Taking an alternative route into university might be a great option for you, as one successful graduate explains
Getting your uni place through Clearing probably isn't what you imagined when you were filling out your UCAS form. But, whether you've missed your grades or just changed your mind, there's no reason why your Plan B can't be the best move you've ever made.
Charlie Rainsford got a Clearing place on the politics course at The University of Huddersfield and he's never looked back. After graduating, Charlie completed a postgraduate degree in political communications at Goldsmiths and now has his dream job in politics – working as a parliamentary researcher for shadow pensions minister and Labour MP Jack Dromey.
"I'm the primary policy advisor for him in his shadow pensions role, and my job basically involves policy and communications, events, meetings, liaising with government, lots of things like that," Charlie explains.
"Both my postgraduate study and now my job rely on an in-depth knowledge of politics, which I honed during my time at Huddersfield. I also use my research and analytical skills, which were vital for my undergraduate degree."
Politics in the real world
As well as the theoretical elements of the course, the politics team at Huddersfield also place great emphasis on real-world applications of politics: via student-led debates, the Active Politics Society and a compulsory workplace module.
It was these practical applications that gave Charlie the experience he needed to start his parliamentary career. "Politics courses are generally quite theoretical, and don't translate that well to the practical side of actually working in politics, but the work experience element of my course at The University of Huddersfield definitely helped to prepare me for working in parliament. It gave me a really good insight into what a parliamentary officer does, and how it all works."
During his time as a politics student, Charlie spent a year working one day a week for Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds. "I worked in her Leeds office, so I was dealing more directly with constituents than what I do now, and helping with admin work. It was a great practical introduction to how a parliamentary office is run, and a key reason for getting the job I have now," he says.
"The uni supported us to find our placements, so we had classes on how best to go about approaching people, and I then wrote to Rachel Reeves personally, explaining that I was a Labour Party member and a politics student at The University of Huddersfield, and that I was really keen to work in her office," he explains.
For any prospective politics students, Charlie recommends participating in the university political societies, and taking a varied and interesting range of modules. He also advises researching the possible Clearing options in advance, so you're prepared if things don't quite go to plan with your exam results.
Looking back on his time at Huddersfield, Charlie points to the university’s community feel as a particular highlight. Taking on a small cohort of students each year enables academic staff to provide more one-on-one support, helping to build a friendly atmosphere among academic staff and students.
"I'd definitely recommend The University of Hudderfield as a place to study, especially for people looking to take on my course and courses like it,” says Charlie. “It's a great uni. My course was very good, and I found the lecturers compelling and helpful. The campus was constantly evolving and improving while I was there."
About our sponsor
Clearing starts in July and continues until September, but you can only apply for a university place through Clearing once you've received your exam results – usually in August – and your options will depend on your individual circumstances. Find out more about applying through Clearing at The University of Huddersfield.