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Eight common myths around Clearing

Clearing doesn't have to mean settling for second best – for many students it can be the gateway to something even better.

Clearing is a way for universities to fill vacant study places once successful applicants have accepted any offers, while also giving applicants an opportunity to study something other than the courses they initially applied for.

Every year, thousands of students find their perfect university course through Clearing.

In fact, almost 67,000 students were accepted through Clearing in 2022, according to Ucas. Let’s set straight some common misconceptions about this route into higher education.

1. Only second-rate universities and courses are available through Clearing

This is far from true – lots of highly ranked universities offer Clearing places each year, so missing out on your first choice definitely isn’t the end of the world. 

This article runs through the 15 highest ranked universities offering places in Clearing for 2023, with top unis such as Warwick, Bath and Loughborough all featuring. 

2. You have to accept your firm choice if you’ve received an offer

Whether or not you get accepted for one of your choices, you can always decline any offer you receive if you discover another course or university that’s better suited to your aspirations, interests or lifestyle – and you don’t have to feel bad about it either.

3. Needing to use Clearing means you’ve failed

Whatever your reason for choosing Clearing is, you should never feel like you’ve failed. In fact, a lot of students go through Clearing because they've had a change of heart about their original choices. 

And if you're in Clearing because you weren’t accepted for the course you had your heart set on, it doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of fantastic opportunities out there.

When it comes down to it, universities are still eagerly looking for students, and they’ll welcome you with open arms on courses of all levels so long as you satisfy their requirements.

4. You can only study the same subject you originally applied for

Whether you’ve had a change of career plan or you just feel like exploring other options, there are no restrictions on what you can apply for through Clearing. You may need to justify your apparent newfound interest in a subject to your potential new university, but when it gets to this stage the world is your oyster (as long as you have the required grades, of course).

Take a look at this article about choosing your university course in Clearing for more advice about making a decision. 

5. Going through Clearing is difficult and time consuming

The initial shock of discovering that you won’t be studying where you expected to can bring about a feeling of despair, but applying through Clearing doesn’t have to be stressful. 

Our article explaining how to call universities about Clearing places should help put your mind at ease about the whole process. 

6. You’ll be accepted onto a course immediately

Many people think of Clearing as a mad rush that all happens in an instant. The reality is that universities offering Clearing places still want to make careful decisions, which means that you’ll have time to really consider your options. It’s also good to know that you might still need to attend an interview, just as you would if you’d applied earlier.

7. You need to have applied before the end of June to have access to Clearing

Clearing is also open to those who have made a late decision to go to university this year – so there’s still hope of landing a place at a top university if you didn’t quite get your application in before the deadline.

8. Everyone will know you’ve applied through Clearing

Once you’ve been accepted by a university, you will be treated in just the same way as all the other students. You don’t have to worry about being singled out because of your grades or your chosen route into university, so you’ve done just as well as everyone else to earn a place on your course.

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