Lauren Hanton

Current student

Subject area

My name is Lauren Hanton and for the most part of my life, I lived and went to school in north west London. I started university in 2016, to do a four year English Literature course with a placement year. I have just finished my final year of university and this is my clearing story!

I went to Mill Hill County High School for sixth form, after attending an all-girls comprehensive for my GCSEs. I really enjoyed going to Mill Hill County High School, I had lovely friends and worked pretty hard for my studies. I studied English Literature, History, Geography and Politics in my AS levels. I ended up dropping Politics after I got a C in it and as History was the subject I was consistently doing really well, and I decided to start looking at history courses for university.

I was predicted an A* in history, and A’s in English and Geography and because my predicted grades were so high, I was lucky enough to consider some top universities. I applied for History at Bristol, Leeds, Southampton, Sheffield and, Loughborough, and received offers from all universities.

I decided to pick two city universities as my firm and safety choice, rejecting my offer from Loughborough.

As my final year of A Levels progressed, I found that History became increasingly dreary and boring and dull; I started to become really apprehensive of studying it at university. English Literature, however, became my ‘easy’ subject. I was genuinely passionate about the set texts and found the essay writing enjoyable, rather than mind numbing, like in History, where my teacher droned on about pre-revolution Russia.

My growing dislike of History was evident in my results and I got a really mixed bag of grades, including an E. Unsurprisingly, I did not receive my predicted grades in History, or in fact, in any of my subjects. My final A Level results were BBB and not getting any of my predicted grades was hugely disappointing after so many months of hard work. This was only exaggerated by missing out on all of my university offers, rather than celebrating my great results, I just cried. I felt like a failure and was absolutely gutted.

Lauren Hanton

I collected my grades at 8am in the morning, by 9am I was surrounded by as many phones as we could find with my parents and my friend, calling as many universities as we could to see if they would accept me.

We had been given a lot of information from our school about how to approach clearing and I had spoken to my head of year about how to address it well. He advised me to call universities that had already accepted me, as they had already liked my personal statement and application. I quickly decided that History was definitely not my subject and that studying English Literature or Geography would be a much better bet.

We sat on the phone lines forever! Some universities we called rejected me quickly and were not flexible in subjects or grades, which was hugely disappointing. I was really hopeful that Loughborough would accept me and when I finally got through to somebody, they accepted me immediately and said that they would love to have me as part of the Loughborough family. The next day, my parents and I drove to the university to formally accept my offer and view the campus. I felt extremely lucky and excited to have received a place at Loughborough University to study English Literature.

Whilst I didn’t get my first choice of university, or my predicted grades and it was disappointing at the time, I am so glad that it worked out that way. I have absolutely loved my time as a Loughborough student and truly believe that missing out on my accepted offers was a good thing for me.

Loughborough University has been a fantastic experience, I have loved my course despite the many, many hours I have spent in the library!

I have been able to pick my modules from the very first year, studying a huge range of topics and subjects from crime in America to Chaucer to Diverse British novels. The English Literature course is entirely coursework based and a highlight has definitely been finishing a month before all of my friends every year, because of their exams.

Loughborough University is a hugely engaging space, with so many other activities and areas to get involved in; I have worked throughout the entirety of my degree as a student ambassador, I have played rugby for the university, I have volunteered all over the town and made best friends for life in the process.

To those that are going through clearing, don’t worry! It is a stressful and overwhelming process for everyone, but the universities are expecting your call and they are looking for people to fill their places.

These are my clearing recommendations:

  1. Get your parents or siblings or friends to help you with calling the universities. You will need multiple phones as you will be sitting in a queue for a long time and spaces can fill out quickly.
  2. Be prepared to make quick decisions and ask questions about different course availability, even if it feels like you don’t have the grades. Make a list of subjects you would consider and subjects you definitely wouldn’t. Often universities will have more spaces for joint honours courses, such as English and Business, or English with Drama. It is worth asking availability for those subjects if you have found a university that you like.
  3. Decide which university you actually want to attend. I would recommend starting with the universities you have already applied for and then find some similar universities through league tables and location. For example, don’t apply for a non-campus university if you prefer campus!
  4. Stay calm, you’ve not failed. This is a different route to university, but it is completely valid and normal. You have every right to be there.


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