Bolu Ogunsanya

Criminology with a Year in Data Analytics

Applying to Kent was so easy and fast, especially compared with other universities.

Why did you decide to come to Kent through Clearing?

It was Kent’s track record. I didn’t get the grades I needed to get into my first-choice university, then I got an offer from another university but wasn’t sure about going there. I spoke to people from my secondary school who had graduated from Kent. They told me how good it was, and about its track record, so that persuaded me to apply through Clearing. The communication with Kent was good and they explained everything thoroughly.

What happened on results day?

I was in the car with my mum and I got her to open my results. My grades were good – apart from one. I phoned my first-choice university but they couldn’t accept me. As soon as I got home I started looking at places through Clearing.

Kent looked good because it had the subject that I wanted to study: I called them and they said they could offer me a place, I just needed to fill in a form. It was so easy and fast, especially compared to other universities.

Also, I wanted my university to be far enough from home to give me some independence – I’m from Dagenham in east London so coming to Kent gave me that.

Did you stay in student accommodation?

Yes – I stayed in Park Wood during my first and second year. In the first year I stayed in a shared house and then in my second year I stayed in a flat. Kent helped me find the right accommodation.

What were your first few weeks at Kent like?

I felt welcome and it was easy to get on with my flatmates. I had so many emails explaining everything there was to do on campus, such as clubs and societies.

The Freshers’ Fair was the best thing I’ve ever experienced – free pizza and such a wide range of societies! It helped me feel comfortable at Kent because I knew that even if I didn’t find friends in my flat, I could find them through societies.

I joined netball initially as I’d played that for several years before coming to Kent. I also joined the African-Caribbean Society (ACS) which I’m still a part of now.

What have been the highlights of your degree programme?

I’ve become close to my lecturers, who’ve been very supportive. It’s really important to make the most of your academics and ask for support as much as possible, to get the most out of your degree.

There are two modules that really stand out, both of which I’m studying this year. The first is about race and racism, and the second is called Global South. It’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced, the lectures are so interactive.

What made you decide to add a Year in Data Analytics to your degree programme?

I decided to add on a Year in Data Analytics once I was studying at Kent. It was during my first or second year, Kent sent me a letter saying that my grades in that area were good and that it was something that I should consider. I thought that adding a ‘Year in’ would help me find a job after University.

What employability support have you had?

The Careers and Employability Service has checked my CV twice, which has helped me to get part-time jobs. My lecturers have also helped me to shape my career path, based on my strengths on the course.

In the future, I’d love to be a prison governor: to run a prison and make a difference in the lives of prisoners. If you can’t make change from the outside, it’s better to start from the inside. From the point of view of a person of colour, I want to give my perspective on what we need to change to make the prison experience effective. Right now, prisons are just there to bring in people who pose a risk to society and the system’s not really doing anything else.

What do you most enjoy about being a student at Kent?

There’s a good balance between work and fun here. Canterbury has enough clubs and activities so that you can go out when you want to, but it doesn’t distract you from your work too much. Also, we’re encouraged to work and do well but there’s support available to help us take care of our mental health.

What advice would you give to students applying through Clearing?

Don’t lose hope if you don’t get the grades you need. Before I got my grades, my mind was set on Russell Group universities. A lot of people don’t go to those universities, and still end up achieving their dreams. I think it’s fate and that Kent was where I was meant to be. Continue with a positive mindset and positive energy, so that you make the most of your time at university.

How have you changed as a person since you started at Kent?

I’m calmer and less impulsive, more practical. Before I came here, if something didn’t go right, I’d be all over the place. If I didn’t get the grades I wanted, so a B instead of an A, I’d be in tears. My grades have improved over my time at Kent and I really didn’t need to panic.

And my advice generally for university is don’t be too sad if you lose some friends along the way, because the ones you keep will be your friends for life. And be yourself – don’t try to be someone you’re not. Just do you!