My University Application Nightmare

I’m going to university but it has been such a struggled to get there…

I’d suggest grabbing yourself a cuppa and getting comfy, this is going to be a long one. 

Lets start this back at the beginning, in 2013 when I was living in Melbourne and working with a bunch of people who also happened to be teachers. They would talk about their day work with the children while we worked behind the bar together in the evening, problem was I had also been there all day too. I was working full time in hospitality and knew I wanted to do something more with my life, before then I had gone through life thinking bar work was fine. I mulled the idea of becoming a teacher over and over, it started to sound very appealing. After all my dream career was to be an air hostess but I’m too damn short!

I checked the application dates and quickly sent off an application for university to start as soon as I got back from travelling. Well it turns out you have to do a face to face interview for Primary Education and so the idea was shelved immediately.

Fast forward to September when we are back in the UK and applications are open for 14/15 academic year. This time I do a bit more research and apply for more than one university, thing is I’m living in Glasgow by this point but the universities are all in the south. I don’t do any open days, I just hope for the best. My application is processed and I wait for a chance to be interviewed, Roehampton are the first to offer me one. Typically I get about 10 days notice and end up having to book some rather expensive flights down to London and beg for a day off from a job I’ve only just started.

I prepare for the interview and lay my outfit ready the night before, a few hours later and I’m awake feeling extremely sick. It must just be nervous and try to go back to sleep, but pretty soon I realised this is some kind of tummy bug. After a night of pretty much sleeping in the bathroom, I apply my make up drive to the airport and run to my flight (I won’t give you the gross details of how many times I threw up before boarding the plane that morning). My 1 hour flight ends up taking nearly two, I’m moved to the front of the plane with the air steward doing his best to make me feel better. I some how make my way to the train and start to make my way across London, it’s mid December, freezing outside yet I’m in a dress and no tights, still boiling. I arrive at my station, and get on the last mode of transport to the university gates. Some how I’m not late, I quickly grab a seat and the interview day process starts.

All the girls and few boys in that room seem so young, everyone has a parent with them and I suddenly wonder if I’ve done the right thing. The day passes in a blur of being sick and struggling through the interview. Before I know it I’m back at the airport having to face another plane ride home. I’m convinced they are going to turn me down.

My other university choices offer me interviews for after Christmas but I wait for the reply from Roehmapton first. A few days before Christmas it finally comes, a conditional offer that seems easy to achieve, I’m over the moon. I cancel my application for the other universities convinced I want to be back in London only to spend the next few months wondering if I even want to go to university.

Fast forward to May, I’ve sorted out half of my conditional offer as that was just paperwork, the other half is passing a numeracy and literacy test, easy. I begin the practise online and the literacy test seems easy so I book to take it mid-May. I fail by ONE MARK, how could anyone get so unlucky, putting the result down to feeling a little ill I figure I’ll pass it next time.

Around the same time as the test results, I start to have a problem with my student finance. I had to give address details and had put down my Glasgow flat address. I had sent everything to them when out of the blue they CANCEL my application. When I phone to ask why, they tell me I did it?! When I correct them on this, they say it must have been a mistake and I’ll just have to reapply for the finance. DO THEY UNDERSTAND HOW DIFFICULT THESE FORMS ARE? Deadline day is days away and it’s a rush to get it done. This time I lie about my current address and put my parents English one because it turns out the reason they cancelled my application was because they thought I was Scottish.

Two months have passed by the time I actually sit the literacy test again, this time I do the numeracy test too. The boyfriend (a maths clever clogs) has been tutoring me and I’m pretty confident I can pass it. I’ve also had a dyslexia test and on the back of that have applied for the tests with extra time. I pass the maths with no problems, the literacy not so much… I fail by three marks this time. I cry the whole way home on the train and threaten to give up with this whole thing. I contact admissions at the university (as my third chance is also my last chance to pass, if you don’t pass on the third go you get locked out the system for TWO YEARS!) only to be told there is nothing else they can do to help and to get on with it. Does no one understand if you are dyslexic you cannot learn spelling? Felling very deflated I pretend it’s not there and throw myself in to working hard at my job.

I receive my full dyslexia report back and decide to contact the test company directly. Within days they have offered me multiple choice spelling and a paper exam so I can use overlays (something that helps with my visual dyslexia) they also reinstate my three chances. By now it’s mid August and I’m really running out of time, I have to give a two week period before I can take this new form of test. I book the test for Friday the 5th of September because that is the earliest spot they have available. I cross my fingers and toes I will still be accepted that late on and start practising for an hour daily.

In the mean time I hear from student finance again, this time there is a problem with my dyslexia report. The assessor who did my report (in Scotland) doesn’t have a certain certificate you need in England. They reject my report which I have paid £250 for. By now this whole shambles is becoming a joke and I’m ready to walk away from it all. I contact the university about my report as they checked the assessor had the correct qualifications. Turns out they wouldn’t have checked for this certificate as it is compulsory in their book. However the assessor says the certificate isn’t compulsory in Scotland. I’m still waiting for this issue to be solved but I have been offered a full refund thank goodness. It just means I am now starting university with no special arrangements in place for my dyslexia.

Friday the 5th of September rolls around, I get to the test centre nice and early only to find out and paper test takes THREE WEEKS to be marked. I only have 6 days or I will automatically be rejected. I burst in to tears. I assume it is over now. The very kind and helpful staff at the test centre promise they will sort something out, I offer to do yet another of the dreaded computer test where I have to actually spell the word! After a very long phone conversation with the test company, they agree I can take a computer test and get my results on the day. I have to go through all the formal procedures to change the test over and in the middle of this I realise the test I’m about to do still has MULTIPLE CHOICE SPELLING. The one thing it doesn’t let me have is three more chances, this computer test will be my last chance and I have to accept that with no time to think about it. It takes over 30 minutes to sort this all out, my nerves build in that time.

I complete the test and walk out to get my results, I wasn’t going to open them in the test centre but after all of them helping me so much, even they wanted to know. I PASS and sigh the biggest sigh of relief in my life. By this point I am now too stubborn to turn my back on it, all those worries I had back at the beginning of the year are gone. I have to give this my all now because it has taken so much bloody effort just to get my place confirmed. There are days to go now before I start and it has been the biggest scramble to try and get everything sorted. There is so much paper work and information that I’m struggling to get my head around it all but I’m just glad to have a place.

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I still cannot believe how many things have gone wrong applying for university. I wonder if anyone else has experienced similar issues?

Now to find a flat to actually live in, while I spent freshers week commuting to London…

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Sorry for the completely off topic blog and for anyone reading this and think but what will happen to the blog if I’m not travelling? Don’t worry I still have plenty of travels planned and the blog will keep going. 

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