Clearing offer eases the disappointment

Tawhid Ahmad, 18, Yorkshire

A levels: Biology (E), Chemistry (C), Maths (E)

Initial Plan: Medicine

Now: BSc Biomedical Science, Manchester Metropolitan University.

"I DIDN'T get a single offer from medical schools before my A levels, so I didn't have anything to work towards. I wasn't even invited for an interview. I was very disappointed. I had wanted to be a doctor from very young.

"I was expecting three Cs for my A-levels at least. My teachers thought I overworked for my A-levels, and that was one reason why my grades weren't too good. I was averaging 17.8 hours a day during the exams.

"When I got the results I went into school, and my head said to wait for the clearing form and bring it in and they would help me fill it in. So I did that. I had to start again, so I chose about eight places with courses that looked interesting and had a link with medical sciences.

"I started ringing round and people were making me offers. Sheffield and Leicester said they would take me, but I had to fill in the form and bring it down and I decided not to. Then places starting ringing me. It was mostly during September. I had quite a few phone calls coming through.

"I ended up with 18 offers through clearing. I was well impressed. Quite a few of them were for chemistry courses, but I'm not that keen on chemistry on its own. I really wanted something that had human biology in.

"It was Manchester who got in touch with me about this new course. I felt a bit flattered. It was the last one, but I thought it sounded good. You do things like medical microbiology. The aim is to qualify you to work in a health laboratory or the pharmaceutical industry.

"I think you get over the disappointment very quickly: I don't really think about it. I put it to the back of my mind. I'm really enjoying the course: I've got good friends, the teachers are really good and the lectures are interesting. It's a good atmosphere and everything.

"But I do still really want to do medicine. I might try again after the degree. I don't really want to work in a hospital laboratory. I might go into research if I don't do medicine. It's the next best thing."