Posted Monday 14 August 2023
With A-level results day this Thursday 17 August fast approaching, a senior Kingston University admissions expert is urging aspiring undergraduates to make sure they are ready to swing into action to secure a degree place.
The University's Student Recruitment and Admissions Director, Clare Beckett, said planning ahead was crucial in the run up to results day. It would mean applicants, particularly those who might have had a change of heart about what they wanted to study or weren't sure whether they would quite get the grades they were anticipating, would be able to make the most of opportunities still on offer.
The University is gearing up to receive thousands of calls from applicants eager to snap up one of the remaining spots on its degree courses when its Clearing phone lines open at 8.00am on A-level results day. Ms Beckett advises anyone considering calling its hotline to do their research and keep an open mind about which degree programme they might want to pursue.
"I'd recommend all potential callers do as much as possible to find out more about courses that might appeal to them before receiving their results and try to focus on a few different options. Resources like the University website are full of useful information to support that research," she said.
"On A-level results day itself, applicants should make sure they're ready to phone the Clearing hotline early as the University anticipates lines will get busy very quickly. It's also important to bear in mind that some courses may already be full, so having alternatives in mind before making the call is definitely something we'd encourage."
Kingston University will have a dedicated team of more than 120 hotline operators on the other end of the phone lines. The hotline team, which includes course leaders, lecturers and current students – some of whom have been through Clearing themselves – will guide applicants through the process step by step, providing plenty of reassurance and answering questions about everything from accommodation to campus life.
The team is expecting to speak to applicants in a variety of different situations. Some will be returning from a gap year, others will be coming back to education as a mature student, while some may have narrowly missed out on their expected grades or have had second thoughts about the subject they want to study.
"Clearing increasingly is a type of shop window for people who have changed their minds, who might want to stay closer to home or move away to get a different life experience while they study. If potential applicants' circumstances have changed, Clearing can be an invaluable opportunity to see what degree programmes are out there that could be a good fit," Ms Beckett said.
To get the most out of their calls, Ms Beckett advises potential applicants to have their UCAS identification, if they have one, to hand, along with full details of qualifications, including subjects, grades, dates they were obtained and exam boards. They should also note down any questions they might want to ask the hotline operator.
Her key advice for callers is to keep calm and focus on getting the best outcome possible. "Anyone finding they haven't quite got the grades they were expecting, shouldn't panic. There are always options available – it's just a case of each caller being open to working through what's on offer and considering what's best for them," she said.
She also emphasised that a phone conversation with an admissions tutor was an opportunity to make a real impression. "Once applicants are put through to one of the University's admissions tutors, they should treat the conversation like a job interview and show them their potential. They should be prepared to talk about the qualifications and grades they've received, why they're interested in the particular course and discuss any relevant work experience they've done," she advised.
"Clearing is also a great opportunity to learn more about your prospective new course and university, so come armed with questions. It shows enthusiasm for the course and that applicants are passionate about taking the next step in their education," she added.
Students who succeeded in securing a place at Kingston, would be joining the university at a particularly exciting time, Ms Beckett said. The University is rolling out its sector leading Future Skills programme across all courses in all subject areas from September, ensuring students will be supported to develop the knowledge, experience and innovative thinking to thrive in their careers. The programme is divided into three stages – getting under way with Navigate modules in the first year, before moving on to Explore in the second and Apply in the third – so students will have plenty of opportunity to grow and develop their skills throughout the course of their degrees.