Posted Thursday 18 August 2011
Kingston University's Clearing and Confirmation hotline has been inundated with calls from prospective students hoping to secure the final few remaining places on degree courses starting this autumn. The scramble for places is even more intense this year as students who narrowly missed out on their expected A-Level grades try to beat the rise in tuition fees that will come into effect from 2012.
On the first day of Clearing, 18 August, there were more than 43,000 attempts to call Kingston's Clearing and Confirmation hotline and almost 45,000 visits to the University's website - up a third on the same period last year. "The first few hours of Clearing are always exceptionally busy for us as students up and down the country receive their results," Kingston University's pro vice-chancellor Professor Martyn Jones said. "Our 58 specially trained student volunteers will be working to match prospective recruits with places on a suitable degree courses until all our vacancies are filled, but students will need to be quick to secure a place."
Hotline operators have been transferring those who meet the requirements for the University's course vacancies to academics to see if they can be matched with unfilled places. Hotline supervisor Amany Mahfouz knows just what callers will be going through. Three years ago she was on the other end of the phone, trying to find a university place. "I'd been offered a place on a Middle Eastern studies degree, but I decided the course focus was too narrow," the 21 year old from west London explained. "I did some research and decided Kingston's media and cultural studies course would be perfect for me, so I called the Clearing hotline and spoke to an advisor."
Amany was told there were places available to study media and cultural studies with politics, but she was nervous about whether she would cope with the political element of the degree. "The hotline operator was so reassuring, she put me through to one of the course tutors so I could discuss my concerns which really helped put my mind at rest. I accepted the place at Kingston and haven't looked back since."
After having such a positive experience of Clearing, Amany, who has just completed the final year of her degree, decided to put her knowledge to good use. She signed up to be one of Kingston's Clearing hotline supervisors and will be looking after a team of eight operators to help ensure prospective students receive the best advice possible. "I know how important a friendly voice at the end of the phone can be when you're trying to navigate your way through Clearing," she said. "Some callers can be in a bit of a state if they're disappointed with their results, so one of the most important things a hotline operator can do is to put them at ease and let them know we're here to help them."
Kingston University's Clearing hotline will be open between 8.30am and 6.30pm on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August, and from 9am to 5.30pm the following week. With places limited, Professor Martyn Jones urged students to call a soon as possible.