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I “failed” my A Levels! Sally Mallinson Ayres discusses the benefits of Clearing.

With A-Level results day looming and the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought to the realms of those that should have sat exams earlier in the year, it set me thinking about the days when I took my A-Levels.

I chose the subjects that I enjoyed; English Language and Art. I then bolstered on to this two additional subjects, being the ones I thought I needed to get onto my Undergraduate course, Sociology and History. I was warned doing four would be hard but I didn’t want to listen and on results day I wish I had! I didn’t get the grades I either wanted or needed and was highly disappointed. I also thought that those around me were disappointed in me – totally not true but that was how I felt and nothing anyone said could make me feel any better. Fast forward a few years with the knowledge that no one really cares what A-Level grades I got and all is well but I still remember that feeling as if it was yesterday.

On the day I collected my grades I remember my art teacher couldn’t look me in the eye whilst I stood in the queue to get my slip of paper that would ultimately confirm which direction my future would take and I knew all was not well. Up to that moment I didn’t have a contingency plan but then something clicked – Clearing was my answer. After speaking with a member of staff on the SHU Clearing Team I secured my place on the law degree and that was that. It didn’t stop me feeling disappointed but it certainly meant I had something to look forward to and something that mapped onto what I actually wanted to do in life.

Clearing has advanced so much since my experience twenty years ago but still there’s the perception that it’s only somewhere you go to if you “fail”. That’s not true. People go through Clearing to secure their places for many different reasons and it should never be overlooked.

If you don’t get the grades that you need to do your law degree then there are other courses that you can do, that will lead you to the same place. You might actually want to take an undergraduate course is something non law related and then do the LLM in Legal Professional Practice. Yes, it might add a year to your studies but it’s a great way to still get a varied education with some practical experience here at SHU Law. On the grand scale of things and with the ever increasing retirement age, an additional year is nothing to get you where you want to be….. it’s just a bit like taking a detour on a road trip! The key is that if it’s something that you really want to do you just don’t give up.

Good luck to those of you collecting your results tomorrow and if you need any advice please contact the SHU Clearing Team on 0330 024 6390.

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