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I expected to go through Clearing. My final exams did not go very well and so I decided to take a proactive approach and look for other options before results day and write down potential courses that I could apply for if necessary. Results day revealed my grades were not high enough for my insurance choice, but I gave them a call anyway just to be sure. When they said they could not offer me a place, I promptly scanned my list of options and started checking which of them had Clearing spaces; Bournemouth University offered a space on their Games Technology course. I called them up and the person on the other end went through my qualifications, both academic and extra-curricular, and by the end of the call they had given me a place!

I came to university feeling like I might be underqualified, and may fall behind due to my ‘barely-enough’ grades and lack of experience with games development. The course involves 3D modelling, programming, and all sorts of things I had never covered in A-Level Maths and Physics. Other people had come straight from colleges where they’d studied Games Development, already done Computing in A-Level, or were already amazing artists and I felt like I had none of this experience at all. I soon came to realise though that despite this, I learnt quickly. My maths experience helped with the programming, but the 3D modelling started terribly so I needed to practice to get better.

I joined the Games Development Society in first year and through this I was able to take part in competitions to help learn new skills, including 3D modelling and composing game music. By the end of my first year I was elected as the new president of the society!

During my time as president I ran even more competitions with increasingly larger prizes to incentivise more participants. We also ran workshops to help students on a variety of courses who took an interest in games development to learn and improve their skills. Being involved in this society definitely helped me become more organised, and also improved my confidence. I felt like I belonged at the uni rather than just being an add-on.

Now that I am graduating, I feel like my skills have completely changed. When I initially applied to university, I applied for Computer Science. I didn’t know what I would learn at uni, or what career I’d go on to do. However through Clearing I saw that I could potentially work in the games industry doing the things that I enjoy most. I’ve moved on from Maths and Physics to 3D modelling and level design, and I can now apply for careers as an artist. It’s a great feeling and I know for sure that I wouldn’t have achieved any of this had I not gone through Clearing.

My advice for any students who are feeling nervous about Clearing is to make a back-up plan regardless of how well your exams went, and to make choices based on what you really enjoy.

By Ben Russell – BSc (Hons) Games Technology


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