Posted Thursday 18 August 2016
Phones at Kingston University's Clearing headquarters have been ringing red hot since lines went live at 8.30am. By 11am on A-level results day, hotline operators had spoken to almost 1,300 prospective students keen to snap up one of the few remaining spots on degree courses starting this September, and already made more than 250 offers of a degree place.
A dedicated team of 140 specially-trained hotline operators, working alongside academic staff, have been speaking to students many of whom only narrowly missed out on their predicted A-level grades. Director of Admissions Dr Andy Homer, who oversees Kingston University's annual Clearing operation, said hotline staff were also taking calls from students who had done better than expected or were seeking a last-minute change of subject before enrolling for university next month.
Dr Homer said students should not panic if they didn't get straight through to the hotline operators. "The first few hours on results day are always the busiest for us as students pick up their results and get straight on the phone to try to secure one of the last spaces available," he explained. "We still have vacancies up for grabs in subject areas ranging from science to social work, so the message is don't delay, call now and keep trying if lines are busy and students will soon get through to a friendly member of staff ready to help."
Callers would have an initial conversation with a hotline operator during which they would discuss details of their A-level results, Dr Homer said. If their grades met course requirements, they would then be put in touch with an academic to see whether they could be matched with an unfilled place. "We will continue to take calls from degree hopefuls until all our vacancies are filled. There will be heavy demand on our more popular courses though, so students need to be quick off the mark to have a chance of getting a place on the degree they're most interested in," he cautioned.
Students coming through Clearing should research courses before they made their calls, Dr Homer added. "It's vital they know the differences between similar subject areas and are ready with reasons to explain why they want to go to a particular university," he said. "They also need to have the correct information - such as their Clearing number, UCAS ID and full details of their qualifications - to hand, as this will ensure they are able to get the most out of their calls."
Last year Clearing provided 21-year-old BA (Hons) History student Shannon Everest with a second chance after her first foray in to higher education hadn't worked out. Having already missed the UCAS deadline, Shannon, whose passion for history was ignited while at secondary school, wasted no time calling the Kingston University Clearing hotline to find out what her options were. "It was scary picking up the phone not knowing to expect," Shannon said. However, her worries quickly dissipated as she spoke to an empathetic and informative member of the hotline team. "A lovely lady in the admissions team told me all about the history course and reassured me there was nothing to be worried about," she said.
A year on from fearing her higher education ambitions might be over, Shannon is now about to start the second year of a degree she loves. She urged other students who might find themselves in a similar situation to make time to explore the options available through Clearing. "If you're interested in a university, ring their Clearing hotline as you can definitely get a feel for the institution and a course by talking to the right people on the phone," she advised. "I was so impressed with the staff and students I spoke to and knew straight away that Kingston University was the place for me.