Posted Thursday 16 August 2012
The phones have been ringing off the hook at Kingston University's Clearing hotline headquarters as potential students race to snap up the remaining places on degree courses starting this September. Demand has been high despite recent changes to university fees, with prospective students proving they are still keen to land a place in the lecture theatre.
By 6pm on A-level results day, there had been more than 56,500 attempts to call Kingston's Clearing hotline. A team of 55 student volunteers has been hard at work since lines opened, offering specialist advice to help pair potential recruits with course vacancies.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg said the University had been buoyed by the strong interest in courses ranging from business and management to science, engineering and computing. "We traditionally handle a very high volume of calls during the first few hours of results day as students discover whether they've got the points needed to take up their first choice places," he said. "It was hard for all universities to estimate what affect the higher fees regime would have on demand this year, but it seems just as many people as ever are determined to secure a place. The University remains confident it will recruit high-calibre students with a genuine passion to make the most of the opportunities we offer."
Kingston Clearing hotline operators have been busy transferring callers who meet the University's entry requirements to academic staff to see if they can be matched with unfilled places. English and dance student Rachel Miller is one of those helping guide potential students through the process. "Although I didn't come to Kingston through Clearing myself, I know how difficult it is to make important decisions like this when your heart says one thing and your head another," the 22 year old explained. "It can be stressful and callers may be upset about just missing out on the A-level grades they expected. One of the most important things a hotline operator can do is make people feel comfortable and let them know we're there for them."
Rachel advised students coming through Clearing to thoroughly research courses before they made their calls. "It's vital to know the differences between similar subject areas and to be armed with reasons why you want to go to a particular university," she said. She urged potential students to check Kingston University's website before calling to make sure they met the entry requirements for courses that interested them.
Fellow operator Abu Hassan called Kingston's Clearing hotline a couple of years ago and is now just about to enter the third year of his biomedical sciences degree. "I know from personal experience what it feels like to be at the end of the phone with no university place - it's scary," he said. "Kingston's Clearing hotline staff were so understanding when I called. They put me at ease and were very reassuring. This year I really wanted to help other students in a similar position." The 20 year old, from Aldgate in East London, said he felt it was particularly important that young people with potential had the chance to go on to higher education and achieve their ambitions.