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If you’re still unplaced and wondering what to do next, then this blog is for you. The first thing to know is that this is not the end of your hopes of going to university – not by a long shot. Clearing is designed to help those who are unplaced find their spot; it’s a brilliant opportunity to go to university this September, and it’s open now until 19th October.

Whilst applying through Clearing is better to do sooner rather than later in some ways, for example to give yourself the most choice and to make sure you’re placed before the start of the first term, you do have time to think about your options and do your research. It is very important to note that some vocational courses, such as nursing, do fill up quickly. So if it’s a vocational course that you’re after, make sure you keep that in mind. However, you don’t need to make a quick decision if you’re not sure about what your next move is. If there is one good piece of advice we can give you, it’s this: don’t rush to make a decision, because you may end up at a university or on a course you never really wanted.

So, if you’re unexpectedly in Clearing, take a breath and get back to basics. The things you were looking for when you made your original university choices haven’t changed (unless you’ve had a change of heart, which is completely fine, too). But the chances are, you already know what you’re looking for.


This means that you can get straight into researching which universities have the course you’d like to study – or you might already know this from when you did your original research. You can find out which universities have the course you’re interested in available in Clearing via UCAS, and you can also go to a university’s website to see their available courses. The University of Chester’s Clearing courses are listed in one place to help you find what you’re looking for. If you’re struggling to find a university that will offer you a place on the course you’d like, then there is also the option of a Foundation Year course. Foundation Years are for those who don’t have the necessary academic qualifications to enter directly onto an undergraduate course, but who display the ability and commitment required. When you successfully complete your Foundation Year, you will be able to progress onto the next year of your extended course. So, that’s one option.

Another is to think outside the box completely by looking at alternative routes you can take to reach your end goal. For example, if you wanted to study medicine but are struggling to now find a medicine course, think about other routes. The University of Chester has a wide portfolio of medical and biomedical courses, whether you aspire to have a career in the biomedical sciences, pharmaceutical or medical profession. Chester Medical School is also in the process of obtaining General Medical Council approval to deliver a 4-year graduate entry medicine programme leading to the award of a MC ChB degree, which will enable applicants with a previous degree in any discipline to apply to study medicine. So, as you can see, thinking outside the box can get you to exactly where you want to be, it just may not be how you first thought you’d get there.


Something else to consider is how the universities who offer the course you’re interested in are planning to deliver it. If you definitely want some in person teaching to be part of your university experience in September, then make sure you ask if that will be the case. Our academic departments are making plans for in person, socially distanced teaching from September onwards, and since blended learning gives students the best of both worlds, the University of Chester will continue to deliver a combination of quality virtual learning alongside in-person teaching moving forward. We recently won an award for excellence in digital innovation (Whatuni Student Choice Awards, 2021), coming out number one out of over 50 institutions. This award recognised our commitment to improve the student experience through digital solutions and increasing digital accessibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, now that you know our plan, make sure you have a clear answer from other universities when it comes to theirs.


Once you know which universities have the course you’re after, you can narrow down your search further. If you need accommodation, you should ask which of the universities can guarantee that for you. We’re really pleased to be able to offer all of our Clearing applicants guaranteed accommodation, and the process to apply is really simple too.


After that, consider location. Whether you always wanted to move away for university to experience somewhere new, or you’re happy living at home and commuting, then make sure you factor this in when you’re searching for universities. Again, if you have the chance, it’s great to go and visit the area you’re considering moving to. Our locations in Chester, Warrington and Shrewsbury are all a bit different, and they’re brilliant for students in their own way. Chester strikes the balance perfectly between all the things that come with city life and open, green space, while Warrington has a buzz with its new developments and great location between Liverpool and Manchester, and Shrewsbury’s quaint charm is ideal for those who prefer a more laid-back scene. So even at this university alone, you can see how varied our locations are. So, make sure you don’t compromise, and choose a location that’s right for you.


Last, but by no means least – campus. Think back to the sort of campus you were looking for when you began your university search. Did you want a small, community vibe, or a big campus? Again, which of the remaining universities can give you the type of learning environment you wanted originally? A campus tour is a great way to find out what a university campus is really like. We’re running student-led campus tours until the 20th August, and they give you the opportunity to view the teaching and recreational facilities across our sites, view examples of our on-site and partnership accommodation, get your questions answered by our academic staff and chat to current students.

Get Going Again

That all sounds like a lot to think about, right? But you have been through this process before and you can do it again now. There’s a shorter timescale this time around, there’s no denying that. But if you’re unsure about what your next move should be, start at the top and find the universities that have the course you want in Clearing.

Our Clearing advisers are here to help you find your place at university, and are giving genuine advice and guidance to those who would like it. You can contact them via phone or email:

T: 01244 567 470

You can also find lots of helpful information on our Clearing web page, such as a step-by-step guide on how to apply through Clearing, real stories told by students who have to come us via Clearing, and our plan to have students back on campus in September.

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