I always knew that I wanted to go to university and get a higher education. I was the first out of my family to go to university so it was a big deal, and finding the right one to go to was a big responsibility. At Sixth Form I was on track for my predicted grades of around B’s so I picked universities which reflected those grades, on the UCAS website I put down my options as soon as applications opened in October and I was happy with my decisions.

However, a lot happened between October and Results day in August. Who I was as a person, what I wanted out of university and my expected grades were all changing. Now I was working at A’s and an A*, here I realised I wanted to take a more ambitious path with my higher education. However, all of my friends and family knew where I originally wanted to go to university and me wanting to change my mind made me feel a sense of guilt for wanting to do something different, and this is where the University of Essex stood out to me.

The idea of clearing to me always had negative connotations and seemed very scary, but in reality the clearing option through the University of Essex helped me level up my whole life. After doing research I found out that the University of Essex’s Department of Government and my specific course ranked 2nd in the UK, had won ‘University of the Year 2018’ and several more awards which resonated with me. When I saw the UCAS clearing option I knew this was the right decision to make for myself and my future career.

On Results Day I declined my first choice and applied to Essex. Looking back now, everything was a blur, but the University of Essex was there to help me and I have never once regretted my decision. Telling my family and friends I applied through clearing also changed their perspectives on the whole process. It is never a negative thing to apply through clearing, and I would highly recommend it. To people who are unfamiliar with clearing, I explain it as being extremely positive and not shameful! It’s a second chance to change your mind, and a new opportunity to explore life and education in a different way.

The clearing process itself was super quick and easy. Firstly I called the universities clearing helpline and gave them a few details about myself, including: what course I wanted to study, my A-level grades, and personal details such as my phone number and home address.

After applying through clearing, I found out that same day that I got my place. Shortly after I was able to come and visit the University of Essex on 2 different open days. This was extremely helpful to me and my family as we could finally visualise where I was going to spend the next 3 years of my life.

Now I am currently in my 2nd year, I’m loving my student accommodation, my course, and my job which I got through the university. So many opportunities opened up to me through clearing and I will never look back. With my experience, I have now been able to help other students and parents navigate the clearing process and spread awareness of the amazing features which clearing has.

Whether you are an upcoming student, parent or guardian reading this, I hope my personal journey can shed some light on how amazing the University of Essex was at accommodating me and guiding me through the clearing process. If you are going through clearing, do not worry! It’s an amazing opportunity.


Good luck!


BA International Relations student