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Student Alex Black holding a sign that says 'I AM Confident'

Alex Black

Criminology - MA

Alex refused to let rejection get the better of him after he didn’t get the grades he needed for his first and second university choices. He knew he had the ability to succeed, so with a determination to make his mum proud and fulfil his potential he applied for a course through Clearing and hasn’t looked back. He’s moved to a new city, had some amazing work experience opportunities and has now completed a Master’s.

“I applied through Clearing due to not achieving the grades (I really struggled with the exam environment) that I needed to get into my first and second choice universities. Although this made me extremely frustrated and sad, I refused to let the sense of rejection get the better of me. I knew that my grades did not define me and I was confident in my ability to work hard and succeed.

I was adamant that I wanted to go to uni as I had seen all three of my sisters go. However, the main reason was to make my mum proud and be able to come out with a fantastic degree which would result in me getting a consistent, well paid, enjoyable job. This was really important, and still is, as I just want to give back everything to my mum that she has given to me. This was the driving force for me considering my options and applying through Clearing.

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I did a bit of research and called BCU’s Clearing hotline. The staff were so friendly, kept me really calm throughout. They discussed the courses available that were related to sociology, drawing my attention to the sociology and criminology course. After having a look through the course info I realised this was the course for me – I was hooked in by the ‘Gender and Crime’ module in the third year of study. Interestingly enough, this module ended up being my highest grade throughout my undergraduate degree!

My mum was really supportive of me moving to Birmingham and it helped that I already had a friend studying in the city a year above me too. Being at Birmingham City University has been an amazing experience with a plethora of stunning work opportunities, a thoroughly educational work placement, many friends; and a journey of truly finding and being proud of myself.

Alex has some great advice to help you navigate the Clearing process if you didn’t achieve the grades you were hoping for.

“I would advise people to try and have an optimistic mindset. University is your chance to improve and better yourself so try not to let anything put you off from working towards that. Remember that these grades are not your definer, your life is.”