A Kingston University (KU) student shared her emotive story of securing a university place through Clearing ahead of A-Level Results Day on Thursday (August 14).

Ese Akpochimoraa will graduate from KU this January with a Masters in mechanical engineering.

She previously collected a degree on behalf of her mother, who died just before her own graduation ceremony.

Ms Akpochimoraa, now 24 years' old, secured a place to study engineering at KU through the Clearing process, despite not having the required A-Level grades.

"I didn't do well in my A-levels the first time around and when I went back and retook them I still didn't get the grades I needed for the places I'd applied for.

"I called a few universities and they couldn't help, I was running out of options and didn't know where to go," she said.

"Then I tried Kingston and spoke to one of the tutors on the course.

"He looked at my GCSEs and we talked about what my options were. I was offered a place with a foundation year, which I passed.

"Now, a few years on, I'll be graduating with a masters in engineering in January," Ms Akpochimoraa said of her journey through Clearing to academic achievement.

Your Local Guardian: Image: KUImage: KU

Her successes followed personal tragedy after her mother, Marian, passed away when she was just 15.

In 2010 Ms Akpochimoraa's mother collapsed while working at Lewisham hospital.

She passed away a short time later from a brain haemorrhage.

Marion had just finished a nursing course at the University of Greenwich — the first person in her family to go to university.

Looking back on her mother's life and her own academic success, via Clearing, with KU, Ms Akpochimoraa said her mum's efforts inspired her to work and study hard.

"I find myself looking back, wishing I had been more understanding of all the work she put in to raising us, doing a job and studying in the evenings.

"But now it motivates me to really push myself as hard as I can to achieve my goals," she said.

The prospective KU alumni also offered some advice for those hoping to secure a place at university in the coming days and weeks ahead of Results Day this Thursday.

"I would say don't give up — you have your whole future ahead of you and grades aren't everything.

"Pick up the phone and make that call. University can be truly transformative and help you achieve your dreams.

"Mum was the first in our family to graduate, now I'm determined to be the first to go on and make a real difference with my degree," Ms Akpochimoraa said.