This student says she found her perfect university by going through Clearing - and she’s speaking about her success to end the ‘stigma’ associated with the process.
University ‘Clearing’ is a system that lets prospective students explore their options and search for courses that still have availability.
It’s particularly important for students whose planned university pathways are blocked once their exam results are published - with A Level grades due to be released on Tuesday 10 August this year.
One student who utilised Clearing to her advantage is Laura Kenny - who ultimately joined Liverpool Hope University to study English Literature and Media & Communication and graduated with a 2:1 in the summer of last year.
She enjoyed her time at Hope so much she’s now employed there as a ‘Graduate Advocate’, helping others as they move through Further Education.
The 22-year-old says: “I think that Clearing still has a bit of a stigma attached to it - which is wholly wrong. I remember getting my results - which were not bad grades at all - and still feeling pretty panicked and daunted about the prospect of having to go through Clearing.
“In the end, I made the wrong decision, for me, by accepting my insurance choice rather than entering Clearing straight away.
“And speaking with the benefit of hindsight, I’d urge people who find themselves in my position to treat Clearing as if it’s an opportunity to get to know another university. It’s a chance to really think about your options and explore offers that you might never have considered before.
“To me, it’s a bit like a second round of speed dating! There’s a whole load of courses and universities to get acquainted with.
“And it shouldn’t be portrayed negatively at all. Clearing really worked out for me and it works for lots of other people, too.”
Before heading to university, Laura, from Aigburth, south Liverpool, studied for English Literature and Geography A Levels as well as a BTEC in Music.
She emerged with a Distinction in her BTEC and two Cs in her A Levels - falling just short of the ‘AAB’ A Level results she needed to get into her first choice Lancaster University.
Laura took up her insurance placement at a university in a nearby city, but says it quickly became apparent that she and that particular university just didn’t gel as she hoped.
She says: “I’d done my research, I’d been to the open day twice, and was convinced this university was going to be a great choice for me.
“I moved away, settled in… but something just wasn’t right for me. It was my first time living away from home, which was tough for me, and I struggled to find friends.
“I went to events, joined societies, and obviously went to my classes, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was in the wrong place.”
After almost two weeks, Laura took the difficult decision to withdraw from her original university - a tricky process that should not be undertaken lightly - and entered Clearing instead.
By the 4th October, she had an offer from Hope and was eager to take-up this new start.
Laura, who lived at home during her studies, adds: “I was torn between thinking I should stick things out where I was, and being pulled home. I even thought about forgetting about university altogether for a year, as I thought it’d be too late to apply anywhere else.
“But that’s where Clearing came in. I called Hope’s Clearing line, had a conversation with their admissions team, and they came back to me almost straight away saying that there was a place for me.
“When I found out I’d been accepted I was so happy. And in the end, I only actually missed a week of lectures at Hope.
“I was worried about arriving late and thinking, ‘Well, these people already know each other - will I still fit in?’ But these fears were completely unfounded. I joined the Musical Theatre Society with a girl from my class and everything else fell into place.
“With other universities, I think there’s a risk that you can feel like just one of hundreds of other people. But at Hope, it’s different. Lecturers want to get to know you, they’ll ask where you’re from and how you’ve arrived at Hope. For me, I quickly felt at home.”
Laura is also adamant that living at home still offered her an authentic university experience.
He explains: “For me, it was just nice to have an extra support system being so close to my parents. I still did all the things all of the other students enjoyed.”
Laura is now planning to study for a PGCE in Primary Education at Hope, beginning next year.
** On Monday August 2nd, at 6:30pm, Liverpool Hope University is joining forces with the Liverpool Echo to bring you a live webinar where experts reveal everything you need to know about how Clearing can help you on your career path.
To get involved, simply visit the Liverpool Echo News Facebook page at 6:30pm, August 2nd.
For more information about Clearing at Liverpool Hope University, head .