Going to Uni in A City You’ve Never Set Foot In: My Clearing Experience


Results Day was a stressful experience for everyone. Whether you got the grades you wanted, completely missed the mark, got into your first choice or just got into your insurance, it was very stressful. I got in, had made my decisions, was going to my first choice, and then I took a minute and realised that I didn’t want to. 

So, there I am, looking at my results with my mum. She’s really proud of me, and I am too. With the amount of work I had done, I didn’t really understand how I had pulled off those grades. I breathed a sigh of relief – I was going to a good Russell Group uni, to do a tricky degree. It was the uni all of my family had really rooted for, and I liked it too. It would’ve been the icing on the cake after my years at school and sixth form. But I had this overwhelming feeling that I just didn’t want to go to my firm or my insurance, so I was released into clearing, and there were a lot of questions and raised eyebrows from my family and friends.

In to clearing I went and it was a minefield of long phone calls, paperwork and worry. I got offered a spot at Loughborough, the wrong paperwork was sent to me, and it got to the end of August, nearly September, before we knew there had been a mistake. So I was back in clearing. Now, however, there wasn’t much left. So I just put my course into the website, up came Southampton, and I had the right grades. I told my mum and she just urged me to go for it. And I did.

I had never been to Southampton before, except to go to the airport, but once I got here, I knew I’d made the right choice. The perfect combination of city and campus, brilliant halls environments, amazing transport, and a course I genuinely like. It has given me opportunities to join so many societies, work for the students’ union, do shows, write, make amazing friends from around the world and minor in Creative Writing, alongside my Philosophy and Politics degree.

There is such a stigma at A Level about going through clearing, not getting into the best possible uni, and going to somewhere you’ve never been to open and applicant days for. But if you end up in a city you’ve never been in, you can still have an amazing and fulfilling university experience.


I'm a Philosophy and Politics student. I write for The Edge and my own blog where I talk about music, film and theatre. News and Investigations Editor for Wessex Scene. Founder of The Hysteria Collective. An amateur performer and wine enthusiast.

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