An environmental studies student who came to Kingston University through Clearing has enjoyed the experience so much that she is encouraging other school-leavers to follow in her footsteps. Two years ago Tiffany Cavanagh opened her A-level results to discover she’d missed out on her place at Reading University. After a busy morning calling university Clearing hotlines, she secured a place at Kingston and hasn’t looked back. Now she is gearing up to take calls from other anxious students who find themselves in her shoes by staffing Kingston University’s Clearing hotline.
Back in 2007, 20-year-old Tiffany found out she hadn’t got the grades she had hoped for to study law at one of her top two university choices, but she refused to let disappointment hold her back. Although Kingston had been one of her six university options, she had almost ruled it out because she wasn’t familiar with Kingston as an area. “I’d been predicted an A and two Bs at A-level but I ended up getting a B and two Cs,” Tiffany explained. “I decided to get on the phone to the other universities where I’d originally applied including Kingston. I got offers from all three I tried, but I chose Kingston to study environmental studies with law course, with the option of a transferring to straight law at the end of my first year.”
After a year, Tiffany found she’d enjoyed the environmental studies element of her course and decided not to change to straight law. “Looking back, I think straight law might have been too specialised for me and I wonder whether I’d have stuck with it,” she said. “I used to enjoy geography at school so I love the environmental and sustainability aspects as well as the law side. It’s also made me far more aware of environmental issues. I’m proof that it really is worth taking the risk because you never know where it might lead and you might even find a course that’s better suited to you than your original choice,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany, from Thanet in Kent, is now keen to help other students who don’t quite get the grades they had expected to snap up one of the few remaining places through Clearing by staffing Kingston University’s special hotline. She’s just undergone an intensive training course and will be ready to talk to callers from 8.30am on A-level results day. “I’ll know what they are going through because I’ve been there so I’m hoping I can calm them down and help to find them a place,” she said.
Prospective students calling the Kingston University Clearing hotline will speak to a trained student operator who will take down their details and then pass them on to the relevant Faculty who might be able to offer them a place. According to Tiffany, who is now renting a flat in central Kingston during term time, it is definitely worth chasing your university dreams if you are dealt a shock on results day. It might even turn out for the best.
“Kingston’s a fantastic place to live with lots going on and a really lively nightlife. My family like it too, so it’s a great way to get them to come and visit me,” she said. The environmental studies student has already had some hands-on experience taking part in field trip to the Isle of Wight and the Peak District. Tiffany has just returned from five weeks in Malaysia and Thailand travelling and taking part in a marine conservation project specialising in turtle conservation. She has also signed up to be one of Kingston’s student ambassadors – who work with schools and colleges to provide a student’s eye view of undergraduate life.
Looking to her future, Tiffany’s says she’s still contemplating a career in law but that the course has already changed her perspective on where she’s headed. “I’m thinking of specialising in environmental law or working in the European Union, maybe even in a sustainable village environment,” she explained. Her advice to other students who might be feeling hesitant about applying through Clearing this summer is to just go for it.
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