16/08/2018 08:22 BST | Updated 16/08/2018 09:33 BST

I Went Through Clearing After Getting Better A Level Results Than I Anticipated

I feel like I was given a second chance to get it right

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Today is a big deal. It marks exam results D-day for many students across the country and is a day they should all be waiting in anticipation for.

But it’s also important for another reason. This is because if, like me, they’re lucky enough to do better than they expected in their exams, it should also be the day they go shopping. Not for some bubbly to celebrate their grades; no, instead, students should go shopping for the best university they can get. I’m talking about adjustment.

Originally, my plan was to study at Chester University as I had an unconditional offer from them. I didn’t actually know much about the adjustment process, which is still the lesser known counterpart of “clearing”. 

This all changed on results day however, when my tutor asked if there was anywhere else I wanted to apply.

I suddenly realised how doing better than I expected in my grades had potentially opened so many doors for me. It was then I told him I wanted to apply for the University of Sheffield and he encouraged me to give it a try - I’m so grateful for his words of wisdom. 

Now, a year on, it’s my turn to pass this wisdom on. I want to take this opportunity to urge savvy students who get their predicted grades or higher to shop around. Everyone’s heard stories about the stress associated with Clearing, but what people don’t realise is the opportunities it can also present via adjustment. Whether it’s looking for a course they prefer the look of more or aiming for the highest ranked university they can get, adjustment definitely comes with a seal of approval from me.

I thought the process would be complicated but I was wrong. I called the University’s Clearing call centre, they just asked me some quick questions, looked over my UCAS and let me know right there and then that they were happy to offer me a place. They even gave me some time to think about it and I had the chance to come to an open day, so I wasn’t pressured at all. As I applied late I also had no idea how I was going to find somewhere to live but I was guaranteed accommodation and still had a choice of where to stay, which really put my mind at ease. 

I remember the nerves in the run-up to exam results day this time last year so vividly. I didn’t ever imagine I would be where I am now and wouldn’t change anything for the world. I’ve really enjoyed my degree so far. It’s been difficult, but I was expecting that and it’s good to be challenged.

As for my social life, I’m loving it. I’ve joined the music players society, had a go at a few different sports and even had a stint on the Students’ Union council.

I realise adjustment isn’t always as smooth a process as it was for me. But I also realise that when you’re investing over £9,000 a year in tuition fees, it’s worth taking the hit on any additional organisation you need to do to make sure your money is being invested in an education you’re totally happy with.

My advice therefore to others this exam results day would be to try not to worry, don’t hold onto your first choice and have an open mind. Clearing and adjustment are an amazing opportunity to ask yourself where you want to go, why you want to go there and what you want from a university. I feel like I was given a second chance to get it right and rethink what was best for me and it’s so important others take the time to do the same. Good luck!