Posted Thursday 4 August 2016
Navigating her way through Clearing proved plain sailing for an international sportswoman who narrowly missed out on the A-level grades she was expecting last year. Georgia Booth, who sails for Great Britain, was determined not to let the setback knock her off course for long.
Intent on finding an alternative option allowing her to pursue both her studies and sailing commitments, the 19 year old's competitive spirit quickly kicked in and led to a call to Kingston University's Clearing hotline. "Kingston had been one of the final few universities on my original shortlist when I was deciding where I'd like to study. When I spotted it still had a handful of places available on its geology degree, I got on the phone and was lucky enough to get put through to a course tutor straight away," Georgia, from Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, recalled. "It was so reassuring to get to speak to someone who could provide details of different aspects of what the course entailed and answer all my questions there and then".
Georgia, who was been sailing since the age of eight, has competed in international competitions around Europe and dreams of one day representing her country at the Olympic Games. "Sailing is something I've loved since my childhood. I joined junior squads in North Yorkshire to develop my skills and then worked my way up to the national squads," she said. "I sail in a 470 two-person dinghy, which is an Olympic-class boat you can graduate to when you turn 18. Taking part in international events is an amazing experience and, with the extra support I'm lucky enough to get from the University, I'm even more determined to keep working hard and see where it takes me."
Location, and being able to easily travel to Weymouth and the south coast, was a particularly important factor in Georgia's university choice. "That was another big benefit of Kingston University. It meant balancing sailing commitments with my studies hasn't been too difficult because it only takes me a few hours to get to the sea at the weekend so I can concentrate on my course work during the week," she said. "One of the things I particularly love about my degree is the hands-on nature of geology - especially the field trips we've been on, looking at different rock types and formations."
Shortly after starting her BSc(Hons) in Geology course last autumn, Georgia was accepted on to the University's Sports Performance Programme, which provides financial help and academic flexibility to help talented athletes achieve their goals. "The support has been fantastic and it makes a real difference," she said. "I need to train two or three times during the week on top of going out on the water at weekends. As part of the performance programme I get free membership of the University's fitness centre which is right on campus, so I can fit my cardio work and weights in the gym around lectures and assignments."
Studying just a stone's throw from the River Thames, Georgia has also expanded her water sport repertoire by joining the University's rowing club. She credits it with helping her make new friends while also keeping fit. "Looking back, I realise I've got so much out of my first year at Kingston University," she said.
Keep focused and calm is her advice to prospective students who find themselves entering Clearing this year. "If you don't know which universities to call, look on the UCAS website and go from there," Georgia advised. "There will be places out there - it's just a matter of thinking carefully about the options and persevering."
Kingston University's sports development manager Jo Heath said it had been a pleasure for the team to work with Georgia and support her through her studies while she continued to represent her country. "Helping students juggle their academic studies with their sporting careers, which can involve anything from negotiating flexibility around deadlines with tutors to providing financial support for sporting competitions, is an incredibly rewarding aspect of our work," she said.