Not sure what university to go to? – Clearing 2023


Not sure what university to go to? – Clearing 2023

When it comes to choosing the university, you want to study at, it’s not as easy as flipping a coin. We understand that this can be the most difficult decision students have to face. Unless you already have your heart set on where you want to go, you will be considering multiple factors to try and narrow down your options which can be very overwhelming.  

With close to 200 university options in the UK, racking through each and every one is definitely possible but would waste a lot of time. Instead, this blog will help you quickly and efficiently select a few universities where you can see yourself excelling for Clearing applications. So, let us not waste any more time and hop right into some of the key things to consider.  

What courses do they offer? 

An important factor to note, especially when going through Clearing, is to make sure the university offers the correct course/s you would like to study. This is essential during Clearing where there’s been a first round of applications. The university may not be offering the one you would like; when it comes to Clearing, due to classes already being full.  

A good way to ensure you don’t get caught in a situation in which you are set on a course that’s unavailable is to always have back-ups. You can do this by: 

Choosing one or more courses you would take 

We know that you may have an ideal course in mind to help you reach your dream career, but the truth is, there is always another way. The majority of career routes have multiple courses that could lead you to work in that industry.  

It is best to do your own research in trying to discover where certain courses can lead you to and you may be shocked at what you find. For example, a crime and criminal justice degree can land you a social work position! 

Keeping your options open  

Don’t get your hopes up and limit yourself to one subject area. This can lead to disappointment and gives you fewer opportunities when going through Clearing. Instead, be willing to take on a different subject if you cannot access the one you were hoping to. This eliminates the risk of not being able to find something during the Clearing process and gives you a higher chance of getting accepted somewhere great.  

This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams, but instead, by having a few subjects in mind that are alike, such as art and media, it means you will probably end up enjoying your studies. Even if it wasn’t part of your plan, nine times out of ten you will still be able to use that subject to reach your dream role. 

If you follow these precautions, it’s less likely that you will be unsuccessful during Clearing. However, also keep in mind you may end up getting the course you desire. It’s just best to be more open with your options! 

The distance from home 

Figuring out how far away from home you are willing to study is a great way to narrow down your options. You may find that you want to explore a new part of the country, meaning that you wouldn’t mind studying a few hours away from home. Or you may discover that choosing a university relatively close to home makes more sense.  

But how do you figure this out? Well, some people find it easy to decide, however, if you are indecisive and feel like you need some direction, we’ve got you! Think of these tips when choosing: 

- You get homesick –you may not want to choose anywhere over an hour away from home if this does apply to you 

- You want a fresh start – if you want the university to be reset from your normal, then studying quite a distance away from home might be a great way to start a new chapter 

- You can drive - you may consider staying at home and commuting as an option. Commuting via public transport is also an option students choose 

- You live in a city – this could lead you in either direction, either you want to leave the city life to study somewhere quieter or you may have options not far from your doorstep. For example, Manchester has four universities to offer! 

- Family and friends – if you don’t like change and prefer to stick to what you're used to, that’s completely fine; not everyone is a social butterfly. However, it is important to sometimes push yourself out of your comfort zone. In fact, most people make life-long friends at university. You never know, it might be the best decision you make 

If you have considered all of these points, it should make it easier to decide on the distance you’re willing to be from home when studying! 

The type of university it is 

No two universities are the same. Each one has something unique to offer students, which is why finding ones that meet your needs and standards will help dearly in making a decision. To help crunch the number of options down, ask yourself these questions: 

Do you prefer a big or small learning environment? 

What learning environment you thrive in is extremely important when deciding which universities you wouldn’t mind studying at. This is because if you end up in the opposite environment from what you’re used to, you may get overwhelmed and struggle to adapt to the change or find the constant attention bothersome. 

If you are someone who is quite independent and likes to work individually then studying at a big university may be more accustomed to you. This is because larger universities tend to have less input on students’ way of working. Of course, they will be there for support, however, it means you’ll thrive if you like to work alone. 

If you like participating in teamwork and getting involved during classes, then a university on the smaller side could be ideal for you. At the University of Bolton, we have the smallest intake of students out of the four Manchester universities. This means that we can provide students with small class sizes, allowing them to get involved, engage with tutors and other students and create more meaningful connections.  

Would you prefer a city or a town? 

This is a big thing to consider when choosing a university. Finding a place of comfort and somewhere you feel you fit in is important. But one of the best things you can do is research! Figure out what the atmosphere in the city or town you are considering is like and see if it fits what you are looking for.  

Choosing a city usually means you will be in the centre of a diverse and inclusive environment; however, don’t fear that you won’t find that in a town, you most definitely can.  

A town can very quickly become a home, this is because you can learn your way around quickly and discover your favourite spots in a short period of time. Whereas in the city, you have so many options to choose from and many hidden places to discover, that it may be a bit of trial and error.  

Lucky for you, if you choose the University of Bolton you can experience the best of both as we are a town in Greater Manchester, only 20 minutes away from the city centre!  

Does it meet my standards? 

Reading directly from a universities page about how they meet student standards may not feel ‘real’ as, quite obviously, they are trying to sell the university to you. So how do you find an authentic review of what they have to offer?  

You may know of someone who went/goes to a university that you’re considering and be able to ask them for an authentic review about studying there. If you don’t have this privilege, student reviews online are easily accessible on sites such as Student Crowd 

Some universities (*hint hint* including us) provide the opportunity for you to chat with students via the website so you can find out if they really do meet the expectations they set. To find out about the student life in Bolton, follow the link here. 

Here at the University of Bolton, we are proud to have been ranked #1 in the North West for Student Satisfaction for the past four years (2019-2023) by the Complete University Guide! That’s why we’re always saying to #UseYerLoaf… and choose #UniAsItShouldBe. 

But once you have answered these questions, you should know what you’re looking for in a university, therefore making it easier to eliminate anyone that does not meet your new requirements.  

Do not follow your friends 

For this last tip, we want to state something many students tend to consider when choosing a university; where your friends are going. This can hold you back. You should make this decision solely based on your interests. 

Don’t get us wrong, you and a friend may have the same university in mind, which is common and normal. But, if you go out of your way to apply to a university only based on your friend’s decision, then you may be in for a shock when you end up not liking it.  

Your future is important, and you shouldn’t follow in someone else’s footsteps just because you want to be with your pals. Of course, you want to enjoy the experience with your friends but remember you always have the option to visit them. Plus, you can meet up when you’re home during the holidays!  

So, dismiss the fear of being alone at university on day one. It’s one of the most social places in the world! You are bound to make new friends who will be with you even after your learning journey ends. 

The end result 

Now we have come to the end of this blog, we hope that you may feel a bit more prepared if you are applying through Clearing. Taking time to find the right place for you may seem exhausting. But in the long run, you will be grateful to have spent the time doing so. 

Remember, as much as you want to find a place where you feel that you can excel in learning, it is also important to find a place where you can truly express yourself and have an enjoyable university experience. 

For more information about the University of Bolton Clearing 2023, follow the link here. For any further information contact us at or give us a call on 01204 900600 and we will be happy to help! 



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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
QQA Scheme Participant