Spencer Alexander Skinner
"The support offered by the University of Surrey to me as a Clearing student was brilliant."
CourseElectrical and Electronic Engineering BEng (Hons)
Can you talk me through your Clearing experience?
My original plan was to go to a university in the South West, I had been set on going there for the past 3 years, I secured myself a conditional offer to go and study EEE. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depends on how you look at it) I didn’t achieve the grades I needed for the conditional, I came out of college with ABBB, so Bristol had already retracted the offer. As soon as I found out, I started the frantic search for a good university with clearing places to study EEE, I ended up applying to various ones up and down the country. I got offered places by all of the universities, but I ended up going for Surrey as it was more geared towards what I wanted to study. My end goal is to work on satellites and other space systems and Surrey is somewhat well known for their ventures into space. In addition, the support offered by Surrey University to me as a clearing student was brilliant, I came in on a clearing open day and got a quick campus tour and an accommodation tour. The university also guaranteed student accommodation to clearing students.
Had you done any research on clearing or courses before results day?
I had not even considered Surrey University prior to results day - to this day I still don’t know why I didn’t.
What made you consider Surrey?
The support for clearing students was a key factor, but primarily I chose Surrey because it was far more geared towards the industry I want to go into when I finish university.
Where did you go for help and support?
To be honest I completely winged it with the whole process, I woke up in the morning to find out I wasn’t going to my first-choice university and by the time I went to bed I had a place secured at the University of Surrey.
How did you find out what courses were available?
Using the league tables I just specified my chosen course and then selected a handful of the best universities for the course.
How did Surrey help the process?
By making it so ridiculously simple to apply, organise a visit and sort accommodation. The system was so streamlined that I had a secured place by the end of the day and it was relatively stress-free.
What has your University experience been like?
It’s been very different to how I expected it to be, and that’s not in a bad or a good way. The perception of what university from a college perspective is that you’ll spend your time going out drinking and partying. For me the reality of my first year of university has been starkly different, and that’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed every minute of it, because I have, I have loved it! I spend the vast majority of my time doing coursework because the work is so different from college. I’ve found myself actually enjoying sitting back sticking on some music and then just getting stuck in with some coursework. The lecturers and course leaders make the work so much more engaging and challenging than in college. That said, I have still found the time to go out with mates because we all have to take a break sometimes! The campus itself it brilliant for this. I will often be found having a pint at Wates House (they do some pretty good cocktails too if that’s your thing) after a 3 or 4 hour session in the labs as it’s a 5-minute walk at most from any of the labs and lecture halls. Rubix is the campus club which you will spend some of fresher’s week in. I can confidently say it’s a better club than any of the clubs back where I live!
What advice would you give to other students?
My advice to clearing students is to not panic, just be clear on the course you want to study and find a place that best suits you. For example, for me a big city atmosphere would not have suited me. I grew up in a forest and used to be late to college because cows slept on the roads - I needed a middle ground between where I grew up and a city, Surrey was perfect for me in that respect. The most important thing is not to be upset if you didn’t get the grades you wanted. We all have days where we don’t perform our best, for some of us those days just happen to have exams in them.