Students Josh and Libby sit side by side recording a podcast. They both have headphones on and are sat at microphones. Libby is looking over at Josh while he talks.

What is Clearing?

Steffy and Josh applied to BCU through Clearing and never looked back! They discuss their journey through Clearing and their advice for applicants going through the process.

Clearing - give us a call card - clearing hotline

Clearing 2024

If you're considering your options for university this year, Clearing is a way for students to find the right course and university. Whether you aren't sure you'll meet your predicted grades, you've changed your mind about your firm choice, or you haven't applied yet, Clearing could be for you!

Find out more about Clearing

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[00:00:02] Speaker 1 Hi, I'm Ethan. [00:00:03] Speaker 2 I'm Libby. [00:00:04] Speaker 1 And we're both first year students at Birmingham City University. [00:00:07] Speaker 2 This is the Get Ready for Uni podcast. We talk about our experience of our first year and also give you guys top tips on how to start uni. [00:00:13] Speaker 1 And if you're looking for more tips for starting uni, you can visit BCU's free Get ready for uni hub or if you're looking at going through clearing, there is loads of information on the BCU website. [00:00:22] Speaker 2 Make sure to follow BCU across all social media channels. [00:00:25] Speaker 1 So Libby, what are we going to be talking about today? [00:00:27] Speaker 2 So as you mentioned, it's a clearing episode today. So we're actually here with Josh and Steffi, who are both students who came here to BCU through clearing. Clearing actually opens on the 5th of July this year. But for most people you can apply through Clearing once you've got your results, which is August 17th of this year. So if you guys would just like to introduce yourselves. [00:00:49] Speaker 3 Hello. Thank you for having me. My name is Joshua and I'm currently studying landscape architecture at Birmingham City University. [00:00:57] Speaker 4 Hi, my name is Steffi and I'm going into my third year and I study biomedical sciences. [00:01:02] Speaker 2 Okay, So do you guys want to go more in-depth about how you actually went through clearing?And we'll start with you, Josh. [00:01:08] Speaker 3 Yes. So basically I started my clearing journey. Primarily, I chose Sheffield University as my primary choice to study landscape architecture. But after going through a few open days at Birmingham City University, I found it was more comfortable. It felt more home, because I am from Worcester primarily, and Birmingham felt very homely city and when I was comparing like Sheffield and Birmingham, universities are both good, but then I was just picking on purely the locations. Sheffield just didn't feel quite right. And because it was in the height of the pandemic, I was sort of like, I just doubt I'm going to have an enjoyable experience at Sheffield because it's so far away from home and so far away from everything I know. I know people in Birmingham and it was just very much more comfortable. So when it came to Results Day, I had the results I had. I got accepted for my first and secondary choice, but I denied them both and went through clearing to get into Birmingham City University, which has proven very successful for me because I'm graduating.. [00:02:22] Speaker 2 That's very good. That's quite interesting that how you decided to change your mind. It's not just like you didn't get the grades, you actually just decided actually is not for me. I'm just going to go and change my mind now. [00:02:31] Speaker 3 Because the the original choice of why I wanted to go to Sheffield. It was so-called classes, the Oxford University for Landscape architecture. And I was sort of like, I want to have the best. But in some ways like, well, to be honest, it's not really that better because I still feel I had a very solid, good education and degree at Birmingham City University. And to be honest, I am more successful here than I would have thought I would be at Sheffield, to be honest. So that's why I picked it. [00:03:03] Speaker 2 It's quite interesting, actually. What about you, Steffi? What was your journey into actually going through clearing. [00:03:09] Speaker 4 Mines quite similar to Josh's as well, because during the pandemic I was looking for universities and I got accepted to Glasgow. And obviously it's very far from home. Quite far, quite far, quite far, and it didn't really work out. So I tried looking for different unis and my parents advised me, Why don't you go to BCU? It's more closer to home. It's a bus journey away. Why not come here? And I've enjoyed it since then. [00:03:34] Speaker 2 Yeah. Did you You got the grades but you wanted you to change your mind as well? [00:03:39] Speaker 4 Yeah, I got the grades as well. And there wasn't much after that. It was a very straightforward journey. [00:03:45] Speaker 2 So I think the kind of the pandemic maybe changed your views, maybe like on what uni you wanted to go to? [00:03:53] Speaker 4 Yeah, I would say yeah. [00:03:54] Speaker 2 That's quite interesting. [00:03:55] Speaker 1 Sounds like similar stories, isn't it? Yeah. [00:03:57] Speaker 2 Yeah. I feel. I feel like because you guys are quite close in age and like your year may have shaped the way that you've chosen. But, you know, I think it's different to the normal type of clearing because usually it's quite, people are usually quite stressed about it, aren't they? Like, you know, loads of students go through it every year and it's usually this thing that you're meant to be anxious about and quite scared. And you know, it's quite a lot to get your head around before you guys mention that. I just thought, you know, clearing would probably be a thing where you'd only do it if you didn't get the grades that you wanted for that university. A bit of a secondary choice. [00:04:27] Speaker 1 I felt like that's like a really big misconception of that, because obviously, you know, you've got people here which they got the grades, but they just didn't want to go to the uni they thought they wanted to at the start. So yeah, like, you know. [00:04:38] Speaker 2 I feel for you guys. Yeah. You guys especially that, you know, you at least you were quite clear on that, you know, you know, even though is classed as the best, you know, that's not what I want, actually, I want that. And it's quite brave, actually. To be fair, I probably would have just stuck with my option. know I've already picked it. Now I'm not going to change, but I feel like that's quite good that you actually use the clearing, which was quite a like a scary thing. For like younger students and you kind of went with your own, your own gut and your own decision, which I kind of like as well for both of you, really like changing your minds. I mean, Glasgow is quite far, is very far away. But I feel like I'm especially for like people who are going very clearing and like usually before, like if I was in sixth form, we got told that like people to go through clearing and it's just people who are unsuccessful. If you didn't get what you wanted or you didn't like, you didn't get the grades that you needed or work hard enough, that was basically what was drilled into us. So it's nice to kind of see a different side to it. Did you guys think you'd ever, like, go through clearing or did you never think of it? [00:05:37] Speaker 4 No, only because obviously the bad misconceptions oh it's like you've failed and not good enough. And that was the sort of thing that was around social media. But when I actually, like, got that phone call and I spoke to the lady on the phone, it was like, What? Like, this is not what I thought it was and it was so comfortable. And I'm sure you probably can say the same as well. [00:06:01] Speaker 3 But when it came to the time, I was sort of like, if there's one thing you need to know about me, I'm a bit of a pendulum. I swap my decisions, so I just swing from one extreme side to the other. But basically when it came to results, I had results and I saw that, oh, I got accepted from Sheffield. I wasn't really expecting to get accepted by them. I was sort of like tossing and turning with mum saying, I don't know, I don't know. I do like Birmingham, but it's sort of like this is like was my primary choice. Like should I not be taking it? I'm just what Josh, what is it you really want? What makes you feel more like, Yeah, I want to do this. Go for it. Sheffield just felt I can't just do it. I can't just jump into it because it just didn't feel right. And when it came to it, I was sort of like, okay, let's go for this go process and see where we get from there from the other side. And to be honest, I was a little bit worried because it was like, if this doesn't go right, if I don't get it, then I've lost my primary choice. I lost both choices. And I was like, okay, But I leaped for it and yeah, I'm I'm leaving the university with a high 2:1, 2% away from my first . So, so so yeah, I'm proud of what I've done. And to be honest, I don't regret it. I don't regret it. [00:07:29] Speaker 2 It that's a good thing. Yeah. I feel like you guys have kind of come out on the positive side of clearing. I mean, there's no negative side to it at all, but I feel like for people who are looking to go to university, it is quite a nerve wracking thing and there's loads of stigma and negativity around it. [00:07:42] Speaker 1 Like there's definitely of a stigma around like, you. [00:07:44] Speaker 2 Know, and. [00:07:45] Speaker 1 It's like, like you touched on, you know, I always saw it as this, like, really scary thing, Like I didn't go through it myself, but everything I heard from it was always negative. Like I never had a positive. And then when you really, like, take a deeper dive into it, it's like it's nothing like what? You know. [00:08:02] Speaker 2 It's just a change of decisions. Yeah, I feel it. They they expect everyone to know what they want to do from young age. I feel like because you have like obviously sixth forms and colleges, you'd be right. You're doing UCAS now, even though you've done all these subjects your entire life and you've done all of this and now you've studied some three or four subjects or maybe even one the last two years, you now have to make a decision on if you're going to university or not and what you want to do, and within these next three months. So I felt like I felt it's really important to like, kind of speak about how positive actually clearing and can be. It can secure your space in university, can give you that three or four years of, you know, education and also like life experiences. [00:08:41] Speaker 1 So for both of you, did you guys do any like research before going throughgoing through clearing yourself? [00:08:45] So personally for me, I literally on the day I googled it,went on UCAS why don't you just look at the clearing? And that was that I did not do any prior research. I probably just like diveD in and just like. Hope we don't drown, basically. [00:09:02] Speaker 1 Would you say it's like quite an easy process that,quite simple? [00:09:06] Speaker 2 I feel like you just can't do it on a whim, so you already know what someone is doing, stuff like that. So it wasn't. [00:09:10] Speaker 3 AS Yeah, I didn't have to research what other courses or what other universities. [00:09:13] Speaker 2 Yeah. [00:09:14] Speaker 1 So you kind of just sat on. [00:09:16] Speaker 2 You know. And then what about you? Did you do any research as well? [00:09:19] Speaker 4 Um, not. Not so much as I can remember. All I did was have a look at biomedical sciences like the BCU page and have a skim through it. Read some of the modules I'll be studying and whether that would make me happy. And I just dived into the deep end. [00:09:38] Speaker 2 Yeah. So you guys both kind of went out on a limb and just went for it and was like, Well, I might see how it goes. Yeah, and it's going quite well. [00:09:46] Speaker 1 Was BCU Like the only kind of uni that you were looking at or were there other unis as well. [00:09:52] Speaker 4 There was other unis. [00:09:53] Speaker 1 So did you make any other phone calls to those or was it kind of just BCU? [00:09:57] Speaker 4 Um, I think it was one of the unis, but I can't remember what uni is. I don't think that phone call went down as well as the bcu one No, it was really nice to just speak to that lady because I remember I was so sorry I couldn't, I just felt uneasy and when I got off the phone call it was just like a burden. [00:10:23] Speaker 3 Birmingham was my only University I was applying through clearing, I do remember the phone call very vividly because it was with the head of departments. He loved me. It's like, Yeah, I don't worry. You got a place, basically, you know, you just. You just come in, you come in. You have a lovely time. He was, like, really ever enthusiastic because I met him on the open days and he was like, very impressed with my current knowledge. And so, like, my ambitions, we've really vibed and yeah. [00:11:02] Speaker 2 So you got you kind of both set on BCU for clearing for your courses then, which is kind of good. [00:11:08] Speaker 1 Definitely. [00:11:09] Speaker 2 Do you guys have any like tips or advice for anyone who may be going through clearing or may want to like on how to not feel stressed or anxious or like, you know, stigmatised? [00:11:19] Speaker 4 I would say take a couple of deep breaths because it's not as scary as what people put on social media. Like, Obviously, I've explained and I'm sure Josh has explained his experience, there are positive outcomes to it. Don't listen to the crowd like, breath, make sure that you have like your stuff ready, like your results and, um. And be honest. Yeah. Don't hide. Like, just be honest. Explain your situation. And there's people on the phone that understand what you're going through. And obviously, now that we given our experience, um, yeah, it's. It's not as bad as you think it might be. [00:11:56] Speaker 2 Yeah. Any tips from you, Josh? [00:11:58] Speaker 3 Um, well, I just to be honest, there's not much tips I can give because I was just sort of like I was just benign. I was very numb by the whole situation. I was just sort of like, Okay, let's hold our breath, see how long we can hold it for. And it was just all it all happened in one day. I had applied through the clearing, had the call on the day, I had the decision on the day. So it was just a very numb day, it just all happened. [00:12:24] Speaker 1 So when you look back on that, do you think you'd want to say like, have a bit more time to prepare yourself? Or do you think like how you did it? It was just kind of good. [00:12:35] Speaker 3 But to be honest, if I changed any way anything about it, I think I would have different results here, just to be honest. You know, I don't regret anything because I remember any decisions. I was trying not to at least and I certainly don't regret coming to this university. I've met brilliant people and I've worked on amazing projects for my years here, and I've had some really good lectures. Obviously, the first year was during lockdown, so it was a bit challenging. But once we got past that, year, the second, the third, I just met so many great people and did some great things. So no regrets. No regrets. [00:13:11] Speaker 1 So does anyone have any more tips? [00:13:13] Speaker 4 Um, I would say have a look at the course that you're applying for because a lot of the time you have students that are desperate that just want to study anything but have a look at the course that you're applying for. Don't just look at the name of the course. I think I'll I'll go for this one because it sounds interesting, though. Have a look on the website. As for myself, I had a look at biomedical sciences. We have six courses, Anatomy, Physiology. So find out whether it's got assessments or coursework or exams because some people are more practical, some people like exams. I've got a bit of both. Well, so that was good for me. [00:13:53] Speaker 2 It's quite interesting though, because I don't think many people do their research in like UCAS when they go for clearing. I feel like because they're so. Overwhelmed by the whole experience. I feel like they kind of overlook the fact that they they actually kind of just like, didn't do it like you did quite a bit of research. So. And you seem to be enjoying your course. So I guess it's a good tip to let you know if you want to stay on the course, make sure it's enjoying yourself. Definitely go and do your research because, you know, might have like you might be a sandwich course you might not even realise it might be like placement somewhere where you might be doing something else. [00:14:25] Speaker 1 So did either of you go to an open day at BCUbefore you applied then? [00:14:29] Speaker 3 I did. I, I went to the open day in like February of just before COVID. Oh, it was a magical experience, to be honest. I must admit that it was like the whole place was filled with new potential students, and we were going all around the place. But then I happened to swear myself into the landscape architecture group and started talking to the lecturers. There I was God, they loved me. They did. They had a department was like, Yes, yes, we want you, we want you kind of thing. But because BCU wasn't my primary choice. Like, you know, I had to call up through clearing to get it to be my primary choice. And the head of department remembered me very vividly. I said, Yeah, I remember you. Don't worry. You got yourself a place, still want you here kind of thing. And I felt so I was like, Oh. No way. Do you remember me? Oh, this is. I got good vibes. I got goose bumps. They remembered me. I was like, Yeah, yeah, I think I picked the right university. [00:15:30] Speaker 2 That's quite cute that how they remembered you. I feel like that, you know, you made your your first impression already before the uni opened is you didn't. Did you go to any. Sorry. [00:15:39] Speaker 4 Um, no, I didn't. [00:15:40] Speaker 2 I feel like with with open days, it's a good way to kind of get a feel of how the university might actually be. Like you said earlier, you know, about doing your research into the course and stuff like that. It's kind of like another version of doing that. You know, if you go to an open day, you can look around, see what's there and do all that. Do you do you regret not going to open days or do you feel like it kind of helped you pave your way to like how you actually went through clearing? [00:16:04] Speaker 4 I kind of regretted not going only because I didn't get a chance to like speak to the lecturers that i'd have, but at the same time I learnt a lot on the way and. Yeah. Yeah. [00:16:17] Speaker 1 I felt like going into an open day kind of get your like foot in the door as well. It's like what you say, you know, how they remembered you. So it's like, oh you know, I've been recognised so it might have given you like a bit more, bit more brownie points like, you know to get in. [00:16:33] Speaker 2 Actually got some questions here guys from the student room if we can answer some of them. So the first question here says, I didn't apply to university, but I've had a change of mind. So would I be able to apply to university through clearing even though I didn't apply in January? [00:16:48] Speaker 3 Well, short answer. Yes, that's that's the short answer. But the process you will have to make a UCAS account before you go through the clearing process. You can do that on the day you don't have to pre made it like in January when it was all open before it could be all fresh and new. You don't actually have to do too much to it. It just gives you the key and lock to unlock the door and go through clearing. [00:17:13] Speaker 2 Oh, perfect. [00:17:14] Speaker 1 Nice. That's easy then. [00:17:15] Speaker 2 It's pretty simple. Yeah. Next question. Says if I'm pretty sure I haven't got the grades I needed, can I just apply through clearing now without my results? I don't think that's. You can't do that, can you no? You have to wait until you actually have your results as well. You can't just go off on a whim. But I don't think I got A stars. So you just gonna have to let me just let me get this one instead. Yeah. It's like I feel like you. I think you definitely have to have your grades, at least. What other questions are there? How do I find out which courses are in clearing? Ethan do you want to answer that one? [00:17:50] Speaker 1 I'm pretty sure it's like most courses are, obviously it's kind of depends on what uni you're going to do. So obviously, you know, if there's not enough space on the course. [00:17:59] Speaker 2 There might only be certain courses on an actual subject. Say if you wanted to go into like media or something and you wanted to do media and communications, but they only have media studies, you kind of research into it, look into a bit more. I just definitely say do research for it, see which ones have the closest to your course or the actual course. [00:18:20] Speaker 1 It's like, you know, just kind of always checking like, what uni you're going to go to, always check in advance because you know, they might not even do the course you want to do. Yeah, exactly. Then like even say when clearing day comes, it could be like there's not enough room. So they've just like taken it off the website or something. [00:18:35] Speaker 2 Yeah. [00:18:36] Speaker 1 Just so it's like, you know, that constant checking to see if like you can actually get into that course. [00:18:42] Speaker 2 Yeah. I definitely think that. Here's a question that's mainly aimed towards you Steffi. Is clearing only for unpopular courses. What about law and medicine? Obviously you took biomedical. So do you want to kind of go into that? [00:18:55] Speaker 4 Obviously, there's like a misconception that like there's only vacancies and not enough applicants. But it's not for unpopular causes. As you said earlier, if you keep checking on the website, you'll see the different options that we have. Make sure that you have a look at the course as well, because don't just click on a course because you think it looks nice and yeah, you get there and it's like. I don't know. But when I, when I chose by the biomedical sciences, sorry, I had to look at the courses and I was like, this is the one for me. And yeah, right. [00:19:30] Speaker 2 Yeah. clearings for every subject that's available. Really. I guess it just depends on what university you want to go to. Like we said. What's available. Yeah. Yeah. Final question on results day, would I be able to call multiple universities and get multiple verbal offers? So you guys, you said that you called two different ones. So did you want to go into this one. [00:19:52] Speaker 4 Um. Yeah, you can call multiple universities but obviously make a decision. Yeah, choose the one that you want, but yeah, you go forward with that. I would also, I would I would encourage calling different universities as well to see what the best options are, what the what like as you said availability. [00:20:12] Speaker 2 I feel like with with clearing and as well you've already got the opportunity to call all these universities you might as well have you if you've made a decision that you don't want to go to any of these ones that you've picked or you didn't get in or something like that, you can, you know, making the decision to call as many as you can, widening your options, I felt was really important for, you know, stuff like clearing. So that mean you might actually find something that you like is completely out of your like vision and you would I actually I kind of like that one. So that's all we have time for today. And this is actually our last episode for a while unfortunately, we have loved this process and we really hope that you have found it useful for starting university. If you're thinking about coming through clearing yourself, please check out the BCU website for lots of tips and advice before results day. There is a guide download a step by step guide how to do the process, which should hopefully make you feel a lot better. Um, yeah. I've really enjoyed making this podcast with you Ethan. [00:21:05] Speaker 1 I've enjoyed it making it with you Libby, obviously we love special guests. [00:21:09] Speaker 2 Yeah, yeah, you guys are so great. Thank you very much for coming as well. And we've really enjoyed your experiences of clearing. [00:21:16] Speaker 3 Well, thank you very much. [00:21:18] Speaker 2 Any words for the viewers, any last words for the the clearing experience? [00:21:22] Speaker 3 Good luck. Good luck. [00:21:25] Speaker 2 But yeah, I'd say that's all we have. And yeah, thanks for tuning into the podcast. [00:21:29] Speaker 1 Thank you for watching. [00:21:30] Speaker 2 See you later.