Northumbria University Clearing Hotline helps A Level students

Northumbria University Clearing Hotline helps A Level students in the North East

As students across the North East picked up their A Level results today (Thursday 16 August), a team of more than 300 experts at Northumbria University, Newcastle, are guiding those looking to secure a university place through the Clearing process.

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 66% of students in the North East were worried that they wouldn’t get the grades they need to get their university place. The 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.

32% of students surveyed didn’t fully understand the Clearing process and the vital role it can play, while 80% 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.”

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.”

Leah Steabler, 22, from Sunderland had been working as a self-employed beauty therapist for several years after completing her NVQ Level 2 and 3, the equivalent of GCSE and A Level qualifications. However, after deciding to retrain to become a social worker she applied to Northumbria University through Clearing and has now completed her second year of the BSc (Hons) Social Work programme.

Leah said: “I originally trained as a beauty therapist and was working full-time for myself. I really enjoyed my job, and I loved working with people, but gradually I decided I wanted to do something different. I really wanted to do a job where I was supporting others, so social work seemed the perfect career choice.

“I started researching North East universities to see which ones offered social work and I really liked the sound of Northumbria’s degree course. Since I was still working full-time I waited until I got my results before contacting them to see if there were any places available through Clearing.

“Everything happened really quickly and the person I spoke to was incredibly helpful. I had to send a covering letter with a copy of my grades, then I was invited for an interview a week later and was offered a place on the course. Two weeks later I actually started university and it’s the best thing I have ever done.

“I absolutely love my course. I’ve had some fantastic support and guidance over my first two years and I’m now looking forward to my final year.”

Northumbria University, Newcastle, has a limited number of places available for high quality students through Clearing this summer. The University offers a range of helpful hints and tips, available for students, parents and teachers, on its website and apps, including coping with stress in the days leading up to and on results day, advice for what to do before ringing your chosen university following your results and information about accommodation, student finance and health and wellbeing.

Video content is available to download:

For more information, visit: or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085 to speak to us about your application needs. You can also download the NU Clearing Guide Mobile App from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.


Top tips to remember when it comes to Clearing

1. Check UCAS and university web pages to see what courses are available through Clearing and Adjustment. At Northumbria we’ll be updating our website with live information throughout the day at
2. Have your UCAS personal ID number to hand, plus all of your qualifications to give the university all of the information they will need. If you know the name of the course you’re interested in, have the title and UCAS code to hand too.
3. Consider all your options. Choosing the right university is a big decision and it’s important to think carefully before you commit. Don’t feel pressured to go for any option – it’s your choice.
4. Always speak to the university yourself. They will have questions for you, and vice versa, and you’ll also be able to speak with subject tutors who will want to talk to you, not a parent.
5. Make a note of your work and life experiences. These could prove very useful when you’re talking to the university if you can demonstrate additional skills that others may not have.
6. You may be asked to come in for an interview or to share your portfolio of work. If so, you’ll need to note down the date, time and location of your interview, as well as who you’ll be meeting, or any instructions you are given about sending us your portfolio.

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