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Cleared for take-off – the power of a second thought

Not getting the A-level grades you wanted needn’t be a barrier to securing your place on a fantastic university course – just ask Emily Pearson.

A move to her first-choice university fell through last summer when Emily’s A-level results weren’t what she’d hoped for. But after using the Clearing service, she found the course of her dreams at the University of Northampton, and hasn’t looked back since.

Clearing allows applicants like Emily to find courses which haven’t been filled for the new academic year, and is also used by those who are applying late for a course, or if they are a mature student.

emily pearson 1
Emily Pearson

“It might feel like the end of the world that you didn’t get the grades you’d hoped for, but if you really want to go to university, do it,” said Emily, who comes from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. “Just breathe, take it slowly, think about what you really want to do and use that to narrow down your options. Don’t give up, it will all work out in the end.”

Now, a year into her Advertising and Digital Marketing course, Emily’s certain she made the right decision.

“It’s everything I could have hoped for,” said the former Sir Christopher Hatton Academy, Wellingborough, and Northampton College student. “The course is really interesting and all of my modules overlap really well, so the knowledge is easily passed from one to another. I also had the opportunity to go to New York in January, which was an absolutely amazing experience which I will never forget.”

Emily added:  “Making new friends was one of the things I was most nervous about, but it was really easy in the end. All of my tutors are also very helpful and friendly and are there for me whenever I need anything.”

Clearing is not just about a second chance when your grades are not what you hoped – it is also a chance to think again about whether you have made the right choice of course.

After applying to study history at university, Shannon Evans began to have doubts about her subject choice.

While it was her favourite A-level subject, Shannon wasn’t convinced a history degree would offer her a clear career path.

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Shannon Evans

“I’d applied for a place at Coventry University, but decided to wait for my A-level results so I could reconsider my options,” said Shannon. “After receiving my results I spoke to my head of sixth form, who suggested I looked at different degrees that interested me, which is how I found Events Management and the universities running that course – and Northampton caught my eye.”

Shannon called the Clearing hotline and after a brief time on the phone, she’d signed up to study Events Management at the University of Northampton.

Clearing allows applicants like Shannon to find courses which haven’t been filled for the new academic year, and is also used by those who are applying late for a course, didn’t get the grades they’d hoped for, or if they are a mature applicant.

“The Clearing process was very simple,” said Shannon, who comes from Coventry. “If you want to change your university choice, or the course you’d originally applied for, by going through Clearing you’ll be able to find something that is well suited for you.”

Now, a year into her course, Shannon is certain she made the right choice.

She said: “I love my course. The learning is very hands on, with lots of amazing opportunities such as trips to London where I’ve experience things such as a behind-the-scenes tour of Wimbledon. The lecturers on the course are very experienced in the events industry, so as well as learning what is needed for your degree they are always there to help and push you in the right direction career-wise.”

Shannon added: “I’ve also met lots of new people who share the same interests as me. Having new friends to go through the ‘uni experience’ with you helps a lot, especially when it’s people from your course who are pushing you to try your best.”

The University’s Clearing website is now open, and includes details of all the courses that are still open for applications. https://www.northampton.ac.uk/clearing/

Would-be students are also invited to attend the University’s Open Day, which takes place on Saturday 19 August. https://www.northampton.ac.uk/events/open-day-19-august/

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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