It’s a busy time for Admissions at the University of Dundee, as we begin to welcome our new students in September.

A big part of our calendar is Clearing. We decided to reach out to our alumni find out their Clearing stories.

Rebecca Dias – Pharmacology, 1992

When I was young I wanted to be a witch. As I reached my early teens this changed to wanting to become a scientist, to make medicines to fix brain disorders. It was the only thing I wanted to do and had my heart set on going to University to achieve my dream. On track for good A level grades I applied to do Pharmacy at Bath. Unfortunately, come the exams I messed up and failed to get the grades for any of my University conditional places. 
 
Not one to quit, this required a re-think. I wanted to make medicines, not dispense them. So I looked at studying Pharmacology instead and researched which universities excelled in this. Come Clearing day I had my top 10 list. Rejected by my first choice, phone engaged to my second, I called Dundee as my third, not willing to go lower down my list until I had received replies. Dundee answered, were professional and sympathetic and, above all, uttered the wonderful words “yes, we’ll take you”. 
 
I was delighted and rushed to tell my parents I had got in to Dundee. “In Scotland? How far away is that?” they wondered. Turned out 500 miles away from home. “Ah well, at least its not as far as Aberdeen,” joked my Dad.
 
Whilst it might have taken seven hours on the train to get back home, my experience at Dundee remains one of the best periods of my life. The teaching standards at Ninewells Hospital were excellent and the lectures inspiring; indeed one in particular got me hooked and shaped the next stage of my career – a PhD in Experimental Psychology at Cambridge. With such solid foundations behind me, I forged my path as the neuroscientist I had dreamed of becoming. I could not have done it without Dundee and I will always be grateful to the woman who offered me that precious place through Clearing.
 

Mark Caskey – Electronics and Microcomputer Systems, 1983

It was 1978 and I was in a quandary. I was uncertain as to my future career path. It was between Engineering and Medicine at the time of A Level selection. 
 
I applied to do Medicine, but I had taken Physics, Maths and Chemistry at A level. So with no Biology, I did not get into medical school. 
 
So I turned to Clearing, and a change of career path, to Electrical Engineering.  
 
Dundee took me in. I had to find it on the map and I do recall wondering whether I would have a problem understanding lectures given in a Scots accent. Well, I did have some problems understanding the lectures, but it was more related to my academic capabilities!
 
Dundee was a great experience, where I made lifelong friends. My career choice worked out and I have spent the last 30 plus years working as an electrical engineer, three years in Edinburgh, nine years in Canada and 22 years in San Diego.
 
My start at Dundee enabled it all.

Rob Massey (Chemistry, 1972)

I arrived via Clearing at Dundee in early October 1968. I’d done really poorly in my A-levels. About a fortnight before I was due to go to a polytechnic, I got a letter from Dundee inviting me onto their Pure Science course. Well for a boy from Romsey, who’d never been further north than London, Dundee seemed a long, long way away. Still a university was a university so I made the decision to go.
 
Finding accommodation was the first problem. As the start of term was only two weeks away, all of the residences were full. As a result I ended up in a rectory in Invergowrie, some 5 miles along the Perth Road from Dundee. Although they were very kind to me, it was not ideal, and after a month I moved into digs in Constitution Road.
 
I had a marvelous time at Dundee – probably the best of my life. I made some great friends in that first year – some of whom I’m still in touch with. In fact we had a 50th Reunion in Dundee last October. In the second year I met my then future wife and we are still happily married. Good old Clearing!

Do you have a clearing story you would like to share? 

And if you would like to apply for Clearing 2019