Clearing Success Story – Helen, University of the West of England, Bristol

Helen, UWE

Helen originally applied to study English but had a change of heart when she didn’t get her expected grades. She’s now studying Geography at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE).

What circumstances led you to enter Clearing?

I originally wanted to study English at Exeter. I’d sent off my applications in the autumn, but by January the next year I was asking myself if I really wanted to study it.

I’d worked really hard for my A Levels so I was shocked when I didn’t get the grades I needed. I burst into tears – it was a real whirlwind of a day. When I went through Clearing I looked at Geography courses instead.

Did you do any preparation or research before Results Day?

I did a lot of research for my original application, and went to open days. I’d expected to get my grades, so I hadn’t thought about Clearing at all.

Where did you go for help and support throughout the process?

I had spoken to a few admin people at different universities, but the real turning point was when Andrew, the Geography course leader at UWE Bristol, rang me directly. I was impressed he’d made the effort to call me himself. I asked lots of questions about the course and he was really calm and helpful, which had a big impact when the day had been so stressful!

How did you find out what courses were available?

My teacher sat with me and we spent the morning looking online for available courses and ringing round universities.

What factors made you finally settle on the course you chose?

The course modules ticked all the boxes for me – they covered globalisation and current affairs, things I was really interested in. The open day was fantastic too – really well organised. I got to talk to the lecturers who were great, and I liked the accommodation and the lovely green campus. I felt relaxed and comfortable there.

Did you find a place to live easily?

I was very worried finding accommodation would be difficult because it was so late in the day, but I’ve ended up with really lovely accommodation right on campus.

How has your time at university been? Has it delivered what you were looking for and are you happy?

It’s been the best year of my life! I thought people might judge me on my grades but no one has even mentioned them. My course is even better than I expected – it’s interesting, I love our field trips and I’ve made good friends. I’ve joined the dance and netball societies, and next year I’m going to be on the dance committee.

How has your course supported or changed your career ambitions?

I always wanted to be a teacher and that’s still my plan in the long run. But through my course I’ve become really interested in areas of human geography like security and terrorism, so I might consider something related to that.