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My Clearing experience: An interview with Solomon Cairns

Solomon Cairns is a current student at ULaw, studying the LLB Law with International Business at our Bloomsbury campus in London. He joined us through Clearing in 2019 and we caught up with him to see how he found the Clearing experience and get his advice for any other students who might be going through the same process.

I originally chose to study at ULaw because I heard about its focus on employability and helping you with building your career path. There’s lots of pro bono opportunities and extracurricular activities, there are options to support you through your Masters too. I also saw a lot of information on how ULaw students are more likely to come out with a job at the end of their course. This was promising because there’s so much fear about coming out of university without a job.

I knew about The University of Law and put it down as my first choice. After that, I noticed on Facebook about the Clearing process, so I was aware that I could do that if I didn’t get the grades I hoped for.

Since starting at ULaw I have joined the boxing and football societies. They didn’t exist when I started so some friends and I teamed up and put them together. We start football next week but I’ve already made friends from organising them and through the WhatsApp chat. Just being in London alone has exposed me to lots of new cultures but ULaw itself is very diverse so it’s hard not to be involved with lots of new people with different and interesting cultures.

I decided to go through Clearing as I had not reached the required grade for one of my subjects. I came under the boundary by quite a bit but I was aware of that. However, I still wanted to go to ULaw, I wanted to come to London and it looked a good University for employability, so I thought it was worth a try.

I knew quite a bit about Clearing in advance because the college I came from educated everyone about it quite well. They made sure, in the event we did need it, we wouldn’t be bewildered by all this new stuff happening and we’d have an idea what to do. ULaw gave me lots of information during Clearing too, like the number to call, being talked through the process and I spoke to a couple of tutors who helped me too.

I was nervous on A-level results day. I was worried about what might happen if I didn’t get into the university I wanted and that my plans might have to change if I didn’t get offered a place. There’s a lot to take into account but you just have to manage it. You get your results at seven in the morning and see whether you have or haven’t met the conditions of your offer. After that, I had nervous wait until Clearing opened but you just have to keep calm. My sister was with me when I got my results, she’s already been through university and had knowledge of Clearing herself. She advised me and helped me out a lot with what to do – to start calling universities straight away and manage what my options were. I was still nervous as to how using Clearing was going to impact my plans for later that year.

The ULaw Clearing process was good. I initially spoke to them on the phone and after that they told me I would hear from an academic. The academic called me and ran me through an interview. I was asked questions like ‘why do you want to study law?’ Aside from waiting to hear a confirmed answer on whether I’d been accepted, I thought the process was relatively simple. Clearing worked out well for me as I still managed to get my first choice and I don’t feel I’m treated any differently for coming through that route.

My three tips for other students going through Clearing are; wake up early, try to talk to universities as early as possible before clearing opens and don’t cancel out any options. When you get to University, be open to meeting new people and interacting. During the first few days, you get given all these books and new logins but don’t get worried - it will all work out fine. Enjoy the feeling – because making it to University feels great.


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