Even before she found out her exam results, Hilary knew that she would go through Clearing. Here is her story.
"I realised that I no longer wanted to do the courses I had applied for. When I received my results, and I hadn't got in, I was happy that I didn't have to do a course I no longer wished to do and to be free to try again to apply to a course through Clearing.
"When I got the place I was ecstatic. At that point I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to university, so being offered the place and the opportunity to go and to do a course that I was really looking forward to was just the best feeling I've ever had.
Be prepared and stay calm
"On the day, if the results you get are not what you had hoped for, don't panic. Staying calm and keeping a clear head will give you a better chance of portraying yourself well. Have your A Level and GCSE results to hand, make a list of anything that you have achieved - relevant or not to the course, so that you will have that to refer to if asked about them. A copy of your original personal statement would also be good to have with you.
"When I called the hotline, it wasn't like an interview so much as it was a pleasant chat. The lady that I spoke to was really nice and helped make me feel calm and comfortable.
"It was the course that drew me, nothing else particularly mattered to me at that point. The HND Jewellery and Silversmithing course is in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter at the School of Jewellery. It is one of a few courses of its type and has small class sizes.
Make the most of the opportunity
"The two years were brilliant. I've met some amazing people, some of which are going on to the third year to turn the HND into a full degree. The tutors were great and really helpful. It's so well equipped too - I couldn't have asked for anything more.
"Now I've finished, I've set up my own workshop in the garage at home and have set up my own business - His, Hers, Ours Jewellery."