on going to Exeter.

I went to ‘celebrate’ with some friends that evening, but I could not avoid the fact that I was not comfortable with my rash decision to firm this other university. I came home and tried to sleep.  My Mum woke me up at 6am the next day in excitement. She had found a course that was open for clearing at Exeter that I could get into. The course was Theology and Religion. I was dubious at first, but I had completed an EPQ in New Religious Movements, so it was a subject that interested me, and Exeter offered Arabic and more optional modules to give it flexibility.

I removed the other university as my firm choice, and instead firmed Theology and Religion at Exeter (something that I did not know was an option).

I have loved the degree course that I am now on. Of course, there are modules that I do not like as much, but that is the same for all degrees. Exeter has a great array of optional modules, and I was able to do Arabic in these as I had wished. All of my modules in second and third year are optional, so I am excited to specify into routes that interest me the most. I have made great friends, and I am so pleased with how it has worked out.

My tips for students entering clearing this year

  1. Before results day, read up about the clearing process: watch YouTube videos, read articles from those that have been through it etc. I wish I had done this as it would have reduced the stress of the unknown.
  1. Do not assume that you won’t need to consider clearing, it will always be a possibility.
  1. Do NOT get pressured into selecting a clearing place if you do not feel comfortable with it, there are more options than you think.
  1. Call your first and insurance places first, in case they can re-accept you onto the course or offer you a different course.
  1. It is easier said than done, but try to remain calm. I was so upset to start with, but a clear head will allow to you balance your other options.
  1. Everything happens for a reason!


   July 6th, 2020    Clearing, Higher Education, Preparing for University, Undergraduate

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