Posted Saturday 31 July 2021
With A-level results day just around the corner and Kingston University getting ready to receive hundreds of calls from eager Clearing applicants, an academic expert has encouraged anyone calling the virtual hotline to draw on experiences they have gained during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We've all been through a period of change over the past 18 months, so we've all become familiar with how quickly things can change and how we've all adapted to cope," the University's Dr Baljit Thatti, who has previously worked as an admissions tutor, said. "This resilience can be transferred into applicants going through Clearing because you may have to look at opportunities you weren't expecting, or you may have just changed your mind about the course you originally applied for – that's where we can help guide you through the Clearing process and find a course that suits you."
Students calling the University's hotline will include those who have changed their mind about what course they want study, applicants deciding against a gap year, returning to education as a mature students, or those who may have missed out on their expected grades.
Doing plenty of research and being prepared ahead of time would be crucial, Dr Bhatti said. "It's important to have a good understanding of the various courses available because there might be a different programme related to your original choice that might be more suited to you because it has modules that interest you more. This is particularly important if you're in a situation where you need to rethink your options. If you are then, please ring our Clearing hotline and our friendly, helpful call handlers can talk you through these – many of these are students at Kingston and some of them will have been through the process themselves" she said.
Throughout results day, on Tuesday 10 August, there will be a dedicated team of around 130 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 applicants through the Clearing process step by step, put them at ease and answer all their questions.
Dr Thatti has urged those calling the hotline to ask as many questions as they can to make an informed choice. "There's no such thing as a stupid question so I'd advise all callers to ask as many as you can so it helps you make the right choice for you. Ask the call handlers for information on things such as university life, its social aspects and accommodation – we are all here to support you," she said.
The associate professor of analytical and forensic chemistry also encouraged applicants to get to know more about the course through academics "Ask them about the teaching, what modules there are and what careers you can go into after completing that degree. The more interest you show in the course and the more time you put into your research, the better student experience you'll have overall. Attending the virtual open day will also help you in the decision that you make," she said.
Students are urged not to delay getting in touch once they receive their grades, with the University's hotline expected to be busy. Extended opening hours mean operators will be taking calls into the evenings during the first few days and a virtual Open Day on Saturday 14 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.
When the new academic year gets under way, the University is planning for a majority of teaching to be on-campus, with some elements of online delivery to enhance the learning experience. Kingston's campuses and facilities are expected to be open, in line with government guidance, so students can receive a high-quality education and rich student experience.
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 as part of Welcome Week, covering essential information such as health and wellbeing and IT support. Before enrolling, all new students will also be able to take part in the University's Head Start online programme, set up to give an insight into what undergraduate life is like and how to settle in more easily.
The Union of Kingston Students is also working hard to ensure new students can enjoy an assortment of exciting events where they can meet fellow students and find out about vast array of clubs and societies on offer. The programme is expected to be a blend of in-person and virtual events, with new students advised to keep an eye on the Union's website for more details.