Clearing applicants ‘devaluing effort’ of other students

Students feel hard done by after number of clearing students rises


This summer saw over 27,000 students go through clearing to gain their places at university.

But the process can leave students who studied hard to obtain the original required grades feeling hard done by.

One student even went as far to claim that clearing students who didn’t take school seriously are “devaluing” the effort she put in to get her A-Levels.

She said: “I worked my arse off to get the grades I needed. I gave up my social life and boyfriend to spend as much time as possible studying for my exams.

“Now I’m faced with students who pissed about in Sixth Form, got fairly average grades and yet are rewarded with a place at the same prestigious university as myself. I don’t think it’s fair in the slightest.”

This year the overall pass rate at A-Level fell, leaving it unsurprising that the number of students going through clearing rose by 11% from 2013. Despite the fall in grades, the number of uni places available has increased.

working your arse off

working your arse off

But the process of clearing can be very stressful for students: crying because they haven’t got their grades, dealing with sympathetic yet patronising teachers hugging them and telling them everything will be okay in the end, and for the particularly enthusiastic, shamefully going through Facebook and unliking every page from their first choice uni, which of course they now hate.

One first year Social Policy, Alex*, student explained clearing was his “saviour”. He said: “I hadn’t got the grades I hoped for but was able to get into a prestigious university on a course I wanted to do.

“During the clearing process I found it difficult to look past the idea of not going to university or giving it a miss for a year, but clearing is a fantastic way to get people into university.

However, there sometimes can be a sense of panic. I was lucky enough to be able to get a place at York, but the panic-buying approach can sometimes backfire.”

Alex originally applied to study Sociology, so a change to Social Policy wasn’t a big leap. But many students are using clearing to gain a place on any course just so they can attend a prestigious university.

Ah the space ship

Ah the space ship

First year Ellen Thomas, had her heart set on Applied Social Science from Year 12 and worked hard to gain the grades she needed to secure her place.

But after all her hard graft, she is surrounded by people who “genuinely couldn’t give a toss about the course.”

She said: “I thought that coming to uni would result in me being surrounded by people who, like me, worked so hard to get onto a course and have a passion for it. But realistically I have found myself faced with certain people who genuinely couldn’t care.

“This really affects the lectures and seminars I have sometimes. I am gutted that after I worked so hard at A-Level to secure my place, I am faced with people who achieved the same place as me and genuinely couldn’t give a toss about the course.”


a degree in paper hat making

a degree in paper hat making