Clearing is stressful enough for prospective students, but what about those already at university who are unhappy with their choice and need to use it to change course or institution? Two students who did just that share their experiences and offer their support and advice.
“If you’re not happy with the course you’re studying, or where you’re studying it, my first piece of advice would be to listen to your gut instinct! I was enjoying the first year of my degree in Cinema and Photography at the University of Leeds, but something just wasn’t quite right.
“It was only when I started doing some work experience at Ridley Scott Associates that I realised I was much more interested in the practical side of film. After a bit of research I had my heart set on the Practical Filmmaking course at Met Film School, but I’d missed the first opportunity to apply. Luckily, they were still accepting applications through clearing.
“It was a really nerve-wracking time, as I only had a week to complete my application form, which was quite comprehensive and involved answering several essay-based questions. I also had an interview, which I was initially worried about because I didn’t have much film-making experience. I had nothing to worry about, however, because it was more focussed on my passion for film and the industry, which I could talk about to no end!
Use Your Student Experience…
“I think the important thing when deciding to change course or university is to realise the wealth of experience that you’ve gained throughout your first year studying. Having already been students for a year, we have a better understanding of the system and what it takes to study academically; experiences that we can draw upon and use to our advantage when applying through clearing.
“Don’t worry that people think you are dropping out or giving up. It takes a lot of courage to not only realise that something isn’t right for you, but to also do something about it and improve your situation. If you can identify why you weren’t happy before, and explain your reasons and motivations for wanting to study something else, or go elsewhere, the admissions team will understand and respect you for your honesty. They’re people too, remember!”
Imran Salim applied to study Criminology at Bucks New University. Half-way through his first year he realised that whilst the university was the right fit for him, his course wasn’t, so decided to change.
Beat The Nerves…
“The first thing I’d say about clearing is that it’s normal to be nervous! It’s a completely different thing to the UCAS application, where you have months to write a personal statement, consider your universities, and decide which course you want to study. Suddenly it feels like you’ve only got a short time to make a decision, and that can be scary.
“I was lucky because I had the support of my friend, who had already chosen to go to Bucks New University, and knew me well enough to suggest I go as well. He knew it would be a good fit for me, too. The clearing process was really straightforward, and the admissions team were really helpful and supportive. On starting my course in September, I knew that Bucks New was the right place for me.
“However, I soon realised that although I’d chosen the right university, I hadn’t chosen the right course. Thinking back, I’d always had an interest in business, and been surrounded by business-minded people from an early age. I made the request to change my course to Business and Marketing Management, which involved applying to the head of business and convincing her to accept me onto the course. She was helpful, but thorough! It’s amazing how when you are forced to convince someone of the reasons why you want to do something it suddenly becomes clear in your mind too, and everything falls into place.
Don’t Be Scared to Change Course…
“I think a lot of people think that if they’re not happy with their course, they should just stop studying altogether. That’s definitely not the right way to look at things though; if you’re happy at your university then it’s worthwhile asking if you can change course. Bucks New was really understanding when I asked to change, and they provided me with a lot of support. There are often dedicated teams at universities who are there to help and advise on exactly this kind of thing, so it’s worth seeking them out and using them.
“If you’re confused and don’t have any ideas as to what you could study instead, think about what it is you enjoy doing and are passionate about. There are so many courses out there these days, and vocational ones especially are on the rise. If you want to study and go to university, there will definitely be a course that is perfect for you. You just have to find it!”