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Lauren missed her grades...

"When I found out I had to apply for a course at university through Clearing, I was so upset. I felt like I had failed myself but my partner helped me realise that everything happens for a reason as I still achieved good grades.

"I believe I have had more opportunities at St Mary’s than I would have had if I had gone to my first choice university. For example, I have been given the opportunity to study at The University of Notre Dame in Australia for a semester.

"Due to small class sizes, students at St Mary’s spend more time with lecturers who know each of us by name.

"Although Clearing may feel like the worst thing that could possibly happen to you, there are other people who go through the same thing - so you are not alone."

Lauren's top tip:

Look at every single university that does the course you want to do even if the grades are higher than what you achieved, as no university wants empty spaces. You may end up at a better university than the one you originally applied for.

Shannon changed her mind...

"Going through Clearing, for me, was a well thought out decision.

"I had changed my mind about what I wanted to study at university so even though I got onto the course I originally applied for, I decided to withdraw my application and use the Clearing process to apply for English and Creative and Professional Writing at St Mary's.

"I had originally applied to do English Language and Linguistics but felt that I wanted to do a more creative course rather than one that was theory-based, so it was definitely a bonus applying through Clearing as I ended up with a better subject choice. I found the process of withdrawing from my original course very stressful.

"However applying to St Mary's was fast and simple. It's a lovely University with good facilities. I would recommend it to people who are interested in sport or teaching and who enjoy quite a small community atmosphere."

Shannon's top tip:

Don't rush! Think carefully about your decision and look into the module options the courses have to offer.

Laura didn’t have a UCAS application...

"I was very excited to find out that I could still go to university even though I had made the choice at the last minute.

"I did not want to wait another year, as I would have probably abandoned the idea of studying towards a degree, so Clearing was the perfect option for me.

"I had huge support from my older sister, who was already at university, and my former teachers. The process was very clear and understandable and UCAS were very helpful in explaining what was needed.

"I am extremely happy with the choice I made through Clearing and after my first year I have settled into university life."

Laura's top tip:

Write everything down! With all the log-in codes, references, student finance and the choices it is so easy to lose track so I kept everything in one notebook for easy access. It’s also good to get as many people as possible to read through your personal statement.

Aminah was an international student that didn’t want a gap year...

"Initially I felt really nervous about going through Clearing as I thought I’d have to take a year out. However, my teachers reassured me that many students go through Clearing successfully every year.

"I have always wanted to be a PE teacher but have an interest in health, so Clearing turned out to be the better option for me as I never knew that a joint honours degree was available. I managed to get onto the joint honours course studying Physical and Sport Education with Health and Exercise Science.

"The Programme Director of Health and Exercise Science was very helpful when I spoke to her; she gave me a lot of information regarding the two subjects and university life, which helped me finalise the choice of my degree and university.

"The support I have received since Clearing has been brilliant and I am looking forward to the rest of my time here."

Aminah's top tip:

Don’t stress when ringing up the university; be yourself and relax! Clearing is not limited to home students; international students can also apply for courses through the process.