We caught up with BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design student Charlotte Lacey-Clarke to discuss her experience applying through Clearing as a mature student.
Charlotte came to us through Clearing in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since…
Can you tell us about how you came to apply through Clearing?
Unlike many students who plan for months or even years in advance to attend university, my route there was ‘short-notice’; things in my working life hadn’t gone to plan, which left me with a decision – to move forward into another role, or to make a complete career change by going to university as a mature student.
I will not lie: the prospect of such a substantial change was daunting. Sometimes admitting that you need to make a change can be the hardest obstacle.
After finding the right course, there wasn’t a lot of time before it began, so the only option I had was to go through the clearing process.
How did you find applying to university as a mature student?
Luckily, the clearing process overall was painless, even as a mature student: they wanted to ensure that my existing qualifications were acceptable, and to see a small portfolio of my artistic work (in any medium) that would showcase a good level of creativity with the ability to communicate ideas visually.
Where did you look for support with Clearing?
The Clearing team at AUB offered extensive support in following this process through, which thankfully made it both easy and efficient. My clearing application began on 5 September, when the Admissions Team confirmed receipt of my application and allocated a clearing reference number. As requested, I emailed the portfolio images to the specified email address and they made their decision: thanks to the clearing process, I had become an ‘unconditional’ AUB student within 5 days!
Why did you choose AUB?
Choosing the right university was a hard decision, mainly because it needed to complete a checklist of criteria such as; being within a reasonable travelling distance from my home in Blandford, and commutable from Dorchester (where I was working through a notice period on a part-time basis). It needed to have a good reputation for post-qualification employability and excellent work produced by students. Most of all, it needed a selection of high-quality tutors who would be available for regular face-to-face contact, which isn’t usually available through online-led university courses.
After extensive research, it was obvious that AUB was the best option. It met all of my requirements and beyond, surpassing my expectations of what a university could offer.
How did you find organising financial support?
After being accepted through clearing on an unconditional basis, the final acceptance was completed on payment of the course fees. The AUB acceptance offer email gave clear instructions on how to apply for funding student fees through UCAS, which made this a very easy step to overcome.
UCAS awards funding with can cover both your university fees and they can provide you with a student loan; these amounts awarded only need to be paid back when your income exceeds £25,000pa. This means that you won’t be expected to start paying back your loan until you are in a more financially comfortable position.
What positives have come from going through Clearing?
Overall, AUB’s clearing process has enabled me to enrol on a course which I have always longed to complete (Interior Architecture and Design). If the clearing process was not in place, I would have never had the privilege of enjoying the learning experience this fantastic university has to offer.
What advice would you give to applicants considering a similar route?
If other applicants were in the same position, whereby they had to complete the clearing process, I would advise them not to panic; the Admissions staff are always on hand to help you sort through any issues you might encounter.
Your application is judged on both your qualifications and portfolio, so if one is lacking you are able to balance it with another side of your skills. The more information you can provide, the better your chances are at receiving a place.
Is there anything else that you’d like to tell us about your experience?
Lastly, I would highly recommend the Interior Architecture and Design course. The tutors and staff on this course are absolutely outstanding in the support they offer and the depth of the education they provide. They have motivated me and those on my course to achieve incredible results in a relatively short space of time, and push ourselves to create things we did not know we were capable of. The excellent quality of their teaching is evident in the post-course employability percentage, which (when last checked) exceeded 90%.
In addition to this, you also have top of the range resources available through both software and tools, which will enable you to be industry-ready by the time you graduate.
We still have spaces on some of our creative courses, find out more and apply through Clearing.