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Clearing gave me the second chance I needed

Clearing helped one student to find a course and university that were more suitable than her initial choices

  • Student life
Laura Owen's avatar

Laura Owen

August 7 2018
Clearing case study.


I am a graduate from the University of Bedfordshire (Beds), with a BA Hons in criminology. However, Beds and criminology were not my first choice (or indeed any choice) when I was planning where to go to university.

All of my original applications were to study history and politics. I chose the University of Westminster as my first option and Northampton University as my insurance. For Westminster, I needed to achieve grades BBC in my A levels and about the same for Northampton. I had always enjoyed history at school and my interest in politics was sparked by a great A level teacher. 

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I studied English language, history, psychology and political science at A level. I expected to achieve at least Cs in all of my subjects because I didn’t feel that I had put in much effort. I wasn’t confident that I would get the best grades, however I wasn’t too worried as I was advised I’d get into my first choice with Cs.

On results day, I didn’t achieve the grades I needed. I managed to achieve a C in history, but I got a D in my other subjects, which fairly reflected the level of work I put in. I was devastated to wake up to see that I had been rejected by my first choice. I had secured my place at my second choice, Northampton, which I pretended to be excited about for a day or so. After results day, however, and after I had triple checked with the University of Westminster that I wouldn’t be accepted, I knew that I needed to find another university or I wouldn’t go.

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The day after results day my mum and I looked through all the clearing universities that were on Ucas using the clearing app. I hadn’t previously considered Beds because I wanted to feel grown up and go to university in a town that I didn’t live in. However, when it came to it, I realised that I wanted to stay at home.

My mum knew the topics that I found interesting and so she was the one who found my criminology course. She encouraged me to research the course on the Beds website and app, and it was at that point that I got really excited. The course included all of the topics I’d previously enjoyed in my A levels with totally new things too.

I called Beds and spoke to a clearing advisor about the course, to check whether I would be accepted and the course was right for me. The adviser talked me through the expectations of the course and the meaning of what I would study, which got me even more excited. Beds told me that I needed to be released from Northampton before formally accepting a place with them, so I was straight on the phone. I released my place and spoke to Beds again. By that evening, I had been accepted and was to be enrolled on the criminology course.

I loved every moment of being a student at Beds; I made some amazing friends and had loads of opportunities. During my time there I worked for the student ambassadors programme on a range of projects, from events to open days to writing blogs for the university. Through it I gained many skills for my CV. As I didn’t live in student halls and missed out on meeting people from other courses, being a student ambassador gave me a way to make a broad group of friends, while earning money.

Now that I have graduated, I can use all of my skills to look for work and enter “real life”. Working and studying at Beds helped me to narrow down what I want to do in the future which, before starting university, was hazy. I have had the best three years and applying to Beds through clearing was my best decision. 

Read more: Clearing 2018: Top 10 UK universities with courses available


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