Blog post

Achieving success through Clearing

By Lauren Marr - 8 June 2021

Finding out about Clearing 

When I was in sixth form studying for my A-levels, I was very confused about what I wanted to do after I left. I had applied for several different universities across a variety of courses and my first-choice university gave me a conditional offer. I was excited about the offer, but I was also very worried.  

My first-choice university was 147 miles away from my home, from my family, from the life I had built. For a lot of people, this is what they want out of their university experience – a fresh start in a new place to begin their future. For me, it almost halted me in my journey. So, I decided that I was going to decline my offers and hope to get into the University of Derby through Clearing. This was still scary, but I knew that the University of Derby was where I needed to be.  

I knew almost nothing about Clearing. My sixth form had not presented it as an option to me; after all, I had been given offers from all the universities I had applied to. I even thought that you could only contact the Clearing phone lines and make applications on the day that our A-level results came out. This meant that on results day I spent several hours on the phone and hunting through the University of Derby website trying to find a course that suited me.  

So much support 

The staff on the other end of the phone surprised me each time I called; they were always so helpful. Since joining Derby, I now understand that the people on the other end of the line are from across the University – they live and breathe the University every day and understand what it feels like to be a part of the team. They answered all my questions and if they personally couldn’t, they went out of their way to find someone who had the answers I needed.  

During my A-levels, I studied a range of subjects including an extended project qualification (EPQ) in photography. While this was interesting and engaging for me, it meant that I had UCAS points across various subject matters. The UCAS points I had earned added up to be more than I needed to get into Derby; however, they could only accept a limited amount of these points. This meant that I was placed on a foundation year before I could progress onto my undergraduate degree course.  

Aligned to my career 

At first, I was disappointed, but as soon as I sat down in my first lesson, I knew that I was going to enjoy this foundation year. I studied six subjects: Maths, English Literature, Business Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Study Skills. Some of these were subjects that I never would have thought to study on my own and would not have had the opportunity to study as I had not chosen them at A-level.  

I am incredibly grateful to have gained this experience; Business Studies has made me realise that I enjoy making marketing materials and learning how to advertise a brand to consumers. I am now looking towards a future career within marketing, specialising in the publishing industry. Before that, I am going to study a postgraduate degree in this field.  

Plenty of support and opportunities

The University of Derby is an amazing place filled with opportunities and support – you just need to be open to finding them and taking part. That is why I attend the Careers and Employment Service webinars and talks – I have learned so much about how to create a CV, and how to articulate my skills to employers, along with many other interesting topics.  


One of the achievements that I made through the Careers and Employment Service is the Futures Award. I have achieved both the Bronze and Silver award and I am now working towards the Gold award. The Futures Award is a celebration of the extra-curricular activities that students take part in. This can be a part-time job, volunteering, portfolio development or research projects to name a few. 

One of the activities I am doing to achieve the Gold Futures Award is taking part in the annual Education Symposium. This is a day in which students can create a short talk on an issue or topic in education that other students can attend and listen to. I am excited for this opportunity so that I can work on my public speaking skills as well as my research skills before entering my final year in which I will need to carry out research for my dissertation.  

In summary

My experience over the past three years at the University of Derby has been incredible and filled with so many different opportunities that I never would have experienced had I not called the Clearing team and secured a place.  

About the author

Lauren Marr smiling

Lauren Marr
English student

I'm currently a Masters in English postgraduate student and completed my undergraduate English with Education Studies BA (hons) here too. I work with the University as a Content Creator so I can share my experiences with current and future students!