Four common university clearing myths that need busting!

Are you hoping to go to university? What happens if you don’t get onto your chosen course? Discover four university clearing myths that need busting!

There are a lot of myths surrounding the university experience. Whether you’ve been told that students don’t cook or that the only people who go to university are rich, there will be stories or expectations that have been built up over time.

One of the more common things that is built up over time is a negative perception of accessible methods for applying to university. Clearing, in particular, has received a lot of negative stigmas.

In this article, a spokesperson from Heriot-Watt University busts four common clearing myths to give you an idea of why the process can be so useful, despite the unfortunate negative connotations associated with it.

1) “Clearing is only for people who did badly in their exams”

This is possibly the most common myth surrounding clearing, and a lot of the stigma towards it comes from this. While it is the best option if your grades were not what you expected, there are plenty of reasons to even have a quick look even if you’ve obtained the results you want.

You make your first and secondary choices for your course months in advance of your results getting released. It is understandable that while waiting for them that you might have a change of heart. Having the option to find a university and course that suits you is useful because you never know where your interests or career paths may lead.

2) “No one goes through clearing”

Clearing is far more common than people realise, and grades aren’t always the reason for using the feature. In 2021 alone, over 11,000 applicants were accepted onto degree courses by going through clearing. With numbers that high, to assume it’s down to grades is an assumption.

It’s not just university hopefuls in the UK who go through the process either. UCAS reported that each year, over 5,500 international and EU applications come through Clearing.

3) “The courses on clearing are the ones nobody wants”

Another common myth is that courses listed on clearing are “bad” or “unwanted” just because they’re on clearing. This also isn’t true. There’s no rule for what courses or universities can appear in clearing.

While you can’t predict what will be offered through clearing each year, there is always the chance that students may have doubts, decide to defer, or choose a different course. This means that spots will open up that the university would like to fill, giving you the opportunity to apply for the potential place.

Results have shown that courses that appear on clearing can be a positive prospect for the students who apply through the system. UCAS found in a survey that 83% of students who applied for university through clearing in 2020 were satisfied with their choice.

4) “If I go through clearing then I’m leaving my uni choice to the last minute”

There aren’t too many moving parts to figure out with clearing, but it can feel a bit daunting. Knowing what you can and can’t apply for when there’s such a wealth of choice feels tricky, but once you’ve got that knowledge it’s all straightforward.

Firstly, you don’t have to apply for the same course you did in the initial application process. And you’re allowed to apply to universities that previously rejected you. There are no rules as to what you can apply to through clearing, so you can apply whether you like the look of a particular city’s university or the course they offer.

Secondly, there’s the worry from some that they’ll miss out on courses or universities because of a rush on Results Day. While there will always be some stress in any application process, this myth comes from a lot of the other myths around clearing.

Every year, a lot of work is put into making sure the clearing process is smooth and with plenty of support. You can also use one of the many tools and resources available to make sure you’re ready for it.

The thought of missing out on the university experience when you’re set on it is heartbreaking. Clearing is an important tool and system in order to make sure those who want to get to experience higher education.

Misconceptions surrounding the process, such as the difficulty of application or implied ridicule, need to be dispelled. It’s great for anyone unsure of their choices or who has changed their mind since making them, and you could discover courses you didn’t even realise existed.

Photo by Vadim Sherbakov