Posted Friday 14 August 2020
Kingston University's Clearing operation is a hive of activity, with hundreds of applicants keen to secure a place on a course in September calling its dedicated hotline since A-level results were released on 13 August.
Some 160 friendly hotline operators and more than 300 academics, who are working from homes across the country this year, have been busy fielding queries since the lines opened, with the volume of calls consistently exceeding those received at the same time in 2019. The team, which includes course leaders, lecturers and current student ambassadors, is on hand to answer any questions from A-level students who may not have quite got the grades for their chosen institution or had accepted a place elsewhere but since changed their minds and now want to study at Kingston. The operators have also been guiding people eager to return to education by talking through the various options available.
As well as helping callers find a suitable degree course, the fully-trained team has been dispensing plenty of reassuring advice, answering questions about an array of subject areas and explaining more about what life at Kingston is like.
The University also hosted a virtual Open Day on Saturday to give eager students a chance to find out more about what it has to offer and to take a look around. Ahead of that, prospective students from across the United Kingdom, and even as far afield as Qatar, have been making the most of an opportunity get more of an online insight into Kingston and all it has to offer by watching on-demand presentations, talking to staff from across the University in a Clearing networking lounge where they can access academic advice in subject booths on a special virtual platform.
The University's UK admissions manager Ed Beales, who is helping oversee its annual Clearing and confirmation operation, said the hotline team had been taking calls from prospective students in a range of situations and was doing everything possible to support them to find the ideal course. Places were filling up fast and applicants were encouraged to call the hotline as soon as they could to have the best chance of securing a place on a course, he added.
"It's certainly been a busy time so far, with our staff taking calls from their front rooms, kitchens, conservatories and gardens across the country, helping applicants through the Clearing process and signing them up to courses where we still have vacancies," Mr Beales said. "We're being as flexible as we can this year, taking into account people's individual circumstances, personal statements and references as well as looking at their actual and predicted grades."
Associate professor in health and exercise sciences Dr Hannah Moir is one of the academic staff who has been supporting student hopefuls calling the hotline. "We've had some really rewarding conversations with applicants. In the wake of the pandemic, it's been a more daunting time in very unusual circumstances for A-level students. I think getting through on the Clearing line to academic staff and being able to talk through their options has really helped put them at ease," Dr Moir, from the University's School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry, said.
"We're able to look at the whole picture for applicants and make offers taking their full situation into account. It's great to be able to give them more of a sense of direction than they've maybe had throughout lockdown. It's a joy to have that conversation and be able to give them some guidance for the future."
To get the most out of their calls, Clearing applicants are advised to have the their UCAS identification and full details of qualifications to hand, including subjects, grades, dates obtained and exam boards.