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Clearing… Cue the most stressful couple of weeks of my life.

The pressure to get into your first choice university is huge, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for what would happen if I didn’t get in. I had just assumed that even if I didn’t quite meet the entry requirements, they would still let me onto the course. This wasn’t the case.

The first day Clearing was mentioned to me as a serious option was on results day, as soon as I opened my results, and my head of sixth form said that I might want to consider it. I didn’t even really know what it was.

I spent the rest of that day in tears, ringing my first choice over and over again to see if they would let me in yet, and every time the answer was no. So I started to consider other options.

Throughout the next week, despite my constant whining and sulking and tantrums that my first choice was the only place I wanted to go, my mum dragged me across the country to visit almost every university within a 3 or 4 hour drive.

I completely had my heart set on my first choice and would barely look at other universities, because nothing felt quite right. Until I visited Bournemouth.

As soon as I set foot on campus, it just felt right, and I could see myself going to this university. The ambassadors that showed me around were so friendly, made me laugh, and seemed to really enjoy studying at BU.

Once I had decided where I wanted to study, I needed to decide whether I wanted to stay on the same course I had originally chosen, or look at new courses. After a quick browse of the Clearing website, I found a new course, that I didn’t even know was available, and I switched from Biological Science to Forensic Biology, which (in my eyes!) seemed a lot more exciting.

From my experience in Clearing, I learned to be a lot more open minded, and although it was really disappointing at first, I’m really happy with where I ended up. My advice to anyone else going through Clearing would be to do a lot of research about the universities, and about the courses available to you. At A-Level, there are only a certain number of subjects, but at university, there is a whole new range of options that weren’t available to you before.

I would also say don’t let anyone else influence your decision, only you know where is right for you.

Try not to see Clearing as a disappointment, try and see it as a new opportunity.

By Lucy Birkitt – BSc (Hons) Forensic Biology

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