As many as 6,000 students are expected to contact Kingston University later this month eager to fill the final few vacancies on its degree courses.
The university will open its Clearing hotline as soon as A-level results are announced on August 14. Hotline operators promise that callers can be sure of a sympathetic ear.
All students at Kingston, they understand only too well just how important it is to choose the right course at the right university.Ryan Saunders, who has just finished his first year of a business with French degree, is one of the newest recruits to the team based at the university’s hotline headquarters. He expects to deal with hundreds of queries, some from students who got far better results than they anticipate and others from those who did not do quite as well as they had hoped.
Ryan knows exactly how anxious they will be feeling – this time last year, he was in their shoes trying to find the perfect university place. The 20 year old from Portsmouth had put off moving straight on to higher education, instead working in the marketing department at a ferry company in his home town.
Last summer, however, he decided the time had come to think more seriously about his future and head to university. He set the ball rolling by buying the Independent newspaper, scanning the official lists of course vacancies and phoning around. Before long he had found the perfect programme at Kingston University. “I was really aware that my whole future could hinge on a single phone call and my nerves were definitely jangling,” Ryan explained. “After a year working, I felt a bit out of touch with the education system and wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the advice I got from the hotline operator really pointed me in the right direction.”
Jenny Richardson, who will be overseeing the hotline headquarters team, is hard at work making sure all the operators are specially trained to advise callers about the ins and outs of enrolling at Kingston. Students with the grades needed to fill a course vacancy would be transferred directly to advisers to discuss subjects that appealed to them, she said. There would also be plenty of help on hand for callers who did not quite meet Kingston University’s course criteria. They would be able to talk about alternative options with admissions staff.