Thomas Dowson, MEng Mechanical Engineering

Thomas advanced registered with Sheffield, which made finding a place on A Level results day a lot easier than expected.

Mechanical Engineering student at Sheffield

I knew I wanted to go to the University of Sheffield right from the start. My brother studied here and when I’d come to visit on open days I really enjoyed what the city had to offer. It felt like the lecturers in my chosen subject, mechanical engineering, really wanted to teach, which I knew would make it a lot easier to learn.

Things didn’t go quite as I planned though when I didn’t get the predicted grades needed for entry. Although my heart was set on the steel city, I knew I needed to be pragmatic about it, so I opted to choose the University of Birmingham as my first choice instead.

But my determination to come to Sheffield never died. I knew it was where I wanted to go so rather than give up, I used it as an incentive to work hard with the hope that I could prove my tutors wrong, bump up my predictive grades and try and get into Sheffield through clearing.

After a few months of slogging away, the hard work paid off. I managed to get decent grades of AAB, a result I knew opened up the playing field for where I was going to spend the next three years of my life.

On results day I decided to take matters into my own hands and phoned up the Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, spoke about how passionate I was about the subject and studying in Sheffield and explained my grades.  Thankfully, he was happy to have me!

Mechanical Engineering student at Sheffield

Overall, I’d say don’t worry. Even though things might not seem to be going the way you’d hoped initially, my story is proof that everything can all be alright in the end!

Thomas Dowson

MEng Mechanical Engineering

Clearing is obviously a stressful time for students but I found that everyone was so helpful and it wasn’t something to be scared of, especially because I was guaranteed accommodation, which was one less thing to worry about.

I was even offered the opportunity to attend a special open day for clearing students but because I’d already visited the campus several times - including an engineering focussed open day in which I even got to attend a sample lecture - I didn’t need to come again; I knew Sheffield was the place for me.

One year down the line and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. I’m really enjoying my course and absolutely love being in Sheffield. The facilities for students are phenomenal, especially the Diamond, which offers state of the art labs and equipment for students to use. My course is so exciting and I get to work with different people from all over the country and further afield, which is great and I’ve made loads of friends.

I love the layout of the University too – the campus is really integrated into the city and students are a key part of the city’s make-up, which means there’s a nice community atmosphere.

Since I’ve been here I’ve joined the war gaming society and am in the process of setting up a romcom society, which is my girlfriend’s idea so I’m helping her get it up and running. The Students’ Union and all its societies is one of the strong points of the University as there really is something for everyone, no matter what your hobbies or interests, and it’s always voted the best in the country.

My favourite thing about being in Sheffield though is how friendly everyone is, a lot more so than anywhere else I’ve been, where people have their head down and a grumpy face. I’m always greeted with a smile here or someone wanting to chat or help if you’re looking lost. It made Sheffield feel like home straight away.

My advice to anyone ahead of results day this year is to try and keep your cool and make sure you’re prepared beforehand. Have a practice run and think about what you want to say and make sure you get online or on the phones early so you don’t waste time. Some places, like Sheffield, allow you to advance register your interest for clearing online, which means you get ahead of the queue on the day.

Overall, I’d say don’t worry. Even though things might not seem to be going the way you’d hoped initially, my story is proof that everything can all be alright in the end!