Three years ago, Johanne Bowler joined Essex Business School through Clearing. Here she tells us about her experience of the process.
I was intending to go to South Africa (I had been living in Zimbabwe) but I didn't really want to do entrance exams because, by that point, I had been out of school for almost two years. So I began searching online combining what I liked, which was management or business and tourism, and the University of Essex came up. There were loads of universities that came up, but Essex was the only one that offered a BSc and I really wanted to be a BSc and not a BA.
I’d recently got back from travelling and I was in Zimbabwe - it was only at the end of July, beginning of August that I decided I actually wanted to go to uni. I thought I was probably a bit late applying, but then I saw some Clearing spots so I just sent an email and filled out my details.
I actually thought that I was just asking for more information and then the next day I got an email saying, I'd been accepted. I remember feeling like ‘that was easier than I thought!’
Once I got in, I realised I should probably find out a bit more about the University! So I read up on it and looked at rankings and alumni stories and student testimonials and I remember looking at a YouTube video too. And so I'd done my research, I had an accommodation place and I knew the University was close to my flat. For everything else, I just thought: ‘I’ll find out when I get there’.
For me, everything was done through emails and the University told me what to do next at each stage, which was quite helpful because I had no idea. I’d never done anything like this before. I emailed them about the most random questions! But it was important to me to be independent, so it was nice that they helped me when I needed it.
That opportunity to make a later application through Clearing was amazing for me because I came after being out of school for two years. Starting university I was very, very nervous. I was like ‘what if I don't fit in’ and I worried that everyone would know everything and I wouldn’t, because I’d previously only studied sciences and never touched business!
Originally it was a bit difficult for me to adapt to being in a classroom setting and working and stuff. But the setup of the lectures and seminars and the way they do it is actually very straightforward. It's not complicated. You can also listen to the recordings afterwards. So I spent a lot of time listening to them again and then being able to pause and take my time. So it's a great setup.
I was very fortunate because I lived in University accommodation, as did most of my classmates, so it had a way of bringing us together more, socially. I think that's the way I got to meet everyone from my classes.
Definitely, I was very happy with my decision. It was very challenging, going to a new country and a new home environment but everyone was so helpful.
Go for it. What can you lose? Just apply and see what happens.