University Prospects: There is life after rejection

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The Independent Online
Candidate: Neil Green, 20, Worcester

A-levels: DCC in biology, classical civilisation & PE

Needed: BBC to read archaeology & ncient history at Warwick

Now: BSc Practical Archaeology, Bournemouth University

'The rejection letter from Warwick came in the same post as the A-level results - it was a kind of double blow. Everywhere else I'd applied to had rejected me for classics and ancient history already, and almost none of the old polytechnics does classics, so I had to start sending off my clearing form to anywhere with vacancies that looked interesting. Mostly I chose places by the sea, because I surf a lot.

'I was turned down by Nottingham and Swansea and then I heard nothing for ages. I was getting pretty desperate. Bangor offered me a place for next year, but that was all I had by about the third week in September.

'Then Bournemouth rang up and said they still had places left on this archaeology course. The drawback was that you had to have experience in archaeology to go on the course. You're meant to have four weeks' experience, but they said as long as I got a few days that it would be all right.

'I had a week to find some experience before the beginning of term. Worcester has an archaeology service, so I went in there and asked, and they sent me to the county archaeology office which took me for a week. I did a bit of everything and it was good preparation for the course.

'It's a very practical course - by the time you've finished you're qualified to get a job as an archaeologist. We do chemistry, biology, geology and computing.

'The chemistry was quite hard and really boring, but you need it so you can do tests on soils and finds, and I managed to get through it. We have to do more science again next year, but there's more choice and we can do things like site management.

'We went on a four-week dig in Herefordshire which I really enjoyed. We learned to use surveying equipment and do fieldwork, and we found flints and Roman pottery. It's just right for me: it's outdoors and practical. And when you actually find something, you're really thrilled about it.'