I have yet to experience the joys and stresses of going through clearing - next year if I don't get into Exeter. Here's hoping! But a friend in the year above me enrolled for an NHS course and eventually had to go through clearing. She phoned and emailed *all* the uni's offering the course she wanted, and eventualy found one that would accept her. But it is costing her more than she was hoping to spend for accomodation and is a few too many hours journey away from her family and boyfriend. The career she intends to go for (NHS) wont exactly have that big a wage as an incentive, either. And two weeks later at least 10 universities, including her no.1 choice on her UCAS form phoned her up and offered her a place due to vacancies. So I guess my advice is not to worry - then again don't wait too long before making your decision.. And good luck - this will quite possibly be the best 3 years of your life!
I had a lousy time during my A-levels. They were the two most miserable years of my life and I did badly as a result. I got my A-level results and needed to find an alternative course. I hunted through the clearing lists and found a course that interested me (Chemistry) at a university in the Midlands (Coventry) because I wanted to stay at home. A phone call to the Admissions tutor (Dr. Julie Saxton, an angel that saved me) and I was told that if I sent her my clearing form then I would get a place. That was in August 1994. Now, six years later I am studying the degree course I originally applied for. My degree had given me the "grades" I needed to get in to do the course I always dreamed of. This is proof of my life philosophy that if you want something badly enough then you'll always get it. My time at Coventry was absolutely wonderful and it rebuilt my self confidence. A-levels had me doubting my own ability but Coventry allowed me to proove to myself that I was capable of anything that I wanted to do. Clearing can get you into University and give you a second chance. If you want to do a degree and clearing is your only way in, do it. What have you got to lose? As I said, my trip through clearing made me the person I am today. I am happy, confident and glad that things happened the way they did. I would never have met some of the people I did if I hadn't gone through clearing all those years ago!
There are a great many clearing stories that I've been involved in or know about, but a couple of particularly outstanding cases spring to mind. First there's a young woman, who I'll call Gemma (not her real name). Gemma had always wanted to be a doctor, since she was a little girl. Her parents worked in medicine and they wanted her to be a doctor too. So she took the appropriate A levels and applied to medical school. It was very tough to be offered a place there but she secured a place and went off to study. She didn't get the grades she needed - nowhere near high enough for medical school. She realised then, that as she'd grown up she didn't want to be a doctor anyway. Her family was furious, but she went to some universities and had a chat with a lot of people about her options. Gemma spent a fortune on train tickets that week, and she told me it was the best money she ever spent. She ended up doing a degree in cosmetic chemistry, at which she did very wel. She now has a high powered job creating very luxurious cosmetics for an international company and travels all over the world. Gemma's very, very happy that she failed to get those grades. Another lad, let's call him Tim, wanted to go into PR in the music industry. His parents weren't keen and his school predicted very poor grades on Tim's UCAS forms - Tim thinks that's because of his piercings and tatoos rather than lack of intellectual ability! Anyway, he got very good A level grades and, like Gemma, spent a lot of time researching what was open to him. Tim took a business studies course, hoping that would be the way into PR. While he was at University he got involved in organising events at the student's union and then became editor of its student newspaper. The combination of his degree and other experience, after a couple of temporary jobs, including one at a music magazine, (which he loved but paid terribly) got him his job as a PR with a big record lab
el. He's now in charge of PR for a number of well-known bands
I know so many clearing success stories I could write a book! Hey - perhaps I should? I used to work in a University and thousands of people approach us through clearing every year. They arrive for a whole host of reasons. Failing to get the A level grades they wanted is one, but many others just didn't complete the application process in time, have been away on a gap year, have had changed circumstances that allowed them to go to Uni etc etc. Many people actually end up on courses which turn out to be infinitely better suited to their aim and ambitions than the one they specifically applied for. But you wanted some stories, OK here goes: 1. Girl A. Didn't know you could do dance at University level and only found out in the summer - so approached us through clearing. She got on our University's dance course, did well and two years after finishing her degree is running her own dance school. 2. Girl B. Went into a job after A levels, hated it and decided to go to University after all. She got onto a media studies course and gained a first class honours degree. She did some further training and is now, three years later, a senior journalist with the Press Association. 3. Bloke A. Got miserable A level results. Our university had launched a new course during the summer which desperately needed some students. We accepted this lad and he got his degree. He now, eight years later, earns almost 100k as an IT manager 4. Mature student A. Took an access course but wasn't predicted to pass so didn't apply to university. She passed with flying colours so came to our University to study politics. She had never had a job before but at 45 embarked on a career as a political researcher. Two years later she's well known in the House of Commons (for all the right reasons, I should say). Enough? OK There are many more. They all made clearing work for them. it can work for you too.