Helen's Clearing journey

Helen, 18, originally applied to study English but had a change of heart when she didn’t get her expected grades. She’s now studying Geography at UWE Bristol.

"I’d worked really hard for my A levels so I was really shocked when I didn’t get the grades I needed – I burst into tears. It was a real whirlwind of a day.

"My teacher sat with me and we spent the morning looking online for available courses and ringing round universities.

"The real turning point was when Andrew, the Geography course leader at UWE Bristol, rang me directly. I was impressed that he’d made the effort to call me himself. I asked lots of questions about the course and he was really calm and helpful, which had a big impact when the day had been so stressful!"

Choosing a new path

"The Geography course modules ticked all the boxes for me: they covered globalisation and current affairs, things I was really interested in.

"The UWE Bristol Open Day was fantastic too, it was really well organised. I got to talk to the lecturers who were great, and I liked the accommodation and the lovely green campus. I felt relaxed and comfortable there."

The right decision

"My first year at UWE Bristol has been the best year of my life.

"I thought people might judge me on my grades, but no-one has even mentioned them. My course is even better than I expected – it’s interesting, I love our field trips and I’ve made good friends. I’ve joined the dance and netball societies, and next year I’m going to be on the dance committee.

"I always wanted to be a teacher and that’s still my plan in the long run. But through my course I’ve become really interested in areas of human geography like national security and terrorism, so who knows what the future holds?"

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