Maria Belton

Maria is studying Mathematics with Physics in the School of Mathematics and Computer Sciences.

Tell us about your experience of going through clearing

I was away from home on a scout camp and I knew I wasn’t going to hit my required grades for other university places. So the night before I did some research on my phone into what universities normally have spaces for clearing, which courses and universities I liked the look of, and where I felt I would achieve the grades for. I wrote down the details of Heriot-Watt and called in the morning from a very noisy campsite once I had been placed into clearing, the person who I spoke to on the phone was really friendly and quick and I got my offer. I had a think about it over night and accepted the next day. I thought it would be hard to change my student finance and get my first choice accommodation, but it was quick and easy.

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

Plan, Prepare, don't Panic:

Plan everything out about a week before, based on the grades you could possibly get, look online at different university courses and write down pro's and con's of each, and pick 4/5 to write down phone details/course codes for. Have a note pad with your details written down for when speaking over the phone. Leave space for questions you ask and the answers, in a stressful situation you might not remember everything that was said.

Prepare what you are going to say on the phone, it sounds odd but I know for me, missing my grades was upsetting and I didn’t want to cry on the phone or say the wrong things. You also need to be prepared that your first option for clearing won't have spaces on that specific course or at all, for me I would have compromised and done mathematical physics instead of maths and physics if it meant going to heriot-watt, but I would not have done just maths.

Don't panic, there are loads of universities in the UK, and lots of different courses, you might not have even considered your perfect university, just because you missed the offer for a university you chose months ago doesn’t mean you won't find somewhere else great. 

Why did you choose Heriot-Watt?  

It was a campus university and I liked the idea of everything being close. I also fell in love with the city, Edinburgh is just beautiful as a city and with the surrounding hills. It had a good reputation for Maths and I could do a four year course because it's in Scotland, so the entry requirements suited me.