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Sadie Hills

BSc (Hons) Child & Adolescent Mental Health & Wellbeing

I think there are misconceptions that you only go through Clearing when you fail your exams, but through my own personal experience, I now know this isn’t the case.

Why did you enter Clearing?

Clearing was not my first choice. Originally, I had applied for Adult and Mental Health Nursing at five southern universities as they were closer to me. However, when it came to the interview process, I did not get into two of the universities and two of them weren’t offering the course for that year. So I had the opportunity to change the course to just Mental Health Nursing or to defer for a year so I could do the course that I wanted to do. My final university choice was somewhere that I didn’t really want to go to.

Initially, I planned to accept the deferred offer at University of West London and take a gap year just to earn some money and gain experience. However, the more I thought about the difficulties I faced in regard to the course not being available or me not being accepted, I took it as a sign that university may not be for me. I had thought about just trying to find a nursing apprenticeship and go down that route instead. I thought this might be the best option for me as it gave me time to fully decide if I wanted to go to university as, previously, it had never been my goal. I was happy with this decision until I saw my friends begin to prepare for university. This made me realise how much I actually did want to go and just begin university rather than wasting a year of potentially not finding work or an apprenticeship and doing nothing.

What was your perception of Clearing before you went through it?

Before going through Clearing, I didn’t really understand how it worked. At school we didn’t really get taught about that part of the UCAS process, it was more a case of if you needed to go through Clearing then you would be told more about it. I think there are misconceptions that you only go through clearing when you fail your exams, but through my own personal experience I now know this isn’t the case. You can literally just change your mind on the course you are doing if you need to find a different one.

I see it as a really positive thing now because it doesn’t limit you by having to stay with what you originally chose. Clearing gives you the opportunity to change your mind or, maybe if you didn’t do so well on your exams, you can still go to university as Clearing allows that.

What factors made you settle on the course you chose?

Primarily the content of the course. If I was to describe what area I wanted to work in, the course would meet all of that. The location didn’t really bother me too much. Although Edge Hill is quite far from my home, for me part of university is the opportunity to go to a new place, which is what I’ve done. It is also nearby to where my sister goes to university, so I knew I’d have someone close. From what I had seen and read online, the University itself was forward-thinking and modern, which drew me in.

Did you do any research about Clearing prior to receiving your results to prepare?

I didn’t do any research about Clearing before results day as, honestly, I didn’t really think that Clearing was an option for me. I assumed that the course I applied for I would stick with, so I wouldn’t need to go through Clearing.

Did you attend a Clearing Open Day and, if so, how was it?

I didn’t get a chance to visit the campus before I enrolled so I did some research online. I watched some campus tour videos on YouTube to prepare myself and so I could picture what it looked like as I never got a chance to view it. I also joined some Facebook pages for both my course and where I was living and followed Edge Hill on Instagram to learn more about and get a feel for what the University was like.

Was there a specific reason you chose to apply to Edge Hill in Clearing?

The course was what really stood out to me and was what I was looking for during the clearing process most of all – I just wanted a course that I would be happy with. I looked on UCAS at the different courses that were still available at the time, and I found Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing at Edge Hill – although I had no idea where Edge Hill was, the course was everything that I wanted to do. So I took the chance. I called up a number and spoke to someone who helped me get onto the course.

How did you find the process of applying to Edge Hill in Clearing?

The process was very simple and easy – I was enrolled that same day. I did panic beforehand about how it would go, however all it really took was one phone call for me to be enrolled. It made the whole ‘going to university’ process easier as it didn’t take a lot of time to sort, meaning I could organise other things like student finance. Given that it was only about three weeks before I moved to university, the process was so stress-free and I was able to prepare everything on time. Edge Hill gave me all the information I needed and in terms of email communications, everything was easy to understand and access. There isn’t anything about the process that I would change.

Did you find a place to live easily?

I applied for campus accommodation and got my second choice, which I am actually much happier with than if I had got my first choice. Finding accommodation was also a simple process, although I would say that it is something to sort out as soon as you can just to make sure you have time to sort everything you need to before you start and you get somewhere you would like to live.

Have you enjoyed your course and time at university so far?

Yes, much more than I thought I would. I have made lots of great friends and settled into the course well. The university and Ormskirk as a whole have exceeded my expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect as I hadn’t had the chance to visit before I began, but I feel like I made the right choice. By all of a sudden changing my mind, although it gave me less time to prepare, I wouldn’t change the fact I did that. I believe I’m on a better-suited course for me now than those I had originally applied for and I am much more confident in where this course will lead me in the future.

I enjoy the content of the course, and I think it is taught in a way that is understandable. I like how the different modules are taught in different ways so it isn’t always the same style of teaching, meaning it never gets boring. One challenging thing is getting used to writing long assignments and making sure you give yourself enough time to complete them and read them, but the lecturers and tutors are there to help you with this. All of my lecturers have been very supportive and are really friendly. They have explained the assignments well and if I have ever needed help they are always just an email away for me to speak to. I’ve met my tutor a few times, who is nice and makes it easy to share something if you feel you need to. It’s nice to know that there is someone that you can go to for support, whether it be about the course, university life, or anything else.

What advice would you give to students who find themselves in Clearing?

I would say just to trust the process. It can be stressful, the initial thought of going through clearing. It can feel like you’re not going to be able to go to university, or you’re going to be on a course which you actually don’t want to do. But just take your time, there are always other options and loads of courses out there that are available through clearing – you might even see a course that you didn’t know existed but is more suitable for you, which is what happened to me. As well, don’t feel bad about looking at Clearing. If it’s going to lead you to what you want to do, then take the chance.