CLEARING: Joseph Hutchesson on His Experience

Clearing is a stressful time for all involved: from students and parents who have to navigate the often confusing process of confirmation and clearing to the admissions team and individual admissions tutors. Indeed, my first year as admissions tutor was a steep learning curve, just in terms of the pace!  Luckily, like my new intake, I had expert help to guide me through the process, which made it so much easier and, dare I say it, exciting!

So, I decided to sit down with one of our fabulous students, Joseph Hutchesson, who came through clearing in my first year of admissions duties, to see what it was like on the other side.  Joesph  has just finished his first year on the BA single honours English Language degree with great results. Coming to us via clearing, he was keen to share his experiences and top tips with others who might want to come to Swansea University.


What do you love about language and why did you want to study English language at university?

I have always been interested in the workings of the English Language, whether this has been through creative writing from an early age, to the more in depth study of how language influences and shapes the world every day at A-level. Both of these aspects were intriguing and made me really want to study the language to a higher level.

Why did you go through clearing?

I originally applied to study Engineering!! However, due to a bad exam in Physics, I didn’t achieve a high enough grade in the subject to study at the university i had applied to. Throughout the whole selection process, it had always been a toss-up between English and Engineering. At times I doubted whether I made the right choice to apply for Engineering, but I have not once regretted only searching for English language courses through clearing.

What expectations did you have about clearing and how was the actual process? 

As I had felt that my exams had not gone quite to plan, I began looking into the process of clearing early on. I recommend most people do this, even if they think they’ve aced their exams, because results day can throw up lots of surprises and panic. By looking at the clearing process beforehand, I was able to avoid diving in at the deep-end. I had already selected places I wished to call. I found the process scary. Despite my planning, the rush of stress does become quite overwhelming. The key is not to rush, as clearing is open for quite a while and there were a few more spaces available than I thought.

How did Swansea help you through the clearing process?

Swansea was great throughout the process, the admissions assistant on my initial call to the university helped to keep me calm and made the things I had to do very clear. There was a distinct sense of organisation that I didn’t get from many places I called, which was immediately reassuring and  gave me a good idea that it was a place where I would fit in quite well.

Regarding clearing, what would you advise new first years to do in preparation for the process?

Do your research ahead of time! Although the whole day will become quite a blur, having some idea what you need to be doing is a big advantage in the process.

If you could go back to your A-level, pre-university self, what advice would you give about choosing a course, choosing a university?

Definitely give it a go, so far university has been a ball! In terms of choosing a course, I would say make sure it’s going to be something you enjoy. It’s quite strange going from three subjects down to focusing on the same one all the time (although there’s a lot of variation and choice within the subject (from history of the language, to psycholinguistics and vocabulary studies).

I would also suggest that, when picking a course, don’t think too much about a future career. Although you do need to keep it in mind, don’t let it be the sole decider on what you end up doing for the next three years. Finally, when picking a university don’t be too scared to look at places far away, Swansea is almost five hours away from my home, but the community feel of the university has made moving away much easier.

What are you beginning to learn about yourself in your first year?

I don’t enjoy ironing! But I have taken on responsibilities I didn’t think I’d be able to handle and they are a lot more manageable than I first thought…maybe I am becoming an adult after all!

What are you finding difficult about university life?

Being a university student requires more independence in learning and daily life than I have ever experienced before. However, the way Swansea university integrates new students to a new lifestyle has meant the task was not too overwhelming.

What are some interesting first year myths that you heard before you came – are they true?

Fresher Flu! IT’S REAL….It passes relatively quickly but expect opening lectures to feature lots of coughing from around the room!

What are you most looking forward to/most scared about regarding your studies?

Lots of choice with modules allows your degree to involve the features of the subject you are really interested in. I don’t really know what I’m scared of regarding my studies other than maybe I don’t know how different the exams are going to be later on in my degree.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Even though I came through clearing, I have been treated equally from day one, which is certainly something I was scared wasn’t going to happen when I was going through the process.