This week those of you living in the UK will hardly be able to escape the news coverage of A level results. This has a large impact on universities as well and many of my weekly tasks will revolve around getting new students into our classrooms for next year. So how does it all work?
No more research!
For most of August university lecturers don’t have to be in their departments very often. But clearing week (usually the third week in August) is an exception and unless you are very lucky and everything is done at your university by the central admin team, or your department is so popular that it has no more places left, chances are you’ll be abandoning your research and heading off to university to help out.
Admissions tutor role
I am going to be the new admissions tutor from next academic year, so this means I have a slightly larger role than most lecturers. Admissions tutors are in charge of deciding who to admit on to their degree courses. This sounds like a huge task but much of it is done in liaison with administrative staff. So first job this week is to go through all the offers we have made to students previously and see how many have made the grade.
Then depending on how many of those we take on, there will be a certain number of places available for others through the clearing system. So the rest of the week from Thursday onwards will involve answering phone calls from alarmed sixth formers who have found out that their A level grades are not as good as they hoped. Many will practically beg to come to your university, others will be more nonchalant, simply shopping around to find the best available course.
Some lecturers find this part of the job tedious, coming as it does during the height of the research period. However, it’s something I really enjoy doing, helping potential students onto a course for next year. And if media reports are accurate, this year is going to be a busy one with more students around than there are places. Helping out at clearing does remind you that behind all the statistics and debate about falling standards, there are real people who have been sitting real exams and they deserve to have a chance to take a university degree.