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Two students tell us what it's like to go through Clearing

14th August 2014

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Clearing can be a stressful time – whether you’re changing your plans at the last minute after just missing out on your grades or applying to university for the first time, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of decisions to make very quickly over the next few days.

It might seem daunting, but hundreds of students pass through Clearing successfully every year, the vast majority finding themselves at universities that offer their perfect course - even if they’d never considered them before.

We spoke to two students who have gone through the Clearing process - one who has now graduated and one who is set to start their course this September – to see how they found the experience and whether they’d do anything differently.

Emily Whelan joined Falmouth University in 2008 to study Press & Editorial Photography. She now works at the university's Institute of Photography in its Photography Stores.

Emily says: “My experience of Clearing probably wasn’t the ‘traditional’ sort – I never actually planned to go to university! After my A levels I went to college and did an art foundation course – I finished with a good grade and ended up specialising in photography, developing a passion for photo journalism. As September approached I did some research into press photography courses and decided to ring round a few of the universities that offered them, just in case there were any spare places.

“I rang Falmouth and spoke to the head of the press and editorial photography course and luckily they had a few places still available. I went in for an interview, which went really well, and was offered a place on the course through Clearing. I then had just a couple of weeks to get sorted before I started so it was a bit of a whirlwind, but it was very quick and simple.

“I don’t wish I had done anything differently. For me, taking a leap of faith and just going for it was the best thing I ever did as there was no time for doubts or second thoughts! My advice to other students is to go with your gut instinct. If you’re not sure what to do, or whether you’re doing the right thing, just remember to give yourself the best possible opportunity. It’s much better to give it a go and decide it’s not for you than to regret not doing it.”

Alex Miller has a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in IT and an A-Level in Applied Business Studies, and has decided to apply to university through Clearing. He now has a place on an MEng in Computer Science at Leeds Metropolitan University, to start this September.

He says:  “I originally wanted an apprenticeship but I haven’t been successful, so I decided to take a different direction – I thought another option would be to apply to university to do a Computer Science course. Also, I found that a lot of the courses have a placement year, which appealed to me.

“The process has been a bit complex because my college is now closed for the holidays, so I’ve had to self-refer through UCAS, which means I don’t need a reference (my college tutor is abroad until after results day.) Self-referring has been a quicker process than trying to find an alternative reference, though.

“I’m glad I didn’t wait until results day to go through Clearing– I’ve got a place now, and my A-level Business result (which I’ll receive on results day) doesn’t even matter for the course.

“I don’t know what I want to do afterwards – originally I wanted to go into IT support but in four years my opinion might change.”

For more information on Clearing, including FAQs, advice and information on the process, click here.

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