Harriet Spoor, a Politics student, has just completed her first year at Queen Mary University of London. After a late change of direction, Harriet arrived from the Sydney Russell School in Dagenham through Clearing and she is keen to share her experience with students ahead of this year’s Results Day.
Each year tens of thousands of students enter university through Clearing.
Harriet discusses how Clearing worked for her, why diversity and inclusivity were important considerations for her, helpful tips, and her time at Queen Mary so far.
What do you remember about your experiences last year?
I remember being very uncertain leading up to the big day. I had doubts about the course that I had chosen as my firm and just wasn’t sure it was right for me. I’d already been keeping an eye out for alternative options.
When I got my results, I saw that Queen Mary offered the course that I wanted to do, trusted my gut feelings, and called the Clearing helpline. Before I knew it, the place was confirmed. Emotions run high on the day and it can be stressful, so it helped that the people I spoke to were well informed and eager to help.
Do you have any advice for students who go through Clearing this year?
It sounds obvious, but you cannot overstate the importance of being prepared. Start looking at what’s out there in advance and be ready to hit the phones early on the day. Places go quickly so there’s little room for indecision.
I’d also say keep an open mind. There’s nothing wrong with changing your university or course at the last minute.
Do you think there are any myths around Clearing that need dispelling?
We need to kill off the idea that there’s any stigma attached – it’s simply not true. You certainly shouldn’t be put off if your results aren’t quite as you had hoped, you want to change what you’re studying or where. The system is there to help - it can change your life!
It’s not the case of there being limited choice. I also found a lot of other sought-after degrees and universities in Clearing.
How important was inclusivity to you when choosing a university?
Very. I’m from a working-class family, living in an area where progressing to higher education is not the norm. Finding a Russell Group university where this is not an issue was vital for me. Knowing that universities like Queen Mary welcome students with open arms, regardless of background, was a big factor in giving me the confidence to use Clearing.
I'm now a Student Ambassador and it is a privilege to help people like myself see that higher education is always an attainable goal, it is possible to succeed and progress.
What else made you choose Queen Mary? And how have you found your first year?
I knew it had a great reputation academically and being from London I knew I wanted to stay in the city. There’s just nowhere else like it.
My first year has been fantastic. I’ve been surprised how much I feel part of the university even though I don’t live on campus. There’s a very familial, communal feel about Queen Mary - a real focus on everyone being involved both socially and academically.
Have you given any thought to what you might want to do after university?
I’m keeping options open, but would like to do a Master’s degree at Queen Mary. I love the atmosphere and the close relationship with my lecturers and tutors - they make it hard to want to go anywhere else!
If you would like to hear more about Clearing or ask any questions to our current students, you can join our series of webinars designed to help navigate the journey to higher education.
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