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Students from Great Britain

I found Queen’s through clearing - now I’m studying my Master’s here

Gabriella is a postgraduate student from London. She originally found Queen's through Clearing but enjoyed her time here so much that she decided to stay for a Master’s degree.

In August 2017, I thought my world had stopped when I missed all my university offers.

I had my university path all planned out: I was going to go to my firm choice, an English Russell Group university. But because of a change in my personal life, I dropped a few grades and didn’t make the grades for either my firm or insurance choice.

I wanted to be prepared for Clearing – so I made a plan

Before Results Day, I made a plan in case I had to go through Clearing. Read my top tips for navigating Clearing.

I looked on the UCAS website to see which universities had places in Clearing. That was when I found Queen’s University Belfast. I’d never heard of it before, but after some research, I knew it was where I wanted to go. Queen’s (and Belfast) looked really friendly and welcoming. And after living here for four years, I can confirm that it is!

After speaking to Queen’s, I knew I was making the right decision

Clearing phone lines are busy - it took me 47 times to get through to someone! But when I called Queen’s, the people I spoke to were so friendly. I knew right away I was making the correct decision. I was offered a place on Results Day, and I was delighted to accept.

I hadn’t visited Queen’s or Northern Ireland before so, two days later, I hopped on a flight to Belfast. The staff at Queen’s were brilliant - they had arranged a last-minute, personalised campus tour. I even got to have a chat with one of my future lecturers!

On the flight back to London, my mum asked me if I was sure about Queen’s. After seeing the university and Belfast in person, I had absolutely no doubt that it was the place for me.

I knew quickly that I’d stay to study my Master’s

I started my BA Criminology degree in September 2017. By the time I’d reached my second year, I knew I wanted to stay at Queen’s and study a Master’s.

The course, campus and staff at Queen’s were all incredible and I got all the help I needed from Queen’s disability support services. I found a second home in Belfast and I feel safer here than I did in London. Belfast is a vibrant and cultural city - I love wandering around the city centre, listening to buskers.

I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate degree and I achieved things I never thought I could. While I didn’t have an in-person graduation because of Covid-19 restrictions, Queen’s organised a virtual ceremony. We even got to hear a speech given by the university’s Chancellor, Hillary Clinton.

My Master’s allows me to study what interests me most

I started studying for my MA Violence, Terrorism & Security course in September 2020. Even though most of the teaching was online, I’ve found my degree to be really interesting.

The course is flexible, so I can study whatever cases and countries interest me the most. The lecturers have helped me develop my critical thinking skills and I’ve debated many different topics, gaining different perspectives on complex situations.

I wouldn’t change my time at Queen’s for the world


I have brilliant memories of my courses, the people I’ve met, the places I’ve lived and the experiences I’ve had. I absolutely wouldn’t change my experience for anything.

If you have to apply through Clearing this year, it won’t be the end of the world. You’ll still have an incredible time at university - and Queen’s should definitely be on your list of options!

Even though I came through clearing, I had a brilliant undergraduate experience and I’ve loved my postgraduate too. I’ll be sad to leave Belfast and Queen’s, but I’m excited to start my next chapter as a Detective Constable in the London Metropolitan Police. 

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Photo: Gabriella Dancer
Gabriella Dancer
MA Violence, Terrorism & Security