The Facts about Re-applying

Written by: Simon Ellen

Clearing isn’t for everyone. If you haven’t got into your first or second choice uni, one alternative is to take a gap year and re-apply for the following year. This is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Filling in all those forms again is a pain, and you’ll have to be available for interviews etc, which can restrict your travel plans. But you may find that your gap year could make a big difference to how universities treat you…

Sophie Hartley writes…

“Originally I applied to universities to study psychology. It was more a case of knowing that I wanted a degree, but having no desire to do any particular subject, and psychology seemed interesting. One of my six university choices was Durham, the place I really wanted to go. I was, however, rejected.

I had been considering deferring entry and taking a gap year, but left my options open by not stating this on my UCAS form. However, once rejected from Durham, and my second choice, Nottingham, my mind was made up that I should take a gap year. I did however accept a place at Lancaster University for the following year, as an ‘insurance’ really.

I had an amazing gap year teaching English in Slovakia and backpacking around Eastern Europe, the US and Ireland. While on my gap placement I realised that I did not want to study psychology at all – in fact law appealed much more. In truth I had rushed my original UCAS application as the deadlines loomed, and hadn’t considered the options available to me.

I returned from travelling in April, the UCAS deadline for applications having passed four months earlier. It is still possible to apply, but one theoretically stands a far lesser chance of acceptance, because universities are under no obligation to even consider your application.


“To reapply I had to reject my place at Lancaster. This was an anxious time as I realised I could be left with no university place at all if everywhere refused me, however with good grades at A level I hoped at least one institution would offer me a place. I was delighted to get unconditional offers from five out of six applications, but was most shocked by my acceptance at Durham University, who had rejected me the previous year.

The difference between my two applications in the two years was my gap year. I had lived and worked in a deprived area of a foreign country and been faced with numerous challenges and experiences which my life as a sixth former could not have given me . I also had ‘actual’ A level grades as opposed to just predictions, which shows admissions tutor exactly what standard I was, and they therefore felt more comfortable giving offers.

Indeed, I found that my gap year gave me numerous advantages through my uni years. I managed to get on a really good internment placement (work experience that you have to do before you final year). Law is an extraordinarily competitive career and placements with international city firms are immensely over-subscribed. I’m sure that the reason I got this position was because I had taken a gap year before university.

Re-application required a leap of faith, but it certainly paid off for me.”

Check out these top work abroad opportunities


Work as a Ski Instructor in Romania

from £3695

98 days


Train up as a ski instructor and work a ski season in Romania's largest ski resort

Au Pair in Australia

from £100

From 180 days


Au Pair with amazing families in Australia and have the experience of a lifetime. Live with a family, offer a...

Be an Au Pair in Australia

90 - 365 days


Make new friends, learn a new language, discover a new culture. Become an au pair in Australia. Find your host...

Be an Au Pair in Germany

90 - 365 days


Make new friends, learn a new language, discover a new culture. Become an au pair in Germany. Find your host...

Be an Au Pair in Italy

90 - 365 days


Make new friends, learn a new language, discover a new culture. Become an au pair in Italy. Find your host...

Be an Au Pair in France

90 - 365 days


Make new friends, learn a new language, discover a new culture. Become an au pair in France. Find your host...

Be an Au Pair in Spain

90 - 365 days


Make new friends, learn a new language, discover a new culture. Become an au pair in Spain. Find your host...

Teach English in Spain

from £760

240 - 270 days


Apply for our inspiring and rewarding opportunities to teach English in Spain. Get paid, teach, and live in Spain. Including...

Wanderlust Culture Homestay English Teaching Program

from £100

80 - 365 days


Integrate educational travel, Mandarin learning, childcare and English tutoring together for overseas youngsters to experience China with an authentic touch...

Work at Whistler’s Tube Park

from £2495

150 - 150 days


Work for Whistler Blackcomb as a Tube Part Assistant this winter with Oyster Worldwide.

Find more articles like this

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]