I applied late through Clearing

I thought Clearing was just for people who didn't get their grades, but you can still use it even if you haven't applied for university.

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I hadn’t even applied for university, but as I got closer to my apprenticeship, something made me change my mind.
Headshot of Olivia Booth
Olivia Booth
BSc (Hons) Business & Marketing

I worked for a year before university

University didn't feel like the right path for me. I just couldn't imagine myself there. I had decided to work for a year after getting my A Levels, because I didn’t have much real-world experience. That's also why I decided to apply for an apprenticeship instead of university.

As September got closer, something was telling me that this wasn’t right. It felt like too much too soon. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to commit to a specific career path, or maybe I just wasn’t ready to start work life. Either way, I needed a change of plans.

I did consider going travelling for a year, but I knew that I needed an education to support my career goals. I decided to apply for university instead.

I started researching how to apply to university late and came across Clearing. I had heard of Clearing before, but I thought this was just for people who didn’t get their grades. However, I found out that you can use Clearing even if you haven’t applied to any universities. That’s exactly what I did.

I already knew about the University of Central Lancashire, because my brother had studied a degree apprenticeship here. I also knew that I wanted to study Business & Marketing, because this would support my future career goals. I had my uni and I had my course; now I just needed to apply.

It's not too late

It was already the end of August, so I was afraid it was too late to apply. I called up Clearing and was put through to an advisor. They asked me what course I wanted to study and what my grades were. When they heard my grades, they gave me an offer straight away. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Once I’d emailed over proof of my grades, I got an official offer.

The advisor I spoke to was really helpful. When I explained that I didn’t have a UCAS account, they said that this wasn’t a problem. They just sent me a slightly different form to fill out. I think it’s important to remember that even though it’s your first time applying through Clearing, the advisor has done this all before. That means they’ve probably heard all your questions and know how to help you.

I also had to apply for Student Finance. UCLan provided me with some guidance and information about this, because this was something I was worried about. It was just like a normal application. My parents had to fill in some forms about their income. I still received my payment at the same time as everyone else.

I was worried about making friends

I decided to commute to university because I had to look after my horses at home. I was worried that I wouldn’t make friends because I wasn’t living in halls. I thought I would miss out on all the social aspect of university, like Freshers and parties.

I didn’t have anything to worry about. Business & Marketing is a really hands-on course, so I made friends in the first couple of days. I have been around to their accommodation and gone on nights out with their flatmates, so I have still been able to experience that side of uni culture.

I've made friends for life on my course.
I've made friends for life on my course.

I finally feel like I'm on the right track

I have grown so much in my first year. I have had so many amazing opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I went straight into work. For example, there’s a study abroad option so I could live in America, Australia or Europe for a year. That means I still get to go travelling (kind of), while learning! I couldn’t do this with a job.

Ultimately, my decision to come to university was about getting an education. Business & Marketing has been a great course. All of my lecturers are really supportive. If I have a question about an assignment or something we’ve covered in class, all I have to do is ask. There’s also an option for a year-long work placement, so I can still get the work experience I need.

My main piece of advice to anyone going through Clearing is don’t worry. I have learnt that a last minute change of plans isn't a bad thing, because I've had unforgettable experiences and made friends for life. You’ll end up where you need to be. And remember, while it’s your first time going through Clearing, the advisors have done it all before. It’s a lot easier than you think.