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Clearing: what is it, and how can it help me?

NU London Student Blog | July 13, 2023

Getting your results, whether that be A-Level, IB, or another qualification, can be terrifying. You’ve worked so hard, your entire school career has been working to this point, and it boils down to one summer morning, stood in your school hall collecting a brown envelope containing the key to your future. It feels like you’re entire future is dictated on what is on that piece of paper (surprise, it isn’t, but we’ll get to that!), and all you can think about is “did I get into the University I want to go to”?

Let’s say that you missed your grades. Maybe you only missed one, or maybe you missed them by several. Either way, it can feel crushing. I remember my own A-Level results day, where I missed my target by quite a few grades, and I didn’t really know what to do next. If I had known more about Clearing, I could have had a much less stressful time, and so I hope that the advice below gives you the direction you need. Use this as a guide to navigating the anxiety of results day, and understanding what Clearing is and why it can be amazing!

So, what is clearing? Clearing is an opportunity for you to find a degree, and a University, that works for you. Perhaps you didn’t achieve the grades you were expecting, or maybe you just wanted to wait until you had your grades before you apply somewhere? Clearing can give you the flexibility you need to make the right choice for you.

To make the process as smooth as possible, Northeastern University London recommends that you have a few things to hand. Firstly, knowing what you want to study is a great start. If you’re interested in studying here at NU London, you can see which degrees have spaces here. It is also useful to have your grades and personal details to hand, as these will be needed before an offer can be made.

If you do want to study at Northeastern University London, you can contact us via email ( or telephone (+44 (0)20 7637 4550), or via live chat on our website. Results day and Clearing can be a stressful time, and we want to make it as smooth as possible for you. If you have any questions you can contact us any time!

Below, I’ve complied a step-by-step process for you to follow if you do find yourself in this situation. The aim is that these tips will give you more structure, allow you to stay calm, and will put you in the best position to start thinking about your future!

First things first, take a moment to just breathe. Find somewhere quiet and comfortable, and take a step back form the situation. Everything will be okay; no journey is linear. If you are able to stay as calm as possible, you will be in a better position to make decisions that are best for you. There is an element of time pressure, but you don’t need to rush through everything and panic.

Secondly, contact your firm and insurance University choices. If you’ve only just missed your grades, you may still be able to secure your place. The worst thing they can say is no, so just ask, and see what they say. If you’ve decided that you’d like to go somewhere else, or you’ve missed your grades to the point where they can’t make you an offer, then move on to step three.

Third, you should have a think about what you want from University. What do you want to study? Are there any Universities that you really don’t want to go to. Where in the country would you like to go? Are there any other experiences you really want from University, for example study abroad? Ask yourself these questions before you start to contact universities, because this is going to help narrow down your search.

Fourth, start contacting the universities you are interested in. Remember that this will be a busy day, so you may not get through straight away, but they will do their best to speak with you and offer you more information.

Lastly, try to remember that everything will be okay. Sometimes your journey will change, and you can only appreciate that change once you get to the other side, but you are not fixed in this moment. There is always room to change your mind or do something different. Take some time on the day to process your emotions, really think about what you want to do, and focus on making the best decision for you!

By Hannah Smith