Advice for parents
Paula is the mother of Social Psychology student, Sarah, who came to Loughborough through clearing.
What did you do after Sarah received her A-Level results?
I was at school with her, along with my husband and Sarah’s two older sisters who had both recently gone to university. When Sarah opened her envelope and realised she had not got the marks she needed for her first choice or her insurance offer she was upset.
After we had calmed her down and wiped away her tears we spoke to teachers at the school and were told to initially call her first and second choice universities to see what their position was. We were given the use of an IT room at the school where we were all able to help Sarah research her options and make lots of phone calls to universities offering places via Clearing.
After a couple of hours we were armed with enough information to enable us to discuss it all through with Sarah and make a decision as to what to do next. At this point Sarah – and the rest of us – were pretty certain that Loughborough would offer her everything, and more, that she was looking for.
What did you know about the Clearing process before your daughter applied via this route?
I knew that it was an option when grades were not attained, but I had looked further into it on the UCAS website mainly to get as much information as I could. At this stage we knew that Sarah felt her exams may not have gone as well as they might and I had suggested to her that she should also look at how the Clearing system worked and at what courses may be available through Clearing.
How did you find the Clearing process at Loughborough University?
We were frustrated on results day by not being able to get through to the two universities that Sarah held offers with. It took several attempts to get through to them and then when we did we were left holding for long periods of time. However there was no problem at all getting hold of someone to speak to at Loughborough, or at any of the other universities which had places to offer through Clearing.
In each case, including Loughborough, Sarah was able to speak to someone directly with knowledge of what courses were available, and in most cases to speak to someone in the actual department. She came away with five new offers – Loughborough being the favourite.
In your opinion, how did Sarah feel about entering the process?
Once Sarah got over her initial disappointment, she found the process very useful, effective and efficient, and also rather exciting and reaffirming. I think that coming away with five different offers and many very positive comments was a really good experience. It was a big encouragement for her and boosted her confidence.
What did you do to help support Sarah?
We all helped her on the day to make phone calls, gather information and really just to ‘hold her hand’ through the process. Loughborough soon became a firm favourite. She loved the sports facilities on offer and most importantly the course was almost more attractive than the one she had originally applied to.
I suggested to Sarah that the best thing to do would be to drive to Loughborough the following day to have a look around and get a feel for the place. She had already visited some universities on their Open days prior to applying so it made sense to visit Loughborough too.
On the journey, Sarah called the admissions tutor and to our surprise, he suggested she come in and see him when she arrived. We were made very welcome and he was able to answer all of Sarah’s questions and provided us with a lot of really useful information.
Then we had a look around the department and the campus, and by chance when looking around the Union we were approached by a member of the Union Committee and given a guided tour. We took a look at the many sports facilities and found out about the student accommodation. It was a very informative and successful day and on the way home Sarah pressed the red button and accepted the offer of a place to study at Loughborough.
What would you say to other parents who are in the same position this year?
I would advise them to find out as much as possible about what courses might be on offer and where, mainly via the UCAS website, before results day.
Find out as much as you can about the universities your son or daughter are interested in – look at student reviews, as well as league tables and detailed course information. Find out whether they are a campus university or not, what sort of facilities they offer, what their graduate employment rates are, if they offer a year in industry. Go into Clearing armed with all the details you can – telephone numbers, course names and codes.
Most importantly stay calm and be positive. Take some tissues, take pen and paper and any other family member who can help on the day – even if it is just to fetch drinks or be encouraging!
What is your impression of Loughborough University?
I have been so impressed, from the very first visit, with Loughborough University. We have always been made to feel most welcome, they seem to deal very efficiently with the whole process.
We knew Sarah would not be able to pick and choose her accommodation, but the Accommodation Office went to great lengths to find her the best of what was available. She has been so happy in her halls, so much so that she was voted Fresher of the Year in her hall and is now one of the Sports Secretaries on the Hall Committee.
Equally the pastoral care has been exemplary – Sarah has problems with Dyslexia and has also had health issues, but nothing has been too much trouble for the staff at Loughborough. I really cannot rate it too highly and words here do not express how pleased I am that Sarah made the decision to go to Loughborough.
I do believe things happen for a reason, and I also believe Sarah would not be anywhere near as happy as she is, if she had gone to one of her first or second choice universities. As a mother it is a great comfort to know she is in the right place and she is happy and had the help she needs whenever she needs it. I only wish we had looked at Loughborough in the first place!