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Northumbria University's Clearing Hotline helps A Level students

Press Release   •   Aug 16, 2018 16:06 BST

Staff answering calls from potential students on Northumbria's Clearing Hotline today

The team of trained individuals are on hand to reassure, answer questions and help students through the Clearing, Adjustment and Confirmation process.

Within hours of phone lines opening at 7am this morning, the University had already seen huge demand for its courses with thousands of calls from prospective students.

With a limited number of places available through Clearing, the team is encouraging students who either didn’t get the grades they were hoping for, or who have done better than expected, to get in touch to discuss the options open to them.

Last year, the University’s Clearing hotline received almost 5,000 calls on A level results day, almost half of them within the first three hours. This year the university is expecting a similar number of calls and will have 117 hotlines open in its Clearing hub, staffed by academics and staff and student volunteers.

The team is offering support to students, as recent survey findings showed that two thirds nationally (66%) were worried that they wouldn’t get the grades they need to get their university place. 

The independent survey, commissioned by Northumbria University, also found that there was a lack of awareness around the options available to students when they receive their results.

40% of students surveyed didn’t fully understand the Clearing process and the vital role it can play, while 79% admitted they didn’t fully understand the role of Adjustment – the process by which students can change course or university if they get better results than predicated.

Stephen Welsh, undergraduate marketing manager at Northumbria University, said: “It’s natural for students to feel nervous on A Level results day, but we’re reminding them that whatever happens, they have options available.

“Clearing is a popular way for students to secure their place on an excellent course and match them to a university that suits their needs, however we’re finding there’s still a lack of understanding about how the process works.

“We have a big team on the ground here in our Clearing Hub, manning the phones and talking to thousands of students about the options open to them through Clearing and Adjustment. Adjustment is a growing trend whereby high achieving students, who might have done better than expected, can now secure a place at an alternative university or course during the Clearing process.

“Demand for our courses is high and we’re receiving a large number of calls with students keen to secure their place through Clearing or Adjustment. We welcome any students who would like to talk to us to give our Clearing hotline a call and one of the team will be able to chat to them about the options available to them, based on their individual situation.”

NU Clearing 2018 from Northumbria University on Vimeo.

Dr Mark Moss, Head of Psychology at Northumbria University, has some reassuring words for students picking up their A Level results today. He said: “Staying positive by not catastrophising is important. Many young people go through the process, but if you do find yourself in an unexpected situation, it’s a good idea to keep an open mind, be proactive and consider all your options. Try not to get stressed and overwhelmed – remember not to think worst case scenario.

“If you don’t get the grades you’d hoped for, it’s really not the end of the process – think of it as an opportunity to reassess things, think creatively about your options and perhaps move in a new and exciting direction. You may get into your course anyway, but if not, many students gain a place at university through Clearing and lots of them end up feeling like it’s the best thing that could have happened. It’s a good idea to look carefully and with a clear head at what other options are out there.

“The best way to experience the university you are considering is to visit it, meet staff and students and view the facilities and accommodation. At Northumbria, we offer students the chance to come along to our campus tours and open house events running today, tomorrow and Saturday, to get a feel for the university and city as a whole.”

Northumbria has a global reputation for academic excellence and places a strong emphasis on overall student experience. It is ranked 48th in the Guardian University League Table – its highest ever position.

Alastair Reekie, Head of Accommodation at Northumbria University, said: “We know that choosing where to live while studying is a big decision and it’s always best to explore all your options. That’s why at Northumbria we make it as easy as possible for students and support them throughout the process. At Northumbria we guarantee safe and affordable accommodation within walking distance of the campus for all our first year students, including those who join us through Clearing. Once a student accepts a Clearing offer from us through UCAS you can book accommodation within 24 hours, and often even quicker.”

Student Deri Ford, 19, from Ulverston, Cumbria, lost out on her firm choice of university after discovering her initial grades weren’t as she’d expected. Luckily she had prepared a ‘Plan B’ and secured a place at Northumbria University to study a BA in Psychology at Northumbria last year.

Deri said: “Applying through Clearing was so straightforward and I had confirmation of my place by lunchtime on results day. The staff on the helpline made it feel like a really simple process. I was so relieved that I could sort out my future in just a morning. The Clearing team who looked after my application took the stress right out of everything.

“When I got confirmation that I had a place at university through Clearing, it was such a relief. I’d already done my research so knew the University offered an excellent programme in Psychology, plus I’d visited a few times and just loved the city.”

21-year-old Alexia Savar, from Leeds, had originally applied to another university to study Law. However, while taking part in a summer school in Newcastle while awaiting her A level results she changed her mind having found out about an Integrated Masters course at Northumbria University. The MLaw (Exempting) course covers both the theory of law as well as the professional skills needed to succeed as a solicitor, meeting the requirements of a Qualifying Law Degree.

Alexia said: “I had researched the course in advance and knew it would be perfect for me so as soon as the Clearing hotline opened on results day I called the University to see if I could get a place. I was able to talk to the course leader which allowed me to ask questions and reassured me I was definitely making the right choice. I already had the points required for the MLaw course so was offered a place while on the phone. Once I got in touch with the University the whole process of changing my course was relatively quick and straightforward.

“Changing my mind quite late in the application process was a bit scary and it did mean I had to be released from my original course through UCAS before I could accept my new course at Northumbria. But I’m really glad I did as I’m really enjoying the course and I know I made the right decision.”

When asked what advice she would give to other students considering applying to university through the Clearing process, Alexia said: “Make sure you research the course you’re interested in beforehand if possible and have a list of any questions at the ready when you call in. Other than that just try and stay calm as the people on the other end of the phone will do everything they can to help you.”

Northumbria University, Newcastle, has a limited number of places available for high quality students through Clearing. For more information, visit: www.northumbria.ac.uk/clearing or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go to www.northumbria.ac.uk

If you have a media enquiry please contact our Media and Communications team at media.communications@northumbria.ac.uk or call 0191 227 4604.

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