History: Began in 1822 as St David's College; in 1995 became University of Wales, Lampeter.

Address: In a little market town deep in south-west Wales, so remote it doesn't have a train station.

Ambience: Elegant, listed building dominates the town. Countryside consists of rugged hills, and 20 miles away is the sea, with dolphins, seals and air to die for.

Vital statistics: The oldest university college in England and Wales, after Oxbridge. And the smallest university institution in the UK, with 1,800 full-time equivalent students, 60 per cent of whom come from outside Wales. Like American liberal arts colleges, it specialises in arts and humanities (no science or engineering).

Added value: Unusual collection of manuscripts in library. Anthropology department set up the Tairona Heritage Trust to help the Kogi Indians of Columbia buy their homelands.

Glittering alumni: Christopher Herbert, Bishop of St Albans; Adrian Mourby, head of drama, BBC Wales; Jack Higgins, writer and Carl Cooper, Bishop of St David's.

Transport links: Buses are your best - and only - bet if you don't have a car. Take the bus to Carmarthen or Aberystwyth stations for trains to London, Cardiff or Birmingham.

Who's the boss? Professor Robert Pearce.

Teaching: Rated satisfactory in history, Welsh, philosophy, and theology. Excellent in archaeology, classics and ancient history.

Research: Came joint 54th (tied with Keele) out of 106 in the 2001 assessment exercise. Awarded a 5 (top grade) in English literature and language, and in theology and religious studies.

Nightlife: Students make their own entertainment. Aberystwyth is the local big time. Students' union has three discos a week in the union hall, which has been extended.

Cheap to live in? Yes. It costs £35-£40 a week to live in student or private accommodation.

Clearing: There are an unlimited number of places available for Clearing, according to Jane Norris-Hill, marketing and recruitment manager at the university. "We want to take as many students as possible," she says.

Grade requirements vary from around 160 points (DDE) to 240 points (BBD). IT, management, and Welsh have the lowest grade requirements. Archaeology, English, history, and media studies, have the highest.

Grades aren't everything, though. "We tend to look at applicants as individuals," says Norris-Hill. "And we take into account any social and domestic circumstances that mean that someone hasn't fulfilled their potential."

If things have gone pear-shaped, you can do a foundation year, learning study skills and getting an overview of your subject. Foundation years are available in all subjects. You can qualify with AS-levels or even failed A-levels. Once you're on the course you can take out student loans and if you pass the course you are guaranteed a place in the first year. "You can approach this as a four-year degree course," says Norris-Hill. "With this as a foundation year."

A helpline will be open over the weekend, and with only around 90 applicants expected to call, it should be relatively easy to get through. From 22-26 August there will be a chance to come in, meet people, and be shown around. The Clearing helpline number is 01570 424 600. Lines will be open Thurs 18/ Fri 19 8am-8pm; Sat 20 9am-6pm; Sun 21 10am-4pm; and Mon 22/Tues 23 9am-5pm.

For more information: visit the university website, www.lamp.ac.uk

UCAS code: L07

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