Student blog post

My experience applying through clearing

Student Danila shares experience applying to the University of Dundee through Clearing

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2020 was a wild year for me (I am sure many will agree with that statement). I was 19 years old, living in Bulgaria. I started the year in an unhappy relationship, working full time in a job I did not see a future in and enrolled in a degree that I didn’t enjoy. I had no time to do any of the things I valued like music and art and design projects, as I was constantly tired and overwhelmed.

Fast forward a few months and suddenly I found myself in the middle of a lockdown. I was eager to make changes that would bring me closer to my goals; working in a creative graphic design job, having time to make art and play music, surrounded by people who love and appreciate me. 

My options at the time

I had always wanted to study abroad. I had the grades, and the resolve to work my way through a degree.

After I ended my relationship in March, I looked at Erasmus programs (now The Turing Scheme) through my university but had already missed all the deadlines for it. I had also missed all the application deadlines for first year enrolment abroad.

So, I thought I was stuck finishing the course I was on and spent a lot of time doing online graphic design classes to try and become a bit better at it. 


As we were celebrating my mum’s birthday, I got an email saying that Clearing was now open and there were spaces available for the course I was interested in at the University of Dundee. I applied that same day, spent a month’s salary translating, legalising and preparing my documents. I worked hard to create a new portfolio – I didn’t have anything ready as I was not planning to apply and just hoped I had a shot.

With a lot of effort, I was accepted and bought a one-way ticket to Edinburgh on the 10th of September 2020.

It felt like a dream as it all happened so fast, and I didn’t quite process the changes in my life until I was sitting in my new student accommodation.

Overall, the process of applying was really easy and straightforward (even more so if you have your documents and portfolio ready). Since I knew I was only applying to one course in one university, I didn’t bother with UCAS but called the Clearing application phone line directly and was able to submit my documents, sit an English exam and get the acceptance letter in 3 weeks or less. 


While the uncertainty of taking last minute decisions can be stressful, taking a shot at it and trying to change your life for the better is never a mistake. Whether you are fresh out of school and couldn’t get a place in your initial application, or if you have taken a few years to figure things out, like me, and need a change, Clearing offers you an opportunity to take charge of your life, even if things don’t go quite as planned.

Personally, it is the best choice I have ever made, and my life is so much better now. I am a lot more competent, surer of my skills and what I have to offer as a young professional. I have made a lot of wonderful friends, have a lovely partner and made priceless memories. I am in a band that I have lots of fun with, making original music and playing in local pubs.

I am busy, but I am happy. And it is all thanks to taking a chance last minute on Clearing. 

Find out more about UCAS Clearing 

Danila Petrova

Originally from Bulgaria, studied Digital Interaction Design.

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Student voice category Campus life, Clearing