Case study

Sport and exercise science student — Cleo Morris

After receiving her A-level results and not getting in to her first-choice university, Cleo decided to go through Clearing and has now successfully completed the first year of the BSc Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Bedfordshire

What was it like going through the Clearing process?

While it was great that I received the grades to go to my insurance choice on A-level results day, I wasn't happy with the course offered to me at the university, nor the location. So, I decided to go through Clearing.

I found the process to be relatively straightforward. By matching my results to the universities and courses available, I was able to research into each university. This involved calling the Clearing hotline for the universities I was interested in and finding out about any opportunities to visit the campus, such as open days or tours.

Do you have any advice for other students?

If you're considering going through Clearing on A-level results day, it's good to be prepared by reading into the UCAS Clearing process. This is a great way to calm the nerves and discover the options you have, should you not get the results you want.

Why did you choose this university?

My decision to accept the offer from the University of Bedfordshire was influenced by my visit to the campus through a Clearing open day.

I had the opportunity to speak to my course leads, which helped me understand my course better, and I could see the facilities for myself and get a feel for campus life.

How is the course structured and assessed?

The general course lasts for three years. However, there are other variations you can take within the course - for example, a foundation year or professional practice year, which makes my course last for four years overall.

The modules combine a mix of scientific knowledge and sports performance, which includes core areas of sports and exercise science.

The course involves both practical and theoretical elements, including activities within the lab. It allows us to study the science behind sports and exercise performance, and by using the latest sports-specialised equipment and sports science research, it helps us understand what makes a great sports performer.

What's your university experience been like so far?

It's been great so far and I've already had some memorable moments in my first year. I've always wanted to go to university and moving away from home to go to a new city for university was a new challenge for me, but I've learned to embrace it.

When it comes to my degree, I've enjoyed the practical aspects of my course, such as getting to use the latest sport-specialised equipment, as well as meeting my coursemates and the teaching staff.

Outside of learning, I've been involved with the university sports teams and have connected with other university communities through various social events. I also have to credit my family and friends, both new and old, for keeping me going during my first year and for supporting me.

What support have you received from the university?

I've received great support from my lecturers and my academic tutor, who've helped me to overcome challenges in my studies. The student information desk has also been a great resource that has supported me with any academic issues.

How have you managed your finances as a student?

The maintenance loan has really helped. This is in addition to me working part time, which I balance alongside my studies.

Understanding how to budget for things including food shopping, eating out, rent and travel and applying this before you go off to university will help you manage your finances as a student.

Although it's hard to do, try to save while at university. Having some money on the side is useful for any unexpected expenses that may pop up or for a particular goal you have in mind such as a holiday with friends.

What tips would you give to others thinking about going to university?

  • Pick a course you're going to enjoy and are interested in - remember that this course will be your life for the next three or four years and eventually your career. Research plays a big role in choosing a course that's perfect for you. Talking to current students is also useful in understanding the course you're interested in better.
  • Take care of yourself and keep connected - it's important to check in and look after yourself, both mentally and physically. Moving away from home and going to university is a big change, and it's normal to feel homesick, especially within the first few weeks of university. One of the best ways to tackle feelings of homesickness is to get out of your room and try and meet some new people. You could get involved with societies, sports teams, and students' union events. This is a great way to meet new people on different courses and network with other students who'll be in the same position. Also, while it's great that you're getting involved with societies and meeting new people, try not to forget friends and family back home. Throughout my first year, I visited home several times as well as friends at neighbouring universities. They can provide you with helpful advice and support, so it's important to keep in touch with them.
  • Be organised and have a balance - having a balance between university life, study and other commitments, such as a part-time job or extra-curricular activities, is crucial to the success of your academic journey. However, this can get challenging and overwhelming, so it's good to have a clear system where you can track your progress. To help you with this, keep a diary or planner where you can write down the dates of assignment deadlines. By having a visible calendar, this can remind you of these key dates. Note taking during lectures is also a huge help. Lecturers love to go off the slides and might provide additional knowledge that's useful for future assignments. Notepads such as Pukka pads as well as laptops are perfect for note taking and help you keep your notes organised and kept in one location.
  • Make the most out of the university experience - take every opportunity that comes your way, whether related to your course or not. You never know where it could take you. Going to university is one of the highlights of your academic journey and it's important you enjoy it. You can do this by participating in various events at your university, talking to other students and staff and looking out for opportunities to get involved. This can be either through volunteering or becoming a student rep or ambassador. All these experiences are valuable as they will broaden your perspective and make you more employable by having something new on your CV.

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