What’s Clearing actually like?

A first-hand account of a student going through the Clearing process, and how it changed their life

Date: 09 August 2019

When applying to university through Clearing, the whole process can seem daunting. You may not have got the A level results you were hoping for, or perhaps you think that your grades or past experience aren’t going to be good enough.

We spoke to alumnus Joshua Derraji, who was a mature and advanced entry student, about how they found Clearing.

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What did you do before coming to London Met through Clearing?

I finished my A levels, heading straight into university. My year group across the country was the last before the tuition fees went up, so getting a place at any university was a bit of a scramble. I was accepted onto an English Literature and Creative Writing BA at the University of Westminster. 

However, due to both personal issues and a strong feeling of having rushed myself into higher education, I dropped out after completing my second year.

For the next four years, I worked in the hospitality industry and while it had its ups, there were many more downs, and I knew the time had come to go back to studying so I could break into an industry that offered more stable, progressive career prospects, although I was open-minded to what that industry could be.

How did you find out about London Met?

I mentioned my desire to go back to studying in passing to a good friend, whose sister had just completed a Creative Writing and English Literature BA at London Met only a month before. I got in contact with her and told her my story, which turned out to be identical to hers. She urged me to at least enquire about completing my final year there, even though I was adamant they would never let me. It all seemed like a pipedream to me.

After weeks of putting off, I finally made the decision to apply through Clearing in late August 2017.

What was applying through Clearing like? What did you have to do?

The first thing I did was research. I looked at the teaching staff on the Creative Writing and English Literature BA, as well as the alumni. I remembered my friend’s sister mentioning how amazing Trevor Norris - the course leader - was and after reading his biography and the module structure of the final year, my mind was made up.

The next step was looking for vacancies on the course through the University website, which there was, and giving the Clearing hotline a call.

The person I spoke to was informed, kind and extremely helpful. After explaining the last six years of my educational life to them, they explained that I would need to both create a UCAS profile, and send them my transcripts from previous studies at the University of Westminster.

The next day, after completing both tasks, my transcripts and information were sent to Trevor, where he would make the decision as to whether I could complete my final year at London Met.

The day after that, just over 48 hours since making the decision, Trevor personally emailed me to say I had enough credits and personal experience to complete my final year.

Words cannot describe how I felt at that moment and now, two years since then, I graduated with First class honours and work full-time as a Press Officer for London Met, within an industry that’s rewarding, challenging and worthwhile - which is the reason I went back to study in the first place.

I owe all of this success not just to the teaching staff on my course, but also to how well London Met does Clearing. If they had not been so supportive, clear and compassionate when I initially enquired, my journey could have been a very different one.

Advice for anyone entering clearing?

My advice is to try and be as calm as possible. Do your research on the course you’re interested in, looking at the modules, in particular, to make sure it's right for you. And most importantly - when speaking to someone on the Clearing hotline, really listen to what they’re saying. Their primary goal is to help you as best as they can, and they really know what they’re doing!