Posted Monday 10 August 2020
Kingston University is getting set to handle hundreds of calls from applicants eager to secure one of the remaining degree course places when its virtual Clearing hotline swings into action at 8am on A-level results day. While the long awaited date can inevitably be a tense time as university hopefuls weigh up all their options, Kingston's admissions experts are reassuring students that, by planning ahead, they can be in with a chance of snapping up a place.
Dr Robin Pettitt, a senior lecturer in politics at the University, will be among the admissions tutors answering students' questions on the day and advises callers to keep calm if they miss out on their expected grades. Students calling the hotline will also include those who have changed their minds about what course they want to study, or the campus location, as well as applicants who have changed their minds about taking a gap year, or are returning to education as a mature student.
"It's understandable students will be disappointed if they don't quite get the results they were hoping for when A-levels are released - but there's no need to worry," Dr Pettitt said. "It's important to realise that there are a lot of options available for prospective students and plenty of pathways to getting a good and globally recognised degree."
On results day, the University will have a dedicated team of 160 friendly hotline operators taking calls - all working remotely from their homes at a myriad of locations around the UK and further afield. They will include course leaders, lecturers and current students, who will be able to guide eager applicants through the Clearing process step by step, put them at ease and answer all their questions.
With the hotline already exceptionally busy, students are urged not to delay getting in touch once they receive their grades. Extended opening hours mean operators will be taking calls into the evenings during the first few days and a virtual Open Day on Saturday 15 August will provide a chance to look around the University. Before then the University is advising students to follow its top tips to make sure they've got all the preparations in place for the big day.
Dr Pettitt suggests applicants get ahead by researching universities and their courses beforehand, so they've had a chance to properly consider their choices and know what questions they want to ask the hotline operator on the other end of the phone. "Universities may be in a position to present callers with a number of options, which can seem a little daunting, so the important thing is to read up and think things through as much as possible before results day," he advised.
"Ideally, that preparation should be a balance of finding out more about subject choices and the location of each university, as well as about campus life and accommodation that's available if students aren't staying at home."
When the new academic year gets under way, the University will be offering a blend of teaching online and on campus from September to December, with plenty of opportunities for students to stay connected to course mates and teaching staff. Students will have access to campus buildings for practical studio and laboratory-based work, as well as for smaller group learning.
They will also be able to take part in a range of recreational and sporting activities, which will all be run in line with the latest government and public health guidelines. The Fitness Centre at Penrhyn Road, sports ground at Tolworth Court and other facilities, such as the tennis courts at Kingston Hill, are all due to be open from the start of term.
A wide programme of University and course-related induction sessions will be held online as part of Welcome Week, covering essential information such as health and wellbeing, tips for preparing to study online and IT support. Before they enrol, all new students will also be able to take part in the University's Head Start Online programme, set up to help them get more of an insight into what undergraduate life is like and settle in more easily.
The Union of Kingston Students is also working hard to ensure new students can enjoy an assortment of exciting virtual events where they can meet fellow students and find out about vast array of clubs and societies on offer. Its Freshers 2020 activities have been extended from one week to four, with new students are advised to keep an eye on the Union's website for more details.
Dr Pettitt said the blend of online lectures and smaller group learning on campus, as well as all the other Welcome activities, offered Kingston University students plenty to look forward to. "Everybody is working extremely creatively on putting together a student experience that will still be very fulfilling as we emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown and look forward to the new academic year," he said.