Ruvimbo Hungwe

Ruvimbo is studying Microbiology in the School Of Life Sciences.

Tell us about your experience of going through clearing

Sometime in August the day after exam results and early in the morning I logged onto my UCAS account to see what universities had accepted me out of the conditional offers I had received. With fingers crossed I checked, only to see that none of the universities had offered me a place. In that moment I began to panic at the thought of not being able to go university and the daunting feeling of starting again. Suddenly it became a race, as if it were the “Hunger Games” for universities during clearance. As I sat at the computer with my mother going through universities that would accept me, I vividly remember writing down list of universities that advertised my course and others related to my course. There was a lot of calling and emailing back and forth between various university administrators, it was also a race against time. I then chose Heriot-Watt university for it was more appealing than the rest after carrying out some research. With the help of Mrs Jolanda M. Currie, the undergraduate Administrator for the School of Life Sciences, it became a smooth and easy process to enrol in the university.

What advice would you give to a student going through clearing?

My first piece of advice is not to panic too much and not think it's the end of the world that you were not accepted by the universities you applied for. In fact, you will find later on that it is a blessing in disguise that it turned out that way. It is important to do thorough research of the universities offering places in your course or related courses during the clearing process, and not just to take any offer for the sake of getting into university. Your research must include their ranking according to your course and how prestigious they are in your subject, student satisfaction and student to teacher ratio in terms of tutoring and their facilities. It is also important you go through the course programme and duration. Another thing to look at is if you are looking for a large metropolitan university, a medium size one or small university that you would be most comfortable. Another important thing to look at would be if the university offers scholarships that are non-academic and what student support they offer. Clearing is not about getting left over universities, but gives you an opportunity to choose a university that best suits you.

Why did you choose Heriot-Watt? 

After doing my own research I discovered Heriot-Watt was built on the idea of providing science and technology to its students, which very much interested me. The most mind blowing fact to me was that the university was founded by James Watt, the father of the steam engine and contributor to the unit of energy which we all use and see every day. Not only was I now eager, but I felt as a scientist it would be a privilege to learn at such an institution. This wasn't the only endearing thing about the university but that the course programme was exactly what I was looking for. As an international student the size of the university was an important deciding factor. For me, the smaller the university the easier I found it to settle in. The campus is also a global village with 35 percent of its students being international from 123 countries, which actually put me at ease about applying to Heriot-Watt University. At the time of clearing, the university was working on revolutionary technology where a 3D printer that would be able to print body parts with the use of stem cells, which gave me even more confidence with my choice.