Nineteen year old, Olivia O'Leary secured her place at Queen Margaret University through Clearing. She is currently in the 1st year of the BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management and she thinks coming to QMU is the best move she’s made.
Why did you choose to study at QMU?
Olivia explained: “I started looking the UCAS website after deciding that the original course I had applied for at another university was just not for me. I was a bit unsure exactly what I wanted to do, so I took time to look at what different universities had to offer through Clearing. I was really keen to find a course that could offer international study opportunities.
“I had just finished my last year of high school and was working part-time at a fast-food restaurant. I have travelled a lot with my family and I really enjoyed meeting different kinds of people, so I set out to find a degree that would lead to a career in travel and tourism. When I came across the BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management in Clearing, I thought it would be a good fit.
“After looking at lots of options, I eventually decided that Queen Margaret University was the best choice for me - it was relatively close to my home in the Scottish Borders, it seemed to have great accommodation facilities based within the campus grounds – so I wouldn’t need to fork out for travel costs each day – and the hospitality and tourism degree provided the chance of possibly meeting international students. I was really excited about the prospect of international travel and work experience being part of the hospitality degree at QMU, so that sealed the deal!"
How did you find the Clearing process?
"Navigating the Clearing process by using the UCAS website was straight forward. The website provided a guiding document on how to complete the application to the various universities and plenty of information about each university and the courses they were offering in 2021. As the original course I was interested in was no longer appealing, I used the same UCAS website to apply through clearing a few weeks later, during the summer holidays, once the application process opened. The process was easy to understand and provided the much-needed documentation to help at the beginning of my clearing journey."
Identifying the right course, securing an offer – what's next? Looking for accommodation!
"It is important to make sure you make the best choice possible, so my family and I really took time to look at the detail of what was involved in the BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management at QMU. After applying and being offered a place at QMU, I contacted the University’s accommodation team directly to see if there were any rooms in student residences available. The staff in QMU’s accommodation team were extremely helpful and I was delighted to get a premium room in a shared flat on campus. About a month later, I moved into a nice modern flat in the student village on grounds of the campus. The location of the student village is really convenient for students – it's just a few minutes’ walk from the academic building, Students Union and Sports Centre. You can virtually roll out of bed and go straight to class!"
Fitting in and feeling supported as part of QMU’s friendly community
“The campus is modern – not too big - and everyone is so friendly and welcoming. When I was at school, I didn’t find it easy to make friends and I didn’t feel that I fitted in. I didn’t enjoy school and I was desperate to come to university to start a new life with new opportunities. Now everything has changed. I feel I am part of a community at QMU. The University’s small size means it’s easy to meet people and get involved in things. We had a flat party and I met my best friend there. Making a best friend has been one of the best things about coming to university. I’ve definitely changed in the last year - I feel far more confident and more mature than I used to, and I have my university experience and my best friend to thank for that.
I enjoy talking to people. I found it harder in the past, but now I find myself talking to more people, and I’d like to have a career which gives me the opportunity to meet and converse with lots of different types of people. I think I will get that working in hospitality and tourism.
There’s a lot of support available at the university. The focus is really focused on having a good student experience – both academically and socially. The staff are really approachable and the Accommodation team has been extremely supportive. I try to get involved in things, so I went to a few events during the Freshers’ Fair and I’m in the hockey society. I play as much as possible and I recently got an award for dedication to the team.
Living in student accommodation has helped me too. It’s convenient and it makes it easy to get to know other people, so it’s a good way to settle into university life in first year. There’s a train station just a few minutes’ walk away from the student accommodation, and it only takes six minutes on the train to get directly into the city centre of Edinburgh. The bus also comes right into campus nearly every 10 minutes.
I was initially unsure about what my move would be after school, but I am now really pleased I used the Clearing system to come to QMU. It’s completely changed my life.”
""Navigating the Clearing process by using the UCAS website was straight forward. The website provided a guiding document on how to complete the application to the various universities and plenty of information about each university and the courses they were offering...""