Posted Thursday 16 August 2018
Hotline operators at Kingston University's Clearing headquarters have been answering calls from hundreds of eager applicants since A-level results were released. The University's dedicated team of 180 specially trained hotline operators has spoken to nearly 3,000 students looking to snap up one of the remaining degree places for courses starting in September.
Director of Admissions Dr Andy Homer, who oversees the University's annual Clearing and confirmation operation, said hotline operators had been taking calls from students who had narrowly missed out on their predicted grades as well as those who had done better than expected. "There are still some places available in subject areas, including business, law, geography, engineering, journalism and education so students shouldn't delay and should call now – they could be one phone call away from their dream degree place," he said.
As well as considering the subject areas they would most enjoy, Dr Homer advised students should turn their thoughts to life after university. "Most critically, they might want to reflect on how likely they are to secure that great job when they graduate," he said. "At Kingston University, for example, the latest Government figures show that with more than 95 per cent of our alumni in employment or further study six months after graduating, we are among the top 50 institutions in the country for job prospects."
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 a vacant place. "We will continue to take calls from degree hopefuls until all our vacancies are filled. There will be heavy demand for 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.
"Our operators are all handpicked, they understand how nerve racking Clearing can be and they're committed to ensuring callers are able to explore all the options available to them," he added. "To get the most out of the call, students need to have the right details to hand, such as their Clearing number and UCAS ID, along with full details of qualifications, including subjects, grades, dates obtained and exam boards."
Admissions tutor Dr Gillian Christie has been taking calls from applicants interested in studying pharmaceutical science, pharmacology, chemistry or pharmacy. Students were often apprehensive when looking at the vast array of Clearing options available, she said. "They should try to keep a clear head and not rush in to any decisions as ‘panic buying' could results in them being on the wrong course for them," she warned.
If students were committed to a subject but didn't get the grades needed for their original university choices, they should look at other institutions offering courses in the same field, Dr Christie suggested. "If they don't love the subject enough to study it elsewhere, then maybe it isn't the subject for them," she added.
It was also important to think seriously about alternative routes to their first choice of subject. "In some cases, for instance, it may be possible to begin a related subject and then transfer to the course they want," she explained. "For example, students studying pharmaceutical science or pharmacology at Kingston University can transfer to the pharmacy course after one year if their marks are high enough. Some of our best pharmacy students have come through this route."
Dr Christie's top tip when calling the Clearing hotline is to show enthusiasm. "My academic colleagues and I look for students who can demonstrate a real passion for their chosen subject area and will make the most of everything life on campus has to offer," she said.