Course Guidance: A choice combination inspires commitment

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The Independent Online
Candidate: Wendy Hullah, 19, Scar borough

Results: A-levels: DD; A/S levels: DD (history, social biology, law, English)

No offers before clearing

Now: BA combined studies, University of Central Lancashire

'I'D APPLIED for teacher training but I hadn't had any offers. That was partly because my school predicted I would get Us and Ns. But also I applied for primary teaching for biology, history or English. I enjoyed all three and I couldn't choose between them, but I think people probably thought - she doesn't know what she wants to do here.

'I was thrilled when I got my results. I'd been prepared to retake my A-levels, but I started ringing round to see what was available. I tried about 15 BEd courses, but they were all full.

'Then about a week after the results came out I got this letter from the University of Central Lancashire saying we understand you are unplaced, would you be interested in our combined studies degree?

'I didn't really know anything about combined studies - I thought, is this going to be a proper degree? Because I was used to people doing things like BA history, and I couldn't see how if you did more subjects you could do them properly.

'But when I rang and asked more about it I thought it sounded good. You choose three subjects for the first year, so I chose race and ethnic studies, and education studies. I didn't know what to choose for the third, so the lady I was talking to suggested health studies.

'I thought it would be like biology. but it's very political - all about community care and the NHS. It's going to be my major subject in the second year, with education the minor one. I thought education would be a second best to the teacher training, and I could always do a PGCE. But now I'm looking at going into the NHS instead.

'Most of my friends like the variety in combined studies, though tutors always think their own subject should take priority, so you can end up overloaded with work. When people ask what I'm doing at university, I think, 'I've got a great big mouthful coming up here'. Now I think if I was doing just one subject I'd find it boring, whereas the variation keeps me going.'

(Photograph omitted)