"Clearing helped me find a course to match my career path"

Issue date: 12 August 2015

Naief Al-Shibli

Top 10 tips for dealing with UCAS Clearing - video by UWE Bristol students.

A level results day [13 August 2015] and the clearing period that follows immediately afterwards provide many opportunities for students to find a pathway to achieve their aspirations. For a lot of students this is a time to rethink their original choices and find a university that can truly fulfill their ambitions.

Kerry Fey Head of Admissions at UWE Bristol, says, “More and more students are questioning the type of university that is going to help them achieve their ambitions by looking at graduate employment opportunities and what support facilities universities offer when making their choice.

“Unemployment among recent, full time UWE Bristol graduates in 2014 was only 5%, six months after graduation. The UWE figure has been consistently ahead of the national average unemployment figure which has never been better than 7% for all full time, first degree UK and EU graduates. This record on employability means that a degree from UWE really helps students fulfil their career aspirations.

“We find that students who come to us via clearing are just as successful as those who don't, and for some students there is extra incentive to achieve. UWE offers guidance for those students making these choices and it is really important that students don't just take the first course offered but they take time to ensure that the course and the university they choose is right for them and will help them achieve their ambitions."

Case study 1

UWE Student Naief Al-Shibli was adamant about the subject he wanted to study at university and found the best place to help him meet his ambitions.

Naief said, “I had mapped out my path to study Accounting and Finance so I could pursue a career in the financial world or banking so I had to rethink my choices when I got my results. I went back to my original universities research and looked at what each course was offering because I knew that my focus would be on employability and the connections the university had with employers.

“I talked to each one and everyone I spoke to was helpful. I wanted to be absolutely sure it was the right choice for me, so I compared what the universities were offering. It was crucial for me to find the place that would help me forge a path to my chosen career because having lived abroad all my life I needed the connections and support that a good course would offer.

Now going into his third year on the BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance programme, Naief says his focus on finding the right place has paid off. “I have no regrets; the course has been a very positive experience and has lived up to all my expectations. I have also made the most of the many opportunities UWE has offered me – I have regularly made use of the Employability Zone where I have found help with CV writing and staff have pointed me in the direction of extra qualifications from the Institute of Leadership and Management that have proved valuable for me.

“The advice I would give to anyone facing clearing this year, is carry on with your research, solidify your options and get the right university for you, so you can get the most out of your time at university. My experience shows that even if you go through clearing you can still maintain your focus on your chosen career path and you won't miss out on opportunities.”

Case study 2

For Alex Mann there was a moment of self-doubt when he got his results that led him to question if going to university was really for him. “I really messed up my A levels and didn't get the spot I applied for. I had felt very confident going into the exams, but the results showed me that further study was going to be a lot harder than I had thought. I talked to my sixth form tutor and she gave me all the numbers I needed to call and I looked at courses at different cities on the UCAS website.

“I knew I would need to work a lot harder than I had before and that I would have had to do a foundation degree to get on to the course I wanted. I looked at a number of options, but I knew I wanted to move away from my home in Plymouth and really liked the sound of Bristol, so my decision was partly based on gut instinct.

“The experience of going into clearing really made me focus; I knew I wanted to go to University, so I took up the offer of the Foundation Degree at UWE. I am now about to start my third year of the BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, and it has really been an incredible experience. You often hear students saying that it's amazing when you go away to university, but until you get there you don't realise how good it is. It has been an amazing experience so far for me. I am so glad I came because I am now pursuing the subject I want to study and I can do what I want to do, despite the setback of not getting the right results initially.

“My decision has definitely paid off. I have met wonderful people and had the chance to grow up and take care of myself away from home. The learning side has been fantastic too – the lecturers are very friendly and available, and they will answer email questions especially around exam time. It has been a great experience to be with like-minded people who have an interest in the same subject.

“When I got my results I thought that maybe I wasn't cut out for it; but now that I've come here and gone through the course, I have had a great experience. I would say to anyone who is facing the same doubts, there's nothing stopping you, come and give it a try; if it works that's perfect, if not you know you have given it your best shot. Some people just need a shock to the system to get going; that's how it worked for me.”

The following courses will be offered at Clearing this year at UWE Bristol: Business and Management, Marketing, Economics, Accounting and Finance, Law, English, History, Education, Science, Criminology, Psychology, Geography.

The University is keen to offer extra places in skill shortage areas since they represent good employability and career opportunity for students.

UWE Bristol phone lines will be open from 07.00 on A-level results day - Thursday 13 August 2015 - to give advice. Potential students can call +44(0) 117 32 83333 as soon as they get their exam results. Those who already have their exam results can apply now.

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