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"I chose a Foundation year"

When 20-year-old Emily Henderson, from Sunderland, joined Northumbria University on a foundation year in Applied Sciences, it turned out to be the best decision she could have made.

After the initial disappointment of not getting into her first choice Marine Biology course, Emily applied to Northumbria University through Clearing and was thrilled to discover she could still go to university and enjoy all the things she had been looking forward to.


"Just be open to all options - you never know what's around the corner" - Emily's Story

Emily said: “I'd always enjoyed sciences at school and knew this was an area I wanted to go into, so my original choice was to study Marine Biology. On A-Level results day, I was upset to find out I hadn't got the grades I needed to get into my first choice.

"I knew I still really wanted to go to university, so I had to reconsider my options. I didn't want to go too far from home and had lots of friends already at Northumbria University, so I thought it would be a good fit for me.

"My teachers at school were brilliant and advised me to phone Northumbria University straight away. As soon as I did, I felt so much better. The team talked me through all the options I had available to me and informed me about foundation years. I got loads of advice and guidance and it really helped to chat through the process with people who were there to support me. On what was such a stressful day, I just found the team at Northumbria University so easy to talk to and they reassured me that there are other ways to get to where you want to be - you don't have to just go down one route."

After assessing her options and discussing with the Clearing support team at Northumbria University and her family, Emily decided to enrol on the Applied Sciences foundation year to get more of a grounding in her chosen subject. She's never looked back since.

Emily continued: "I've had the best year at Northumbria University. My favourite thing about it has been the teaching staff. My tutors have been excellent; they've always been around to help.

"The course itself was also really broad, covering everything from chemistry to food sciences, so doing a foundation year helped me get the best possible grounding and reconfirmed I was doing the right subject for me. I found it much easier to grasp on the foundation year, as it was a lot more focused than what I'd been used to before and it just gave me so much more knowledge across the board. I know I want to have a career in science even if I'm not sure exactly what that will be yet. I'm currently looking at applying for my full degree and hoping I'll be successful."

Emily added: "Being close to home, I've also had the best of both worlds. I had a flat in Newcastle during the week and went home on the weekends. I also know Newcastle really well, so it was nice living in such a vibrant but familiar city where I already had lots of friends and made some great new ones too." Emily has some sound words of advice for anyone getting ready to pick up their A-Level results this summer too. "

Just be open to all options. Don't be put off by anything," she explained. "You never know what's around the corner and where things can lead, so I'd advise anyone to keep an open mind and take any support that's available to you."


Northumbria University has a limited number of places available for high quality students through Clearing this summer. For more information, visit or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.


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