Posted Thursday 13 August 2015
Hotline operators at Clearing headquarters are being kept busy as thousands of hopeful students call in eager to secure one of the few remaining places on Kingston University's degree programmes.
Deputy Director of Student Administration Dr Andy Homer, who oversees Kingston University's Clearing operation, said the University had been impressed by the high calibre of applicants contacting the Clearing hotline this year. "Many callers have good grades and have only narrowly missed out on their original university choices," Dr Homer said. "Others had done better than expected and have been looking at different university options. There have also been a number of calls from mature students with existing qualifications."
While many students had now accepted offers, it was likely there would still be a few spots available on degree courses during the coming week, Dr Homer said. "Students who are made offers in Clearing have 24 hours to make up their minds and to accept them through the UCAS track system so we don't know the exact number of spaces we have left but I would urge people to contact us sooner rather than later if they're interested in studying at Kingston this year," he added. "At the moment courses that have been popular in Clearing but which still have some spaces include science, engineering and technology subjects, social sciences, business and law."
Kingston University has trained more than 120 hotline operators to handle this year's calls and 122 academic staff are also on standby to talk to students about their academic aspirations and offer them support and guidance.
Last year, economics student Sarah Mutombo found her place through Clearing. "I called a few institutions but they just didn't really grab me," the 19 year old recalled. "The person who answered the phone at Kingston University was very friendly, though and she made me feel there was no reason at all to be scared." After confirming Sarah's grades matched the course requirements the hotline operator had contacted the relevant tutor. "She made the whole process a complete breeze for me," Sarah said.
Whatever the student's circumstances, operators and academic staff were keen to take the stress out of the Clearing process and were aware of how daunting it could at first seem, Dr Homer said. "Students who call in are often anxious as well as disappointed when they've missed out on their grades but we do our best to put them at ease," he added. "Many of our hotline operators are students themselves, and some even came through Clearing, so they understand just how nerve-racking A-level results day can be."
Callers entering the Clearing process would have an initial conversation with a hotline operator and provide details of their A-level results, Dr Homer explained. If their grades met course requirements, they would be put in touch with academic staff to see whether they could be matched to an unfilled place. Students still hoping to secure a place through Clearing should thoroughly research institutions before they took to the phones.
"Even though you may have missed your grades there are still opportunities available for you," Dr Homer advised. "Be ready to talk about your subject area, aspirations and why you are worthy of an offer and you could still find that perfect place."