Student interview: my clearing and adjustment experience

We spoke to one of our recent graduates, Peter Phan, about his experience applying to university through this alternative process.

Peter applied via clearing and adjustment to study Management, Leadership and Leisure: a hands-on study of practical management practices within the fields of events, sports and tourism. He now works as a Trainee Product Manager at Tetrosyl, one of Europe’s biggest car care manufacturers.

What was your original plan before applying via clearing and adjustment?

I had already secured a place at another university in Manchester to study Accounting. However, I was unsure about both the course (seeing as I had already dropped maths at AS level) and going to university. I felt that I’d need work experience, as well as qualifications, to have a better chance of finding employment.

After exceeding my target grades, I thought that I should try and get a place at The University of Manchester, as it’s renowned as one of the best [universities] in the country and the world.

How did you choose your course?

I wanted to find a degree apprenticeship or a course with a work placement or experience element – this led me to Management, Leadership and Leisure. This degree was perfect for me; it integrated work placements alongside teaching units, so I would be learning and gaining work experience simultaneously.

This new direction initially made me anxious, as I didn’t know anyone at The University of Manchester, despite living and studying in Greater Manchester. Also, I hadn’t been to any open days or welcome events for the course.

However, it was also an exciting time, because I knew I was going to an amazing university in a brilliant city and would have opportunities to meet new people and find work experience.

Clearing is simply a way for students to find better alternatives than what they’ve been offered.

How did you find the clearing and adjustment process at the time?

The process was quick and easy to understand – I was aware of staff at my college helping students with clearing and adjustment on results day, however, I did everything at home by myself.

Staff at both universities were extremely helpful and made the transition as simple as possible. I was required to confirm my place at The University of Manchester via one or two phone calls and emails. I then contacted my original university option to reject their offer.

How did you feel about having joined via clearing and adjustment once you arrived at University? Did it impact your experience at all?

It only slightly impacted my experience when I first started. Simply because I was a latecomer and had less time to prepare for my course than others.

However, staff on the course went out of their way to bring me up to speed prior to the first week, so I wouldn’t be at a disadvantage. I was invited to a welcome event and the course leader even spent some time speaking with me about the course to make me feel included.

As a student joining through clearing and adjustment, it’s natural to feel that you are at a disadvantage because you only have a few weeks to prepare for your new course, whereas other students have already been planning for more than a year. However, you still all start at square one on the first day, and you all share the experience of meeting your new classmates and lecturers just like when you started school or college.

Clearing is about finding the best university and course for you and no one else. Set out your motivations and potential career choices and find something that you enjoy.

Did you have any preconceived ideas of what clearing and adjustment meant?

I’m aware of certain perceptions that clearing and adjustment are deemed as a way for students to find last-minute places on courses that nobody wants to study, or courses where you need lower grades. My experience alone goes against those perceptions; I needed ABB minimum to get onto my course and The University of Manchester is one of the best universities in the world.

Clearing and adjustment is simply a way for students to find better alternatives than what they’re already offered.

Do you have any advice for students who are considering applying via the clearing and adjustment process?

Clearing is about finding the best university and course for you and no one else. Set out your motivations and potential career choices and find something that you enjoy.

Get as much advice as possible throughout the process. Speaking to graduates, university staff and current students can help you make your choice and make the process easier and less daunting for you.

Pick out the universities you like and the courses that you would want to do and filter down before choosing something that you definitely want. You are planning to invest a lot of time and money into this course, so do your research and find a perfect fit for you.

Find out more 

If you’re interested in applying through clearing and adjustment, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you find out more:

● take a virtual tour and get to know our campus, accommodation and city;

● explore our range of accommodation to find the right one for you;

talk to a student ambassador from your course or country about life at Manchester.