Dejected? Don't give up. Clearing worked for me

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The Independent Online
Scott Cather, 19, got to Aston University through Clearing after his A-level grades turned out to be worse than expected.

When I applied to university from school I placed Keele at the top of my list. But my results fell short of what I had been hoping for: two Cs in French and English and a D in history. Keele wasn't interested in accepting me for a degree in French and English. All they could offer was American studies, which I didn't want to do at all. As you can imagine, I was really upset and dejected.

Fortunately, my dad had taken the day off work. My parents were fantastic. Instead of saying, "Oh, we told you to do more revision", they sat down and talked about my options. We decided that Clearing was the best option because my grades weren't that bad.

Then I got a call from one of my teachers, who suggested that if I wanted to do French, I should try one of the places where the school had sent students before. Aston was the first one I tried, and they accepted me without a problem for French and European studies. It worked out very quickly and efficiently. Then, a month into my degree course at Aston, my C in French was upgraded to a B.

I really think Clearing has worked out fantastically for me. I am dead chuffed. My advice to parents is: don't show how disappointed you are when your offspring don't make their grades. It is essential to sit down and say, "Look, this isn't the end of the world." After you've had all the stress of exams, the last thing you want is your parents giving you a hard time. You want people to build your confidence up.

My advice to students is, absolutely: do not give up hope. I can't fault Clearing. It really did work out for the best, for me. If you say you have got somewhere through Clearing, people often think it is second-best, a last resort, and that you weren't intelligent enough to get accepted by your first choice. But, as it happens, my grades at Aston for the past year have been good. And I enjoy the course

Interview by Lucy Hodges