A dedicated call centre and up-to-the-minute social media bulletins will ease students through the transition into life at Plymouth University.
The University is gearing up for one of the busiest periods of the year, as students receiving A-level results look to confirm their progress into higher education.
This year, it is expanding the range of services it offers, with a new interactive digital hub, which will provide the latest information through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
That will complement the Actionline, staffed by existing students and employees at the University, which will allow people to obtain instant answers to queries about their application.
Cassandra Hickling, Student Recruitment Manager at Plymouth University, said: “Confirmation and Clearing can be a nerve-wracking time for students and their families, as they look to firm up their plans to come to Plymouth University. By being proactive and opening up more channels for communication, particularly through social media, we hope to allow students the comfort of posing questions and accessing information in a much more familiar environment.”
The digital hub will be operated by current students, who will provide top tips on progressing through the confirmation and Clearing process and starting university.
It will also carry up-to-date information on course closures, vacancies and points and warn of any problems in the UCAS environment.
The Actionline will be staffed from 8am on Thursday 16 August, the day A-level results are published, by a team of 40 fully trained call handlers. They will include students who themselves have been through the Clearing process in the past.
There will also be a specific schools and college hotline, which will deal directly with teachers who can then pass the latest information to their own students.
Cassandra Hickling said: “With unprecedented competition for university places, and an economic climate where skills and qualifications have never been so important, it is vital that young people have access to higher education. We consider it our duty to do everything possible to make this happen and ensure young people have the opportunity to go to university this autumn.”
Preparations are also underway for a special Open Day on Wednesday 22 August, to provide an opportunity for anyone wishing to join Plymouth University in September to have a last look and get a feel for the campus and culture.
“As one of the top 10 modern UK universities in the world, and a top 40 University ranked on student satisfaction, we want to continue to provide an excellent student experience from the start,” Cassandra Hickling said. “We hope that taking the information to the student through a friendlier environment will help to do this and make the transition into university life for thousands of new undergraduates much easier.”
The University’s Actionline number is 01752 585858, and it will open at 8am on Thursday 16 August, finally closing at 4pm on Friday 24 August. The social media updates have already begun but will increase in frequency shortly before students receive their results on Thursday 16 August.
Kerry Hayes, 21, achieved her place at Plymouth University through the Clearing process in 2009 and will this year be one of those manning the Actionline to help other potential students follow suit.
She said: “When my results came through, I had narrowly missed out on my predicted points. I needed good advice straight away and that was what I got from the Clearing call centre. By the end of that first day, I had been accepted onto the Ocean Science course at Plymouth and I have never looked back. I graduate this summer and will be going on to study for my Masters next year.
“If you don’t get the grades you need, it can be pretty traumatic at first but you do have options and it doesn’t have to mean the end of your ambitions. I like the fact that I can now use my experience to help others who are in the same situation as I was three years ago.”