May 28 2019

Our Admissions team are currently preparing for a busy Clearing period in August. We recently caught up with the team to discover more about the Clearing process, as well as learning more about how colleagues from across the College can help in our Clearing call centre.

1.      In August, some prospective university students may have to go through Clearing to secure a university place. What is Clearing?

Clearing is a UCAS process that enables those who haven’t yet found a university place for this September to receive offers and then decide which, if any, of those offers they want to accept.

2.      We understand that our Admissions team operate a Clearing Decision Making call centre throughout Clearing. Could you tell us about it?

Throughout the Clearing period there is an increase in the volume of calls we receive. To help control the increased quantity, we operate two Clearing call centres. The first centre is a front line call centre that is operated by our Admissions team. The team help to filter calls so that any prospective students put through to the Decision Making call centre would likely meet the entry requirements.

The Decision Making call centre is our other Clearing line where callers are checked to ensure that the entry requirements are met, and a verbal offer can then be made over the phone.

3.      Are colleagues able to assist within the call centre during Clearing, and what would their role be?

We would greatly appreciate any help that colleagues can offer and would like to thank those who have already signed up. However, we are still looking for more volunteers, in particular on Thursday 15 August, as this is set to be the busiest day of the Clearing period.

Shift times:

15 August: 7.30am-6pm (shifts: 7.15am-12.45pm or 12.30-7pm)

16 August: 8.30am-4pm (shifts: 8.15am-12.30pm or 12.15-5pm)

If some volunteers are unable to start before 9am or work past 5pm, this is not an issue as we won’t need all the phones to be covered at the start or end of the day.

Volunteers would only assist in the Decision Making call centre and their roles would entail:

-          Complete an online form with details of each caller

-          To check on a database that the programme the caller wants to study has vacancies

-          To check that the caller meets the entry requirements for that programme

-          To make a verbal offer over the phone (or in rare cases to say that we can’t make an offer)

Please note:

  • A front line call centre will be filtering the calls that get put through to the Decision Making call centre so that the majority of callers will meet the entry requirements
  • The majority of callers will have A-level qualifications
  • International students will be dealt with by Admissions staff and not by staff in the Decision Making call centre
  • A script is provided of everything that needs to be said to be caller
  • Full training is provided. A choice of training dates will be available: Thursday 8 August or Friday 9 August or Monday 12 August. Times and venue will be available nearer the time.
  • Admissions staff will be on hand in the room to help with any queries
  • Food and drink is provided throughout the day, starting with breakfast for the early shift!

4.      How can colleagues who wish to help sign up?

Any colleagues who wish to sign up are asked to email Catherine Cole, Admissions Manager (Undergraduate) and to write the day and times that they are able to help out.

5.      Have you received any feedback from former applicants who went through the Clearing process to discover their experiences of our Clearing Decision Making call centre?

We have heard from numerous applicants and their thoughts on our Clearing process. We have received some lovely feedback and it can be a fun and rewarding experience for colleagues working on our calling lines.

The call was amazing! The voice on the other end would laugh at my jokes and which reassured me that everything was good. I recall my sister telling my mum it was odd because I spoke to the caller as if we were long friends.

The gentleman I spoke to, Clement, was extremely helpful. He approached the situation very calmly, understanding the predicament and my anxiety. He reassured me and offered a lot of help.

Staff at Royal Holloway were very easy to talk to, felt like a small breath of fresh air in the confusion of how on earth Clearing even works.