Clearing or a Gap Year?

If you find yourself without the grades you need on A Level results day, it can be disappointing and it can also be stressful. Instead of going to university you suddenly find yourself with a lot of decisions to make – fast!

Realistically you have two choices: Clearing or taking a gap year. The question is which one should you choose?

Here’s more about both your options:

Clearing 2024

Clearing is the process of matching students without university places to universities with course vacancies.


If you’re successful during Clearing then the main advantage is that your education won’t be disrupted as you’ll start in September just like everyone else. Unless you’re determined that you’re going to study at a particular university and you’re open to choosing a new university or course then Clearing is the obvious choice for you.


Clearing is competitive and you’ll need to move fast to be successful. Everyone gets their results on the same day so that means that hundreds of students find themselves going through Clearing.

However, as long as you’re organised and proactive the Clearing process doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just keep calm and get that university place!

A Gap Year

If you’re not sure that going through Clearing is the right choice for you then your other option is taking a gap year.


Taking a gap year gives you more time to think about your educational options. You’ll have the opportunity to re-sit your exams and reapply for your first choice university.

As well as gaining qualifications taking a gap year also gives you a chance to do some work experience, save money for university, go travelling, or anything else which will strengthen your university application.


Of course the main disadvantage of a gap year is that it is exactly that, a gap, meaning that your academic progress will be delayed. If you think you’ll find it hard to stay motivated or to get back into the swing of being in education then taking a gap year might not be the right choice for you.