The thought of getting into a university through Clearing is often a scary one, especially for students doing their A-levels as it means not meeting the required grades for their first choice. Therefore, clearing is also often associated with failing. However, what if I told you that clearing could provide you with new opportunities you never even thought of or planned? Well for me, my clearing experience did just that.
Back during my A-levels, I had my heart set on going to Bristol University. This was my first choice and it required me to attain AAA. After going to the open day at Bristol University, I was motivated and focused on achieving this goal. I originally didn't want to live in a major city like London as the busyness and high expenses put me off. However, I still wanted to experience city life. Bristol at the time seemed the perfect answer. I also had relatives who lived nearby so Bristol university was also a comfort pick. However, come results day, my worst fear came true as I opened my results - I got BBC which was far off the required AAA for Bristol university. Luckily, the grades I had achieved were still good enough for my insurance choice which was Portsmouth university. This university was very convenient for me as at the time I lived near Portsmouth. The university was close to home and it meant I didn't have to go through much trouble moving out, meeting new people, etc. However, it didn't feel right for me to accept my insurance offer. I had studied in the same area for my A levels, I wanted to experience a new student life; independence, meet new people, and grow in a new environment. This was one of those moments I wanted to embrace change over choosing comfort. I knew that if I stayed at home/close to home, none of this was possible. So for the reasons stated above and many other personal reasons, I rejected my insurance choice, not knowing what I was going to do.....
So having rejected my insurance choice, I now had nothing to fall back on. I knew that I wanted to go to a university that year and my only option now was through Clearing. As I have stated, London was originally a location that I didn't even want to consider. However, as I was looking at possible universities that day to access through Clearing, I came across Brunel university. The Clearance team was very friendly and very helpful. They made the stressful process a lot easier and answered my questions, calming me down. What made me change my mind you may ask? Truth is nothing. Out of all the universities that I was looking at during my Clearance experience, I just thought I would take a risk and go somewhere which I originally planned against. Furthermore, Brunel is not in the center of London, it's further out. So this also attracted me to Brunel as it half met my conditions from before. Long story short, my Clearing application was approved and I had found a spot at Brunel University. I was scared, I didn't know how I was going to support myself financially in London, what it would be like, all the normal anxieties you get with moving to a new place. However, it was also exciting. I had that good-scared feeling, knowing I had taken a risky choice which was necessary for me.
Fast forward to now, I am going into my final year of Psychology BSc here at Brunel University. I have not once regretted coming to this university. It provided me with the independence I was looking for, but the university also helped me settle in during my first year through its weekly events and support networks. The campus is like a mini-city and it's very convenient. It is a diverse university so you don't feel out of place. Being at Brunel I get to experience the city life of London. Since transportation here is easily accessible, it's really easy to go into central London and have a day out. There's always somewhere/something to go and see or do. Since living here, there've been times I can't imagine living anywhere else but in London! Funny to think I once was put off this place. The university has also helped out massively through various opportunities such as on-campus jobs (student ambassador, UniBuddy, just to name a few) which has helped me develop lots of key skills for the future and earn some good pocket money at the same time. The university's facilities have also helped me a lot in many aspects, such as their career interviews which helps you with your employability. They also offer free language classes and many extracurricular activities.
To sum everything up, my Clearing experience ended up being a life-changing decision that I do not regret. It taught me a lot about risk-taking; sometimes not sticking to the plan is OK, and being spontaneous might be the best way to go at certain points in life. Stepping out of your comfort zone is important and must be done at some point in your life to advance. I also managed to overcome a lot of the anxieties I originally had, such as being able to financially support myself during my time at uni through budgeting and working various jobs whilst studying. It has helped me grow a lot.
Although I did not achieve my desired A-level grades, I still worked hard and my grades still worked for me in the end. Everything I had learned has been very relevant and applicable to my current course. It's ok if you fall short of your goal and it does not mean you have wasted your time. There is no shame in entering a University through clearing :)