Has anyone applied through Clearing before? What was it like?

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Puddles the Monkey
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#1
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#1
2019 Update: There are some really helpful, detailed stories and experiences shared in this thread...! Scroll down to read them

If you're thinking of applying through Clearing this year then you can sign up for free TSR Clearing alerts to get updates from universities with places available >>


I went through clearing a veeeery long time ago because I applied to uni really late after the deadline. :moon: I remember being really confused and basically not understanding anything that I was doing :lol: But it was okay and everything turned out well in the end.

Wondering what it was like for people who went through Clearing more recently....? Lots of people will be going through Clearing this year and it would be really nice for them to hear other people's stories.

And if you are thinking of going through Clearing.... please read the guide so you're more informed than I was :teehee:
Last edited by Puddles the Monkey; 3 years ago
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Michael_Fishy
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Hi everyone!

I'm currently a First Year Philosophy student at Kings College London, and have been asked to share my story

I originally applied for Politics, Philosophy and Law at KCL, and had the University of Kent as my insurance. KCL wanted A*AA, unfortunately, results day came around and I got A*AC, and they weren't lenient - I was rejected.

I was dead set on studying in London at this point, but my school encouraged me to just go to my insurance. In the end, I genuinely just flipped a coin. It landed on heads and I entered clearing for Kings. Since philosophy was going to be a 1/3rd of my degree anyways it seemed like a good choice (spoiler alert, it wasn't)
The process of clearing wasn't as stressful as I thought. I spent a long time in phone queues with both Kent to be released from my offer and Kings to get my clearing one sorted, so be prepared for that. The waiting was probably the most stressful bit about it all but eventually, you just resign yourself to what will be will be

Fast forward a year, I've completed my first year of Philosophy and will be transferring onto a Law degree at UCL next year. The philosophy course didn't work out but I wouldn't have been offered a place at UCL without it (i need to get a 2:1 this year to get onto it) so that, combined with the memories I've made and the fun I've had, I don't think it was the wrong decision.

My main advice to everyone who may well be entering clearing this year:
Get a good nights sleep before results day. You're going to have to make some very hard decisions very quickly, it pays to be well rested

Don't lose heart if you don't get onto the course you wanted. There's still ways to get to where you want to be, even if they are a bit unorthodox

Do a bit of research beforehand, its good to be prepared. But don't spend hours pouring over it, you'll waste your time and stress yourself too much

Do what you think is best for you. If I had listened to what my school had told me I'd be in a very different position today, and I'm not sure it would have been as good.

And finally, relax and enjoy your summer. Sort clearing out a week before, there's no point worrying about it now! The clearing list may be up but it'll completely change come results day.

Feel free to @ me or PM me if you have any questions!
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Michiyo
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#3
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#3
I went through Clearing last year after missing my offer from Exeter. The news that I missed my offer was not that bad as I knew I did terribly and did not study enough. I was very stressed about Clearing as my future was extremely uncertain, but that was mostly because I had to complete my SFE application (I did not complete it when I applied because I did not know if I was going to go to university in the UK for sure or not until Clearing) and due to some things that occurred a bit later.

Prior to Clearing, I looked into universities and learnt about the Clearing process, so I kind of knew what I was doing as the internet told me all I have to do is look for universities in Clearing and either phone them or complete their online application form. I was going to go to Keele through Clearing. Eventually, in Clearing, I got four offers. I was really discouraged by the fact that I did even worse than I expected, but getting a few offers made me extremely happy.

Initially, I firmed De Montfort as I had no other offers by the end of Results' Day and I would have lost De Monfort's offer as well if I did not firm them by the next day or the day after the next day or so. Over the few days, I received offers from Oxford Brookes, Essex, and Keele, so I called De Montfort and asked to be released back into Clearing (that was a bit awkward, but it was worth it). Oxford Brookes and Keele's offers had a deadline for accepting them and Essex's did not. I was already put off Keele by the fact that they took days to give me the offer, so it was between Oxford Brookes for International Relations and Japanese Studies, and Essex for International Relations. I have loved and wanted to study Japanese for about a decade, but Essex's politics department is ranked higher than Oxford Brookes's and I could choose another foreign language as an optional outside module if I picked Essex, but not if I picked Oxford Brookes.

In the end, I chose Essex because I liked their course's structure more and I could study Japanese through Languages for All anyway, albeit not to as high a level as I would have studied it at Oxford Brookes. However, I do not care much about the culture modules included in any '(country/continent) Studies' degree and got to study German as part of my degree, so I feel Essex was the right choice.

Next up, I had to send the university scanned copies of my GCSE, AS-level, and Baccalaureate diplomas and certificates. As I am a foreign student, I had to quickly go and get my Baccalaureate diploma translated at a notary, which was quite costly. :erm: I also had to email my secondary school to ask for scanned copies of my GCSE certificates because I never got my physical GCSE certificates for some reason, which took quite a lot. To accept their offer, the university gave me the institution, course, and (if applicable) campus codes, which are needed to fill in the Clearing offer.

After a lot of chaos and spending, on 31st August (almost two weeks after Results' Day), my university place was confirmed. I ended up studying International Relations at Essex and I have just finished my first year successfully. I did well, so hopefully, I will not have to go through Clearing for my Master's. :laugh: I even got an offer to transfer to SOAS, but I chose to stay at Essex as I do not exactly like London. I met one of my best friends at Essex and SFE aside, it has been a good year.

Would I have been happier at Exeter? Perhaps. I will probably never know. But either way, Clearing was not a nightmare and my current university is alright, so I cannot complain. Besides, my goals are still the same and the university I went to is unlikely to affect my future plans, so it is fine.

Future Clearing students: Do not be sad or scared! :console: Things might not have gone as planned, but that is okay. :hugs: Going through Clearing should not stop you from reaching your goals, so make the most of it and do your best! :woo:
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username4111606
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Michael_Fishy)
Hi everyone!

I'm currently a First Year Philosophy student at Kings College London, and have been asked to share my story

I originally applied for Politics, Philosophy and Law at KCL, and had the University of Kent as my insurance. KCL wanted A*AA, unfortunately, results day came around and I got A*AC, and they weren't lenient - I was rejected.

I was dead set on studying in London at this point, but my school encouraged me to just go to my insurance. In the end, I genuinely just flipped a coin. It landed on heads and I entered clearing for Kings. Since philosophy was going to be a 1/3rd of my degree anyways it seemed like a good choice (spoiler alert, it wasn't)
The process of clearing wasn't as stressful as I thought. I spent a long time in phone queues with both Kent to be released from my offer and Kings to get my clearing one sorted, so be prepared for that. The waiting was probably the most stressful bit about it all but eventually, you just resign yourself to what will be will be

Fast forward a year, I've completed my first year of Philosophy and will be transferring onto a Law degree at UCL next year. The philosophy course didn't work out but I wouldn't have been offered a place at UCL without it (i need to get a 2:1 this year to get onto it) so that, combined with the memories I've made and the fun I've had, I don't think it was the wrong decision.

My main advice to everyone who may well be entering clearing this year:
Get a good nights sleep before results day. You're going to have to make some very hard decisions very quickly, it pays to be well rested

Don't lose heart if you don't get onto the course you wanted. There's still ways to get to where you want to be, even if they are a bit unorthodox

Do a bit of research beforehand, its good to be prepared. But don't spend hours pouring over it, you'll waste your time and stress yourself too much

Do what you think is best for you. If I had listened to what my school had told me I'd be in a very different position today, and I'm not sure it would have been as good.

And finally, relax and enjoy your summer. Sort clearing out a week before, there's no point worrying about it now! The clearing list may be up but it'll completely change come results day.

Feel free to @ me or PM me if you have any questions!
What is it that you want to do after uni? A career in law?
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username613045
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#5
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#5
I didn't go through clearing but my course changed on results day. I originally applied to do Veterinary Medicine to start September 2017 and my firm offer was to do it at Bristol University. Because I'm a Bristol Scholar (a scheme to get local students into the university), my offer was AAC, but my actual grades were BBB. Thankfully, the university transferred me to the Gateway course, which is an additional year for people who didn't the right grades for medicine/dentistry/veterinary medicine. We had bioscience and chemistry modules that covered A Level stuff but then went further to prepare us for next year. We also had a professional unit, teaching us the soft skills needed to be good clinicians.

There were times where I just wanted to be doing the normal vet course, but I'm glad that gateway/foundation programmes exist because I wouldn't have got onto the normal vet course without it. It's meant that I've settled into uni before the madness of being a first year vet and I know people well going on to do vet med.
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username4111606
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#6
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#6
I didn’t go through clearing because I didn’t realise what it was, looking back now, I wish I had.
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Michael_Fishy
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Vivi2018)
What is it that you want to do after uni? A career in law?
Barrister yeah, maybe solicitor? We'll see this time next year when I start thinking about applications. But more than likely a legal career regardless.
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Puddles the Monkey
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Vivi2018)
I didn’t go through clearing because I didn’t realise what it was, looking back now, I wish I had.
That's really interesting - why do you wish you'd gone through Clearing? What happened? Where did you go in the end?
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Funkymintbrother
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#9
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#9
I didn't get in through clearing. However, the lecturers at University of Worcester (for Paramedic Science) did tell us prior to results day that should any of us (i.e. all of the people who passed the interview process) fall slightly short of our grades, that they would do whatever they could to ensure we would still get on the course.
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Khanify
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#10
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#10
So my story is a bit different. I was supposed to go LSE and my backup was Birmingham for History and I needed AAA or AAB. I ended up with AAC and was put into clearing. However, I decided to take a gap year instead and retake my C grade because that was a better option and I was able to work and make money at the same time. I would advise a similar thing as for certain internships they look at your A level grades. Good luck xo
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Padfoot22
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#11
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#11
I applied through clearing to University of Westminster and I’m honestly so glad I ended up going there - I love the university and the entire course and I’ve made lots of friends there. I just finished my first year

I sent off my portfolio and applied to the Animation course and the Graphic Design course and was accepted to both but went with Animation as that is what I wanted to do originally.

I had originally only applied to universities up north where I’m from, because I didn’t want to be too far from home and it felt really overwhelming, but after all my applications went through and the pressure was off I found myself wishing I had broadened my horizons a bit, and that’s a big part of why I went through clearing.

The clearing process wasn’t that stressful for me either - I did almost all of it by email. However, I got my results earlier than A-Level results because I did college instead of sixth-form, so this gave me chance to properly consider my options and there wasn’t a mad rush.

I ended up applying for halls about a week before I actually moved, honestly finding accommodation was more stressful for me than clearing lmao
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okay.itsdrwho
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So on results day, I had the worst fear that I had done very badly on my exams, and lo and behold I had.

My firm choice was Natural Sciences at UCL for A*AA and Chemistry at Manchester at AAA was my insurance. I opened my results slip, and I had BBC.

So not great compared to what I was aiming for.

I was devastated, I had already intended to ask to be released from UCL if i had those grades, as I was desperate to go to Manchester. I looked on the Manchester website, and they had a foundation year available for Chemistry at BBC! Perfect! I would try that then.

Didn't work. I had studied Maths, Chem and Bio, with Further Maths AS. They wanted me to have Physics AS (let alone that my school didn't offer it, or that I had done mechanics modules).

So my dream of going to Manchester was gone. I was in utter tears, and it took a while for me to calm down and consider my options.

So many things were going through my head- maybe I shouldn't go to uni, I should do an apprenticeship, retake the year etc. But about half hour later, i went on the University of Glasgow's website on a whim. I had remembered liking it for a society and wondered what their clearing grades where for chem. It was ABB minimum.

Hardly stopped crying, I called them up on the slim chance they would let me in. And they did! I called up other unis (including being left on hold for Nottingham for an HOUR before being booted off) but in the end I went to Glasgow. And it was the best choice of my life.

At the end of the day, you might feel like an absolute failure on results day like I did, but it lead me to the best year of my life, and I still have 3 more years at Glasgow!
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waqas_hussain98
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#13
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#13
Hi all, I also went through clearing. I initially wanted to do law when at school howver the sicth form leader straight up told me no. She said i wont be able to do it. So i went on to do Criminal Psychology at Sheffield Hallam. On results day i logged into UCAS and saw i had had met my requiremnts. But i accidently pressed a button which did not let me accept Sheffield Hallam as it gave a some time to find offers from other unis. This was totally accidental i did not mean to press that button which stopped me from accepting that offer of Criminal Psychology from Hallam. I had to wait a number of day before accepting, during this period i was allowed to see if other universities would give me a place on a course if i wanted to swtich. So i started ringing univerisities through clearing and talking to them about doing law. I was told by many universities that they would accept me but some were offering a foundation course. So i chose a uni which offered to give me a place on a 3 year LLB course. first i contacted sheffield hallam so they can release me and then i accpeted the offer that had been sent to me via email.
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Kocytean
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#14
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#14
Hello, I went through clearing in 2017 after missing Maths and Physics offers from Warwick and Bath. Here is my somewhat alternative take.

My offers were A*AA and AAA + a which I missed with ACC + a. My circumstances were not ideal, I burnt out taking five subjects, sunk into a bout of melancholy throughout most the year, then was ill for several months over exams. Bad luck, it happens.

Rather stressful day, while all my friends were celebrating in spoons and getting photographed for the college website I was searching for a copy of The Times for the clearing guide and vacancy list. I settled on Glasgow Theoretical Physics which I had the grades for but by the time I called them they'd filled the course - my advice is if you see a course you really like, call them immediately - though most courses won't fill that quickly.

Make sure you have all your information to hand - UCAS personal ID, and your grades. You can collect as many offers as you like, and keep soliciting more, not making a decision for a few days. Once the offer is made the place is yours if you want it. How it works is you search the UCAS clearing catalogue online, find a course you're interested in and have the right kind of grades for, then call up the uni and ask for a place. They will ask for your details, check your UCAS application and if all is good then immediately make you a verbal offer followed by a formal offer via email. Technically a verbal offer is binding in that the university can't retract it but unless you are recording your calls you have no evidence to hold the university to the offer without an email.

When you sent your UCAS application you had the option to let universities send you unsolicited offers by phone. I selected this option and recommend it.

Edinburgh wouldn't let me in, nor would Surrey (I got the impression they would have done if I kept bugging them, maybe the next day), nor Southampton...I collected offers for Maths and Physics from Royal Holloway and QMUoL, Mathematics at Aberystwyth, and Mathematical Sciences at Exeter. By the time Plymouth phoned me I felt I had enough offers that I stopped accepting them.

Some of the phonecalls took a while to get through, Southampton in particular took over an hour, and then they were rude and unhelpful - I 100% dis-recommend them.

Having not slept, totally dejected and having exhausted all my options, I went to nap at about 1PM by the phone. I was woken by a phonecall from, hm, Bristol, is that? And they want to offer me Mathematics? I happily thanked them profusely for the offer, and danced around for a bit now feeling my life was saved, before receiving an email of an offer from Bristol UWE and promptly sinking right down again. Fake Bristol!

They were quite a rough few days. I'd started the year as an applicant for the Cam maths tripos so my self-worth was getting a bit wobbly, to say the least. The two offers I was seriously weighing up were Royal Holloway Mathematics and Exeter Mathematical Sciences. I didn't feel Royal Holloway was right for me, and the Exeter course, though on the Cornwall campus which looked really nice, was frankly wishy-washy, the course details looked like I wouldn't be learning anything at-all in my first year. The Penryn campus, it turns out, is pretty much where Exeter sends its undesirables.

It took a lot of willpower to reject Exeter, a strong Russel group reaching its hand to me, the dreg at the bottom of the bucket. I even felt stupid for doing so, but it wasn't what I wanted. I'm lucky to be in a position that my parents have always had faith in me to decide my path and supported me doing so, so there was no problem when I decided I wanted to forget clearing and take a third year. I had to pay for it myself because I already had 3 A-Level passes (ACC), which I think is an unfair funding system, because at my college I've seen the druggies with 60% attendance fail one or more without trying and get a third year for free. Ugh. I self-taught the mathematical subjects, because my knowledge was pretty much there and I'm an independent learner, while I enrolled for Physics lessons because I felt I had actually missed a lot of knowledge.

I already have AA in EPQ and AS Computer Science, and on results day this year I'm expecting A*-A Maths, A*-A Further Maths, and A Physics, as-well as an E in AS Additional Further Maths made up from M4, FP3, and D2, each of which I flopped in 2017 and didn't resit. Fingers crossed, I'll get into Warwick, or my insurance Bristol, and worst case scenario with AAB, I should be able to get into 90% of the courses in clearing.

I'm sharing this to demonstrate another option available to you - you don't have to accept somewhere if you don't think you'll be happy there. Maybe, as is oft-repeated, you'll end up happy wherever you go, or maybe if you're really strong willed what you want is really another go.
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rebaz
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#15
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#15
Hi! I had a strange/confusing/anxiety inducing experience in my university application experience. I signed up to do history, before realising over summer that that was something that I really didn’t want to do anymore as I had had an awful time with it and hadn’t enjoyed it at a level- and had been admittedly pressured into choosing that subject by my friends and family. I was also struggling with a lot of personal issues on the lead up to and all throughout exams that made me think that my exams had gone awfully due to my lacklustre revision. Clearing helped me to change that decision- I regretted immensely not going with my heart and studying English, on results day I surprisingly ended up doing better than I thought I had and then had the opportunity to call up universities and ask what places they have and make a sudden change. I’m now studying English and communication at the uni I always wanted to go to, liverpool university, and am so happy with my decision. Clearing is beyond helpful for everybody in any situation!! It’s a life saver and so easy- results day stress is immensely reduced by having that option, whether you regret your subject or university choice or haven’t got the grades you hoped you would.
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SHUGURU
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#16
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#16
I've just finished my undergraduate degree at Sheffield Hallam which I got into through clearing after missing the grades for my UCAS choices.

I was really upset on results day and almost too terrified to call anywhere up, but my mum and I looked up the course on Sheffield Hallam's website and although I hadn't looked at it whilst choosing universities I realised the course looked really good. On the phone those I spoke to were beyond lovely and really made me feel welcome and much calmer than I had been beforehand. Since the course looked so good for me, I didn't actually ring anywhere else. I was invited to an open day and loved it in real life too.

Obviously I don't know what it would've been like to study at the universities which were my UCAS choices; however, I've felt so welcome and supported at Sheffield Hallam and the amount of opportunities I've been able to take up have made me feel like I wouldn't be anywhere near as happy anywhere else!

It can feel so horrible having to ring up clearing lines on the day, but it wasn't anywhere near as scary or difficult as I had feared and I'm glad all of that brought me to where I am now!
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Hanu14
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#17
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#17
Hiya everyone!

I got my place at Keele University as a foundation year student studying Astrophysics w/Geology through clearing.

I was gutted when I found out what I got for my A –levels. I had already done badly in my first year (did AS Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Geography) were I dropped chemistry half way through the year and got an E in physics ahahaha. I had to move to another sixth form as the first one wouldn’t allow me to re – take maths again lol. So, in the second sixth form I did A2 Geography, BTEC IT and AS Maths. I did good in my A2 Geography, BTEC IT got a distinction but failed miserably at maths (once again!!) with a D. The thing is I did so well in maths throughout the year until the dreaded end of year exam…

Anyway, I didn’t get the grades I wanted to help me get into the University of Manchester to study Planetary Science w/geology and I knew I had no chance to study physics at any other university because of my not so amazing grades and my lack of sciences. Also had the problem with telling my parents that I didn’t do too well lol. Yeah… wasn’t a great time.

Lo and behold, through endless searching the internet and trying to find something… anything… (Because since subjects are now linear I’d have to spend another two extra years at college which I really didn’t want to do) I find a university called Keele (way up North) which offers a foundation year in Astrophysics w/Geology and it only wants a measly 56 UCAS points (this was in like middle of August, bear in mind)

Had to miraculously convince my parents to allow me to go study in a university 3 hours away… away from home and away from them… I told them it’s so much better than spending two extra years at college when I can study the actual subject at this university lol!! They allowed me in the end. Yey!

I’ve never heard of this university and never been to it but at that point I didn’t give a damn because I just wanted to apply to study the subject I loved so much. Had to bombard my tutor from my college with emails so that she can write me a reference and bless that woman she did it straight away for me even though she was on holiday. Completed my UCAS form and sent it straight away.

25th August 2017 I get an email from Keele saying they’ve offered me an unconditional place through clearing. I was over the moon.

A year later, I’m here looking back… not believing what an amazing year I’ve had at that university. I’ve met amazing people and have done so so so well academically.

I was so scared when I was applying for this university… it was all just so sudden. I don’t regret it one bit and it was such a wonderful experience. I look back and I just wonder why I was so upset that day when I got my grades… thinking that the world has collapsed.

Yeah.. that’s my story hahaha
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iamShax
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Michael_Fishy)
Barrister yeah, maybe solicitor? We'll see this time next year when I start thinking about applications. But more than likely a legal career regardless.
May i ask why you decided to switch to do a full law LLB course instead of graduating with philosophy, and doing a law conversion course to get a GDL? Because i was in a similar position as you were, rejected from Kings' law course, going through clearing and getting into Kings for a Theology course. I got a reasonable 2:1 and now im thinking about switching to do a full law course.
Thing is, i quite enjoy theology, but i'm also pretty sure i want to be a solicitor when i'm older so idk if there's any use waiting around...
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Michael_Fishy
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#19
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#19
(Original post by iamShax)
May i ask why you decided to switch to do a full law LLB course instead of graduating with philosophy, and doing a law conversion course to get a GDL? Because i was in a similar position as you were, rejected from Kings' law course, going through clearing and getting into Kings for a Theology course. I got a reasonable 2:1 and now im thinking about switching to do a full law course.
Thing is, i quite enjoy theology, but i'm also pretty sure i want to be a solicitor when i'm older so idk if there's any use waiting around...
Hi, there were a couple reasons tbh
Firstly, I'm a strong believer that the best and easiest way to get a first is to do something you're passionate about and really enjoy. I don't really enjoy Philosophy, and I don't want to risk not getting a first because of it.

secondly, it's actually cheaper. it's entirely possible I'll have to fund my GDL myself, and £9250 for the extra year at uni is cheaper than a GDL in London which is around 10k. There's not much funding at the Bar for the GDL, and this way I'm guaranteed loans all the way up to the bptc (at which point I'll hopefully have landed a scholarship)

It also spreads out the time you get to do pro-bono stuff and extra curriculars like vac schemes and minis. A lot of this comes for you as a non law student during your GDL (some in final year) but as a law student everything opens up in second year.
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iamShax
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Michael_Fishy)
Hi, there were a couple reasons tbh
Firstly, I'm a strong believer that the best and easiest way to get a first is to do something you're passionate about and really enjoy. I don't really enjoy Philosophy, and I don't want to risk not getting a first because of it.

secondly, it's actually cheaper. it's entirely possible I'll have to fund my GDL myself, and £9250 for the extra year at uni is cheaper than a GDL in London which is around 10k. There's not much funding at the Bar for the GDL, and this way I'm guaranteed loans all the way up to the bptc (at which point I'll hopefully have landed a scholarship)

It also spreads out the time you get to do pro-bono stuff and extra curriculars like vac schemes and minis. A lot of this comes for you as a non law student during your GDL (some in final year) but as a law student everything opens up in second year.
Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for your input, I think i really need to make a decision soon
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Y13s: How will you be receiving your A-level results?

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