Issue date: 11 August 2009
Karen van den Berg decided to apply to the University of the West of England through clearing because although she had registered with UCAS she was not sure whether she wanted to go to university and had not actually applied.
Karen, who was at Ralph Allen School in Bath, has now finished the second year of a BSc Honours Degree in Town and Country Planning at UWE's School of the Built and Natural Environment.
She said, “When clearing came up, I thought I would have a look at what courses were still out there, and I was surprised at how much is still available at the time. I had studied geography, ICT and Business Studies for A levels, but didn't really know what I wanted to do as none of the A levels I had were subjects that I wanted to specifically concentrate on after school.”
She found the process of clearing at UWE was very easy. “I felt so at ease after getting in contact with UWE. I got to talk to the course leader who talked me through the course in detail to make sure it was what I wanted and answered all my queries and worries.
“I got onto the course I wanted - I did not even know town and country planning was a degree subject until I saw it in the paper and decided to look into it more as well as the other sorts of courses they offered at UWE. It was the first one I was offered and after looking around it was the one I decided to take.”
According to Karen, one of the advantages of the Town and Country Planning course is that it combines her three A level subjects and merges them into a degree.
She said, “My course has been so diverse and every module so different that I am constantly doing something new. I'm doing well in my studies and I'm so happy at UWE!
“I felt so settled here from when I first arrived. I've been Student Rep for my course for the last two years and love the course I do. I can't imagine what I would be doing if I wasn't here. I also got a job through UWE working in a local school as a teaching assistant and Bristol's great too. There's always someone around to help and although Uni is often seen as something very independent, you don't have to do it alone!”
For students going through Clearing this year, Karen has this advice:
“Don't be scared! Clearing is a fantastic process and you can find what you want to do and great places to go even if they were not the ones you chose. Even if you're not sure about what you want to do or where you want to go, there's so many options to choose from and you're more than likely to find something that could change your life.”
When Karen finishes Uni, she plans to go travelling for a couple of years and possibly work in New Zealand or Australia for a while as a planner. When she comes back she would like to specialise either in community regeneration or urban design.
For more information on Clearing at UWE visit the Clearing website
For further Clearing profiles see:
Clearing opened doors of opportunity for me, says Mustofa
Studying at UWE helped me reach potential, says Lowri
Last minute degree decision pays off thanks to UWE Clearing