Written by Idris, studying MSc Social and Organisational Psychology. Also studied BSc (Hons) Psychology at the University of Exeter 2018-2021.


Before I received my IB results in 2018, I consulted my University Guidance Counsellor about Clearing as a contingency plan in case things didn’t go my way. I learnt what I needed to do should I ever end up in that position and I felt prepared with having a contingency plan. When I received my IB result, they did not meet the requirements of my chosen Universities therefore as soon as it was confirmed I got into Clearing, that was when I enacted my plan.

Here are tips that I would advise regarding Clearing:


Tip 1: Call your initial university choices to see if they can reconsider your application

Do this tip BEFORE you OFFICIALLY enter Clearing. If when you receive your results, you miss your expected grades (for example you receive AAB while your conditional offer was AAA), I would strongly encourage you to phone your chosen universities’ admissions directly to see if they can reconsider your application before you release yourself into Clearing. Some cases they would reconsider your application even if you’re a grade off. Email works as well, but I found that directly calling the admissions department allowed me to get the answer faster. If both your chosen universities decided to not consider you anymore, then check out the next tip.


Tip 2: Check out other universities if they do Clearing

There are so many ways to go about this. Chances are there may have been other universities that you’ve considered before making your two choices in UCAS, and that means you might know a thing or two about those universities. Alternatively, you could look to education agencies for support/guidance and see if they could suggest universities that are on Clearing for the course that you are applying to. If for example, you wanted to study Psychology like me, you could google something like “UK university psychology clearing” and university clearing website links will pop up. Just bear in mind that some universities do not do Clearing.


Tip 3: Contact Universities about Clearing

Universities that do Clearing will usually have their own Clearing page. That was how I came across Exeter given that I was in the same position. I went to Exeter’s clearing page and found the course that I wanted to do. To be safe, I then called the admissions team to verify whether the grades that I had was acceptable for Clearing, and they said yes. After that, it was a smooth process where I was supported well by the admissions department, I applied via the website, my application was accepted and then I officially applied via UCAS as well.


Tip 4: Have faith

The wait can be stressful, trust me I know. I was lucky that my IB results came out earlier than A-Levels given that I had time to prepare for Visa Applications etc. since I am an international student. However, I would say that if you follow the tips I had mentioned above, you should be alright until you receive the official offer letter from Exeter via email.


Tip 5: You DESERVE to be there

Freshers’ week, adjusting to a new environment, meeting LOADS of new people, it can be overbearing. Not to mention, just because you got in via Clearing, doesn’t mean you’re less deserving of a spot at Exeter. Imposter syndrome is real and I say this because this was what I experienced for a good chunk of my first year. It’s easy to feel that way but don’t be. Yes, you may underperform in your results but coming to University can be your chance to start with a clean slate! I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to get into University but I ended up graduating with a 2:1 from my BSc Psychology course, and I am now also about to finish my Masters in Social and Organisational Psychology here in Exeter as well!

Tip 6: Embrace your time at uni and challenge yourself

University is literally a time where you can experiment with who you want to be and what you want to pursue in. That may come in the form of sports that you want to try in, or societies that you want to be a part of. We have over 300 sports clubs and societies in Exeter, so there’s literally a place for anyone! You can even apply to start your own society if you want to. 3 or 4 years will pass by very quickly and you will go through a lot of learning and discovery during that time. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, do try out new things and get out of your comfort zone. Your university experience is yours to shape. The past 4 years I’ve managed to travel to Spain for a conference, fenced for the university in sports matches, worked part-time as a Student Ambassador, fought 2 amateur boxing matches and became President of the Postgraduate Society! All of this is possible and it is up to you how you want to craft your own path. I wish you all the best with Clearing and I hope you consider Exeter as a destination.


Further information:

Clearing website – https://www.exeter.ac.uk/study/clearing/