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Navigating results day nerves, Clearing and accepting an offer!

What to do if your results aren't what you expected and apply to university

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In the run-up to A Level Results Day, I have been thinking back to when I was a prospective student, filled with anxiety about my grades and where I would end up studying in the next few months. I am sure that some of you reading this are feeling the same, so I wanted to share my experience and (hopefully) put your mind at ease! 

My journey to studying Law at Dundee University was not a straightforward one, having applied for a completely different subject area via UCAS and changing my mind during the Summer after I left school. Until a few weeks before I got my A level results, I was certain that I was going to study Fashion Communications and Business in Brighton! Although as time went on, it just didn’t feel like the right decision for me. 

In school, I had always loved studying English Literature; I liked the analytical nature of the subject and found that I had a knack for writing essays and picking out details in difficult texts. During the first COVID-19 lockdown (which fell coincidentally on the same few months before I started university) this passion for reading and problem solving grew, as I filled my newly found free time with my nose in a book or writing short blogs! I also watched a lot of YouTube that Summer, especially videos made by legal influencer and “Magic Circle” trainee lawyer (badass) Eve Cornwell. Hearing Eve talk about her experiences studying Law at university, and all the exciting opportunities she was involved in, provoked my interest in changing my course choice to Law. I had no lawyers in my family, and had never met a Law student before, but I was inspired by the fact that she seemed similar to me (not dull and scary like I thought all lawyers were meant to be) and it felt a lot less daunting.

When results day came around, I was determined that I would study Law at university and apply for a place through clearing. The idea of clearing scared me, and it felt like I had failed somehow, but now I know that applying through clearing is the best decision I have made! 

On the day, I made a list of universities I wanted to contact; I had previously carried out my own research on university and subject league tables, and of course considered things like location and graduate prospects. Dundee University clearly stood out to me, for having an excellent reputation for Law and having an amazing rating for student satisfaction. I also had a few family members who had graduated from Dundee University, who raved about the excellent student community and how Scottish people were similar to the Irish (having lived in Dundee for two years now I can confirm this is true, though the Irish can handle their drinks better!)

I called a few different university admissions on the day, but it was the lady I spoke to on the phone from Dundee University who solidified my decision. From the beginning she was warm and friendly, congratulating me on my A level grades, and she reiterated that Dundee Law school would love to have me as a student. This conversation put my nervous mind at ease and I felt comforted and excited that my journey to studying Law was beginning! I had never been to Dundee, and had only been to Scotland once before, so making the decision to commit study there for the next three years was difficult at first but it has been so worth it!

If you are having second thoughts about your subject or university choice, or even want to see what places are still out there, I would encourage you to check out clearing on results day! Remember that it is never too late to change your mind, and that if you do it does not mean you have failed… just go with your gut! If you have any worries or questions about it, please feel free to comment below.

I hope that any applicants reading this know to stay relaxed and follow the path which feels best for you. If your results are not as expected, do not be hesitant to look for places through clearing, it worked out great for me!

As my Mum always says, “If it’s meant for you, it won’t pass you”. 

Good luck!

Joanna Kyle

Joanna is studying Law at the University of Dundee.

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Student voice category Campus life, Clearing