“I didn’t know people who did better than they thought could go through clearing.“
Preston-bred Elizabeth Craine is studying for a BA (Hons) in Marketing with PR, but despite excellent academic predictions she wasn’t always certain that university was for her.
“If I’m being 100% honest, I always saw the clearing process as the route people go down if they didn’t do very well in their A Levels or BTEC. I didn’t know people who did better than they thought could go through clearing.
I never wanted to say that I went through clearing because, honestly, I thought it was where the people who failed went. My personal tutor in college made it clear that I would get into my desired university and that clearing wasn’t even an option, so the clearing process became a process I never wanted to go down because it would have made me feel like a failure.
Originally I didn’t want to go to university because I wasn’t sure it was the right path for me; turns out it most definitely was. I went to visit my then-boyfriend at his flat at Edge Hill the day after he moved in and I instantly loved the place. I’d never visited the University before but just fell in love with the campus and how everything was in close proximity, much like my college; everything in one place.
I suddenly wanted to live the independent life at uni. That night, I made a decision to come to university. I originally applied to study Ancient History at five other universities. I studied classical civilisation and loved it, but I just knew it wasn’t right for me and I wanted to go into marketing and business. After a looooooong conversation with my parents, I rang Edge Hill the next day and asked if they had any places available on the Marketing with PR course. It instantly appealed to me and really made me decide on what I wanted to do in the future.
I got A*A*B in my A Levels so could have gone on to study law somewhere but decided against it when I saw Edge Hill. I’ve never regretted the decision.
I got onto the Marketing with PR course instantly. I just rang the Edge Hill Clearing hotline and they directed me to the business school. I spoke to someone about why I wanted to take the course and was then directed to the administration team where they processed my application.
The experience was very smooth, no big hurdles to clear, no hard questions or paperwork to complete. It was so simple. I honestly thought it would be a lot harder and people would think I was weird for suddenly deciding to come to a uni I’d only been to once.
My advice to anyone going through clearing would be to remember not to be afraid and think you’re anything less just because you went through clearing rather than the traditional route. It definitely changed my perspective of clearing and I most definitely didn’t feel like a failure given my results. If anything, I felt very strong; I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life if I didn’t take these three years to study and finally decide, and the clearing process allowed me to do this.
Also, if you’re not sure you want to go to university and don’t want to risk it, remember that nothing is ever permanent. If you don’t like university after thinking it was for you, there’s no harm in dropping out. For me, it was the best risk I ever took.
Before I started, I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do as a career. If it wasn’t for the course, and the events and opportunities I’ve had because of it, I wouldn’t be any wiser about a career, or about the kind of person I want to be.”
“The Edge Hill ducks just crack me up. They’re everywhere and always quacking away.”
“I lived on campus in my first year. Because I applied late, I was worried I wouldn’t get a nice room with an en suite. Originally, I was going to move into a hall where I’d share a bathroom and I reeeeeally didn’t want to. Then, on the morning I was going to sign the papers, I got an email saying a room was available and I replied within a minute saying “YES PLEASE!!”
I loved living in halls. Having your own personal space as well as a communal one. Being close to the SU, the shop, and, of course, all of the educational buildings was so convenient and no time was ever wasted. I’m moving into Woodland Court for 3rd year and couldn’t be more excited.
The Edge Hill ducks just crack me up. They’re everywhere and always quacking away. They remind me of home as well – in Wrea Green, we have a small duck pond and everywhere you turn there’s a duck just sitting there like, ‘hey’.”
I followed Edge Hill once I was fully enrolled so I didn’t miss any of the other fresher events and other things going on and have always been entertained by the Campus Life pages. I’m actually going to be helping to run the social media pages in my 3rd year as a job. I want to go into social media marketing, so it’s perfect for me.”
“If you don’t want city life but still want that independent buzz of life, Ormskirk is the perfect place.”
“It’s so simple, but the events they put on in the SU have been some of the best nights of my life, and the most unforgettable.
One memory that stands out for me is the first night my best friend and I sang at the Friday Night Karaoke. We sang Love Story by Taylor Swift, badly might I add (well I was, anyway, hahaha), but it was amazing to have everyone cheering us and clapping and singing along. The adrenaline made us want to do more, and every Friday night from then on we attended karaoke – and sang every night.
In addition to karaoke, we always went to the quiz on Monday night. I met some of my bestest friends there. They were in 3rd year when we were in 1st year and have left and gone on to live their lives doing various things (one’s at the BBC in Salford, another’s a teacher, and another’s an accountant in Guernsey) but we’re all still best friends, speak every day, and they encourage us all the time.
I would describe Ormskirk as a small but busy town. It has everything a student would need but in small doses; it has a couple of clubs, discount shops like B&M, Home Bargains, Aldi, Poundland…, as well as a couple of clothes shops. If you don’t want city life but still want that independent buzz of life, Ormskirk is the perfect place. And it’s only half an hour away from Liverpool (which has become my favourite city) if you need more. I’ve always loved Dinky Dory. It’s so small and sweet and OMG, under £2 for unlimited hot chocolate that you can add flavoured syrups to. Who doesn’t want that?”
There are lots of phrases and words associated with applying to university and the Clearing process that you’ll see used across UCAS and university websites. We want to make the process totally stress-free so we’ve put together this jargon buster to help you better understand the process.
Adjustment: On results day, if you have met or exceeded the requirements for your conditional offers then you can use the UCAS Adjustment service. You may be able to get on a different course at an alternative university with higher entry requirements. You can still hold your original confirmed place whilst you shop around.
Admissions: The department within Edge Hill University that processes applications and makes the decisions on applications.
Apply: The name of the UCAS online application system.
Applicant number: A ten digit number assigned by UCAS. Sometimes referred to as a UCAS ID.
Campus Tour: A chance to look around the university buildings and facilities. If you can’t make it to an Open Day, this is a great opportunity to see the campus. During Clearing we’ll be running them every working day from Thursday 15th – Friday 23rd August. Find out more.
Campus University: A university situated on one dedicated site, with student accommodation, teaching and research facilities, and leisure activities all together. Edge Hill is a campus university, and we’ve won awards for our beautiful surroundings!
Changed course offer: You might get one of these if you haven’t met the conditions of the offer you accepted. It might involve a different start date or a different course altogether.
Clearing: Clearing is the system that operates after UCAS Extra has closed in July. It allows students without a university place, or those who want to change their mind, to apply for courses at universities where there are still spaces.
Conditional offer: The offer of a place on a course, which is dependent on certain conditions being met, for example, achieving certain grades of medical clearance.
Deferred entry: If you apply for a place but want to start university the following year. If you are taking a Gap Year you may want to consider this option, then you can return for your year knowing that your university place is sorted.
Extra: Extra is the UCAS service you can use to apply for alternative places if you do not hold an offer from your first five choices. It closes at the end of June.
Firm choice: The university you accept as your first choice following your UCAS application. If you get the grades you need this is the university you will be going to in September.
Gap Year: A year away from education before going to university. You may want to use the time to travel or gain work experience and additional qualifications.
Higher Education (HE): The level of education that involves undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The next step after sixth form or college.
Insurance choice: The university you accept as your backup choice following your UCAS application. If you don’t get the grades for your firm choice university you may have your place confirmed at your insurance choice.
Offer: An official offer of a place on a course from Edge Hill University. This can be conditional or unconditional.
Open Days: The university is open for those considering an application. The day includes campus tours, subject talks, accommodation tours, finance talks and the chance to get your questioned answered. Edge Hill’s next Open Day is on Saturday 17th August. Book your place now.
Prospectus: Guides produced by individual universities detailing the unique information about that university and the course it offers. Also available online via our website at edgehill.ac.uk/study
Tariff: The points system for entry into higher education. Some offers of places are expressed in terms of a tariff point score rather than grades.
Track: The UCAS online system that allows applicants to check the status of their application.
UCAS: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. This is the organisation that handles nearly all university applications.
Unconditional offer: The offer made by the admissions team which does not depend on reaching certain targets. Often used when a student has already taken their exams and achieved the required grades.
First off, don’t panic. Do. Not. Panic. Enjoy your post-exams educational hiatus, secure in the knowledge that if your A levels/BTECs haven’t gone quite the way you hoped, you will still have plenty of options.
Here are a few points that may be useful to bear in mind come mid-August. Even if you equal or surpass expectations, your UCAS application was an awfully long time ago, and maybe you’ve been having second thoughts. Nothing wrong with changing your mind – we all do.
So, once the results are in, go for that drink with your mates who may have successfully negotiated the path to their first or second choice uni – be happy for them, enjoy a lie-in the next day, then start to plan your next move. There’s no rush – whatever universities tell you. The Clearing season lasts for a few weeks for a reason – and our lines are open from July 5th – September 20th.
When the time is right, here’s a nine-step guide to finding your way to university via the road less travelled.
1 You are not alone, to paraphrase The X Files’ Fox Mulder. Thousands pass through Clearing every year. Some people even bypass UCAS altogether, as Physical Education and School Sport student Kennedy told us: “Clearing is easy – no personal statements, no applications, no interviews.”
2 Whatever else you may be feeling, do not feel embarrassed. Embarrassment is irrelevant. You may have missed out by one mark. You may have had a bad day back then. One clearing student broke her hand the week before. Stuff happens. Once you’re in, you’re in. Clean slate.
3 Fools rush in….take time to reflect. Both before and during the clearing process. This is a gilt-edged opportunity to reassess what you want to do. You may still want to study your UCAS choices, of course, but this is also a second chance to a) tailor your options, and b) cherry-pick a course that suits both your qualifications and your interests.
4 Clearing is also a chance to go entirely off-piste. For some courses, and particularly Arts and Social Science programmes, your A levels/BTEC results are just an indication of your ability to learn. You can start an entirely new subject from scratch, for example Law. Tom saw a vacancy on our Music Production course during Clearing. He had no formal qualifications, but loved music. One box ticked. And played in a band. The course was practical, so that was another box ticked. He convinced the tutor in a phone conversation, and he’s now on target to graduate this summer.
5 Of course, you can always take the scenic route. Consider a gap year – working, travelling, recharging, retaking, snake-charming. Whatever you choose to do with it, you can secure your place now, and enjoy a year out safe in the knowledge that your year-end destination is fixed. You will be bringing twelve months of new experiences with you – and you know anecdotes about wrestling a crocodile beat a chat about A Levels every day of the week.
6 Talk, talk. To friends, to family, to your teachers. They know stuff. But also talk to us. We are most definitely not in the business of destroying dreams – but meet us halfway, sell us your dream. If we think you can handle the course, you’re in. Life’s what you make it.
7 And it’s always your call. It’s your life, after all. You may find yourself under pressure from universities to accept an offer immediately. You don’t. Take your time, do further research – where will you live etc, talk some more (see 6), possibly over a cuppa. Make the decision that works for you, and in your own good time.
8 It’s never too late. Clearing opens on Friday 5th July 2019, and closes about a week before term starts.
9 Finally, stay positive. This is an opportunity – to re-evaluate your future, to re-set your goals, and to spend time in uni halls voted the Best in the UK in the National Student Housing Awards 2018. Now, who could that be?