Nicole Bradford (Education, Culture and Childhood)

Nicole Bradford
Nicole Bradford
Undergraduate student
Education, Culture and Childhood
Education student Nicole accepted an unconditional offer from another university before realising her heart was with Sheffield.

Where had you initially intended to study?

Initially, I had intended to study English Language and Linguistics at York St John University. I accepted this place as the course sounded really interesting and I had always enjoyed English, alongside the fact that my offer was unconditional.

This really relieved some of the pressure from exams, however it just didn’t feel quite ‘right’. One week before results day, I realised my heart was with Sheffield and so I contacted YSJ and they agreed to release me from my offer. I then applied to The University of Sheffield through clearing. 


I chose Sheffield as it felt right from the very start. Everyone is so friendly, the university staff and students were so helpful and lovely and it just felt like a really great place to be.

Nicole Bradford

BA Education, Culture and Childhood


What made you choose Sheffield?

I chose Sheffield as it felt right from the very start. Everyone is so friendly, the university staff and students were so helpful and lovely and it just felt like a really great place to be. I was lucky enough to be a part of the discover programme which gave me an insight into university life at Sheffield. The fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about Sheffield after accepting a place elsewhere made it really clear that this was the university for me.

How did your A Levels go?

After sitting my AS level exams, my confidence had dropped due to a shock result in my best subject, RE. The hard work and revision had not paid off and I started to doubt myself, which I believe was a contributing factor in my decision to accept the unconditional offer. I finished sixth form with grades that met the entry requirements for the course I originally applied for. However, I also changed course one week after starting to Education, Culture and Childhood - again, following my instincts - and this was the best decision.

How did you find the clearing process?

I was really nervous about starting the clearing process however it was actually a really pleasant experience and super stress free. Everyone I spoke to on the phone were super helpful and congratulated me on my place, which was a lovely touch. 

How have you found your time at Sheffield?

My time at Sheffield has been the best. I genuinely cannot recommend the university enough to anyone thinking of studying here. The lecturers are not only experts in their field, but they are also extremely helpful and friendly.

The students are really supportive of each other and the university feels like a really inclusive environment. There are so many opportunities, from work experience to societies and events.

If I could choose again, I would still come to Sheffield and I have loved studying here so much that I am coming back in September to do a masters! 


I was really nervous about starting the clearing process however it was actually a really pleasant experience and super stress free. Everyone I spoke to on the phone were super helpful and congratulated me on my place, which was a lovely touch. 

Nicole Bradford


Do you have any advice for anyone this A Level results day who is thinking of going through clearing?

If you are thinking of coming through clearing this results day, my advice is to not panic. Try and relax, it really is not as stressful as you might think. The more research into possible universities you can do before results day, the better.

You will feel much more relaxed if you have your options already laid out in front of you and it will give you peace of mind to know you have already considered multiple options.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions, the people working on the clearing helplines etc really do want to help you and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Believe in yourself and try not to worry!

What do you think of the Students’ Union?

You may already know that our students union has been voted no.1 in the UK numerous times and I can understand why. From our student shop, to our job shop and food outlets, there’s plenty of places to socialise and grab a bite to eat or even look for part time work alongside your studies.

The building is always buzzing with students and it really is the heart of the university. If I ever had time between lectures, I would enjoy coming to the SU to meet up with friends and grab a coffee at the attached coffee shop! 

What has been the best thing about Sheffield that you didn't realise until you came here?

One thing I didn’t realise about Sheffield was the amount of opportunities available as a student ambassador. Throughout my three years, I have worked for the university on events such as open days, residential weekends and outreach events - to name just a few.

Whilst these were fantastic opportunities to earn an income alongside my studies, they have provided me with some of the best memories I have made while at university. I really recommend looking into becoming a student ambassador if this sounds like something you would enjoy - I have made some amazing friends though working as an ambassador too.

Obviously with coronavirus lockdown, universities have had to temporarily transfer teaching online - how have you found this?

The switch to online teaching due to the coronavirus pandemic has been dealt with really well, in my opinion. I felt like my department were really supportive and gave plenty of opportunities to reach out for additional help, if required.

Communication has been key, as the face to face element meant we had to use our own initiative to reach out for support as it was no longer as easy to have a quick conversation at the end of a lecture, for example.

Contact hours were the same for my course and in some respects, online learning was an advantage for me as it saved on commuting costs and made learning much more flexible. As a course, we made sure to stay in touch through group chats and we would have a catch up through our weekly seminars, which helped us to still feel connected and supported.

I have enjoyed the online learning experience and am more than satisfied with the universities response to the coronavirus pandemic. As such, I have actually chosen a distance learning masters course which I will begin in September. 

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