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Turning down drama school for university was a first-class decision for Clearing student Michael

Date 30.07.2019

Budding actor Michael Gukas snubbed several drama schools to join the University of Northampton via Clearing – and left with a First Class honours degree and a student of the year award under his belt.

“I originally applied for places at drama schools and, after auditioning for several, I received a couple of offers in London,” said Michael. “By then it was August and I had made my mind up that I would prefer to go somewhere with a university atmosphere, that offered straightforward access to funding and provided the specialised training I required to become a professional actor.”

So Michael, who comes from Wymondham, near Norwich, began searching for university acting courses on the UCAS Clearing website.

He said: “The application process for me was very straightforward – the options on the website were laid out clearly. I browsed all the courses that interested me, sent in my applications, and was contacted shortly afterwards for an interview and audition for the Acting course at Northampton.”

Fast forward three years and Michael is not only the proud recipient of a First Class honours degree, but also the holder of the University of Northampton’s Acting Student of the Year 2019 award.

While he has a natural talent for acting, Michael is in no doubt that his time at Northampton was instrumental in helping him to reach his potential.

“The course is both demanding and rewarding,” he said. “It does exactly what any worthwhile training for this field is meant to do. It throws you into small pool of fresh faces, and a new community and family of individuals all sharing a common love for the craft.

“It pushes you both mentally, emotionally and physically over the three years. It invites you to step out of your comfort zone, accept your imperfections, insecurities and break down barriers. In the end you leave not only an actor or actress in your own right, but a well-rounded individual, with an invaluable degree and precious memories and experiences shared with excellent company.”

Michael reserves special praise for the lecturers on his course for their total commitment to their students.

He said: “From the first day I came to Northampton to audition for a panel of two lecturers, I knew straight away from the way I was welcomed and the passion they showed that this was the place for me to be. I knew this was a team of warm people, knowledgeable in their field and eager to nurture new talent. Progressing on the course and working with more lecturers, as well as visiting directors, my initial reaction was further affirmed.”

As you’d expect, Michael has no hesitation in recommending the University of Northampton to others.

He said: “I would recommend it to potential applicants because the training you get here is truly from a place of mutual joy, and an eagerness to inspire passion and nurture the next generation.

“From what I have experienced, the lecturers care for the students and have created a comfortable environment in which strong and valuable relationships are forged.”

Chris Burdett, Programme Leader for Acting, said: “Throughout his time here Michael has been an excellent student, always eager and ready to learn, with a passion for his chosen subject that has been second to none.

“He has worked well with all his peers and the tutors throughout his time with us and is a wonderful young actor, who we have very high hopes for.”

The Acting programme at the University of Northampton recently received a 100% score in the Overall Satisfaction category of the National Student Survey – a census of final year students from across the UK.

For more information about Clearing at the University of Northampton, visit our web page.