Kingston University has a clear message for students still waiting to find the course that will shape their future after they get their A-level grades – plan ahead. The University opens its Clearing hotline as soon as results are released on Thursday August 16 and expects to receive calls from as many as 8,000 students eager to snap up the few remaining places on its courses.
UK Marketing Manager Dr Mike Pollard, who is responsible for student recruitment at Kingston University, said callers could be sure of a sympathetic ear but would need to hit the hotline early to be in with the best chance of securing their perfect university place. “Inevitably there will be some students who haven’t quite got the grades they had hoped for, but they should not feel their options are limited,” he said. “Clearing can open up a whole new range of possibilities and students waiting for their results should think ahead now so they will be better placed to make the most of those vital phone calls.”
Students who had a conditional offer from a university but found on results day they had just missed out on the right marks needed to ring that university first, Dr Pollard said. “Sometimes universities will still be able to offer applicants a place or suggest similar alternative courses. If that is not the case, though, they need to get on the phone to other universities as quickly as possible.”
On A-level results day, official course vacancies lists will be published in the Independent and on the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) website. UCAS applicants without a university place on August 16 will automatically be posted a Clearing entry form but they should not wait for it to arrive in the post, Dr Pollard said. Instead, he advised students to draw up a shortlist of courses that interested them and contact the universities directly.
“Clearing is a bit like a degree course sale where students with the right entry points can snap up vacant places. But, as in any sale, the earlier you shop the better the choice,” he said. “Ideally, students should have already considered their subject strengths and have their A-level and GCSE results to hand when they call their chosen university. It’s also a good idea to prepare a list of questions about the course and the institution.”
Specially-trained student operators would be manning Kingston’s Clearing hotline which would open at 8.30am on Thursday 16 August, Dr Pollard said. Those with the grades needed to fill a course vacancy would be transferred through to academic staff. There would also be plenty of help on hand for callers who did not quite meet Kingston’s course criteria.
“Most of the hotline staff are students and many are currently studying at Kingston, so they can empathise with the callers’ uncertainty and their urgent need to find the right place,” Dr Pollard explained. “Alongside our full degree programmes, Kingston also offers two-year Foundation Degrees in such subjects as computing and automotive engineering and runs HNDs with partner colleges in South West London.”
Hotline operator Briana Hunter has her phone headset at the ready and is geared up to take calls. The 20-year-old from Bexley Heath, in Kent, has just completed the second year of her degree in politics and sociology at Kingston and said her job would be to put students at ease and guide them through the Clearing process. “I signed up to work on the hotline because I wanted to give something back,” she said. “My experience studying at Kingston also means I’ll be able to fill potential students in on campus life here.”