August 2016

Why UCAS Clearing Might Just be the Best Thing that Ever Happened to you

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” - Charles R. Swindoll

Countdown to Armageddon? Not quite. But not getting the grades you expected in your A-levels can certainly feel like a pretty big disaster when you realise that your future place in higher education is now in jeopardy.

A-Level results are due out on Thursday 18 August 2016, so that is D-Day for most students in England.

Whatever the results, take a deep breath and relax.

What is done, is done, and stressing about it will only make you less effective in taking the action that is immediately required if you haven’t quite got the grades you needed and now have to participate in the UCAS Clearing system.

Your education glass may still be half-full... Here's why.

The steps you must take…

The first step is to give your top choice institution a call and check whether or not you can still secure a place on your preferred course.

If that is us then you should be calling us on 020 7388 8877, and visiting to check out the range of business, law, and accounting degrees that we still have places available on.

(Hurry though! They are going FAST!)

It may be that if you have only just missed the grade requirements that this is still very much a possibility. If for example you needed BBC, but instead got BCC in your A-levels, then there is a good chance they will squeeze you on if places are available.

But even if your grades fell well short of what you needed, it is still worth calling and checking. Different courses have very different levels of demand for them, and depending on how tough the institution is finding it to fill the remaining spots on the course, you may find that you are still able to sneak onto the course, even with lower A-level grades.

The “Clearing Game”

Lizzy YarnoldIf they can’t fit you on the course, then smile, because the “Clearing Game” has begun!

It’s time to re-position things in your mind so that you take positive action to advance your situation.

Just because your A-level plans went awry now, need not curse your entire future!

The British Winter Olympic Gold-Medallist at Skeleton, Lizzy Yarnold for example had to go through clearing, because she didn’t get the grades she needed for her first-choice university. She ended up studying Geography, Sport and Exercise Science at The University of Gloucestershire.

Not getting into her first-choice institution ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to Lizzy.

In her first year at Gloucestershire she discovered the sport of skeleton, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here is the advice of an Olympic Gold-Medallist about the clearing process, who has been in your shoes…. (Source)

“My advice would be don’t panic.”  Lizzy said. “There is time to find the right university especially as you’re the one to make it the one for you. Be efficient in compiling a shortlist of possible universities and a list of what key things you would like from your university and course. Call around and see what fits best, then go for it!”

If we break that down it comes to these ‘7 Rules of Clearing Success’:

1/ Don’t panic. You have time. But do get busy…
2/ What do you want from the course? From the place? From yourself? Write it down. Be specific.
3/ Compile a shortlist of courses that match those requirements.
4/ Call the institutions and assess the reality.
5/ Pull the trigger!
6/ Make this the first day of the rest of your life and make an unbreakable promise to yourself that you will make it work, because you will work hard.
7/ Remember... ‘You’re the one to make it the one for you’…

Charlize Theron comes clean about Clearing…

Charlize TheronSometimes in life things flow smoothly.

Other times they don’t, and just like Clearing you need a little help.

History has a habit of smoothing over the edges of the effort and work required to make things happen, and cut to the end result.

Let’s consider the story of Hollywood A-List Actress Chalize Theron for life-lessons about Clearing!

She was 18 when she got her big break. offers the following explanation: (Note - U.S spellings alert!)

“Theron’s big acting break came after she got into an argument with a bank teller. She was 18 going on 19 when she moved to Hollywood with only a suitcase. She was living in a gross, pay-by-the-hour hotel, trying to survive on the paychecks she had received from modeling in New York. One day, she was trying to cash her very last check, but the bank wouldn’t accept it because it was from a different state. From there, things got a little heated.

In an interview with Oprah, Theron said, “I’m like, ‘It’s survival, people.’ If I didn’t cash that check, I wouldn’t have had a place to sleep that night. I said to the teller, ‘You don’t understand—please!’ I was begging and pleading, and a gentleman came over and tried to help. I had to fill out a ton of paperwork and open an account, and I cashed the check.”

On Theron’s way out of the bank, the man who had helped her, John Crosby, approached her. Turns out, the helpful man was also a talent agent, and he offered to represent her… Crosby organized acting classes for Theron and within months, she had made her acting debut in Children of the Corn III.”


A potential disaster became the best thing that had ever happened to her.

It can be that way for you too with your ‘clearing challenge’.

The moral of the story of both Olympic Gold-Medallist Lizzy Yarnold and A-List Hollywood Actress Charlize Theron, is that the events that look like the worst moments of your life can sometimes turn out to be the best.

They can be turning points.

Two roads diverge in a wood"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost (Image credit)

You may yet find that the path that Clearing takes you down has better views, greater opportunities and a more inviting future.

You may find yourself on a course that you like more, or with people who will become friends for life.

The view may be different. But it may be better.

It is always darkest just before the dawn.

To turn to the light at LSBM you can check out our Clearing webpage at to see a list of available courses.

Or call our Clearing Hotline on 020 7388 8877 to have a chat about out our available opportunities and your specific situation. (In a recent article by The Times Higher Education, the QAA commended LSBM for 'adding richness to the higher education sector', so we would love to see if we can help).

Or, if your path lies elsewhere…

We wish you well!


Stuart Brown
Media and Content Manager

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