Clearing is a symbol of opportunity, not failure, Coventry University expert says  

Coventry University’s (@covcampus) student recruitment expert Rob McGowan says Clearing should be seen as a monumental opportunity and not a disappointment, despite common misconceptions.  

With more than 70,000 student applicants placed into Higher Education through Clearing in the UK alone in 2020 according to UCAS figures, Clearing can be a crucial time which can help shape and transform educational and professional career prospects for many people.  

However, like many students, you might think Clearing is a last-ditch attempt to get into university if nowhere else will take you – right? Wrong.  

Clearing is simply the name for the process by which last-minute offers are made to students. It’s all about giving yourself the widest   possible range of options.  

You can go through Clearing if:  

 You’ve changed your mind about what or where you want to study  

 You haven’t applied for university yet and you don’t want to wait another year  

 You didn’t get the required grades for your initial chosen university   

 You did better than expected and want to apply for a different university or degree  

Coventry University’s Group Director of Recruitment and Admissions Rob McGowan has given his expert insight into Clearing, busting some old and outdated myths and misconceptions.  

Myth 1 - Clearing is just for people who have failed  

“Absolutely not. This idea is just a reflection of some very outdated views. Clearing is for students who want to change direction – perhaps you’ve missed the UCAS deadline or have had a change of heart about what or where you want to study.   

“We often see people deliberately put themselves into Clearing by rejecting all of their UCAS choices. People also do better than expected on results day and think perhaps there are other options out there. So, for them, Clearing is a way to trade up and study something they previously thought wasn’t an option for them.”  

“There’s also no way to tell how anyone was enrolled anyway, regardless of whether you were made a conditional offer 12 months ago or got your place through Clearing just weeks before your first day.”  

Myth 2 - It’s too late to choose a completely new course  

“One of the great things about Clearing is that it can be a real eye-opener to courses and career paths people may have never previously considered.   

“As long as you meet the course requirements and are a good match, you don’t necessarily need to have previously studied the course subject to be accepted onto a course.  

“Just remember to keep an open mind – who knows what fascinating career path you might find yourself on?”  

Myth 3 - Clearing is just a way to fill a course that nobody wants to study  

“There are many reasons why courses aren’t full on results day, and universities can be pretty flexible about how many students they accept onto a course – it’s unusual these days for a course to be completely full, although some courses will fill up before Clearing due to limited workshop space or availability of compulsory placements.   

Myth 4 - Clearing is hectic. I’ll be on the phone from 8am and will have to make a rushed decision on the spot.  

“Clearing can be hectic, but there’s a lot you can do to prepare. It’s all in the planning, so make sure you do your research and see what’s on offer.   Even if you don’t have your grades, you can start contacting universities to see what’s on offer.  

“When it comes to the big day, the idea that once you receive an offer, you must decide there and then is a myth. Even if you’ve been offered a place early on in the day, you can’t accept anything until 3pm on results day, when UCAS track reopens.   

“So really, you’ll have plenty of time to consider your options and make a calm, rational decision about your future.”  

Clearing could be the start of something amazing. Find out more about Coventry University’s Clearing Hub.  

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