Clearing series 2021: Sinem Ishlek, BA Global Development

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The Clearing period can be a time fraught with anxiety. Many students feel like it is a last resort option – but in reality, it is a huge opportunity. An opportunity to explore new universities, consider different courses, and to have your perceptions changed.

We’re running a series of Clearing stories to highlight the reality of applying to universities through Clearing – and to showcase what great things it could lead to.

We talked to current student Sinem Ishlek, who applied to SOAS through Clearing last year. Due to Covid, most of Sinem’s first year was taught online – with two years left to go, Sinem talks about how she got here, and what excites her about the rest of her course.

Tell us your Clearing story – what/where were you originally going to study?

I initially had offers to study Geography with Economics at the LSE, and also Economics & Management at KCL. Due to the pandemic, students including myself couldn’t sit their A-Level exams, so instead we were all given “Centre Assessment Grades” by our teachers; I was given lower grades than I anticipated so I missed out on both of my offers.

How did you find the Clearing process?

The Clearing process itself was simple; I called the SOAS Clearing line, shared my details and grades, and a few days later I received an email from SOAS confirming my place.
Once my place at SOAS was confirmed, a lecturer from my department called me to talk through the course and answered any questions that I had. She provided me with invaluable information which allowed me to gain a detailed insight into SOAS that I otherwise wouldn’t have found online.


Why did you choose SOAS?

I was (and still am!) fascinated by SOAS’ specialisation in the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Most university courses in the UK are quite Eurocentric, so the thought of studying at SOAS felt particularly unique. In hindsight, I truly believe that going through Clearing was in fact a blessing in disguise for me!


What do you study at SOAS, and what do you enjoy most about your course?

I study BA Development Studies (now known as Global Development) and I really enjoy it so far. It’s an intellectually stimulating degree across the many branches of international development that make up Development Studies. I particularly enjoy the selection of interdisciplinary modules on offer each year, coupled with staff who have unrivalled practical knowledge across the discipline. 


What excites you about your next two years at SOAS?

Like many others, my first year took place online – so truthfully, I’m looking forward to exploring our vibrant campus as I’ve only really seen it through the virtual tours on the SOAS website!


What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I’m currently focusing on developing my academic rigour and honing my skills within the international development field, hoping that one day I will be able to make an impact for disadvantaged and marginalised communities.


What advice would you give to students thinking about applying to SOAS through Clearing?

Ensure you take care of yourself during the Clearing process. If you are applying through Clearing because you received lower grades than you anticipated, please remember that your grades do not define who you are. You are the constant in this ‘equation of life’ – no matter where you go or which degree you pursue, it will always be up to you to make the most of the opportunities that come your way!


Discover more about Clearing at SOAS.

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