University launches non-stop Clearing service

Clearing 2016 hotline

A year on from a groundbreaking initiative that saw students receive course offers via social media for the first time, Birmingham City University will be extending its Clearing activities in 2016 by enabling learners to apply around the clock. 

The University’s Clearing telephone hotline and social media service will open at 7am on Thursday 18 August, with both functions available continuously until 8pm the following day. 

As a result, staff on just the central hotline will be offering 865 hours of assistance collectively during the first day and a half, including over 141 hours dedicated on social media. 

The Clearing process allows students to apply for university places after they receive their A-level results and the desire for spaces can lead to busy phone lines for new applicants. 

Birmingham City University’s hotline can receive in the region of 5,000 calls in one day alone, so by offering a 37-hour Clearing service, there will be less pressure for students to beat the telephone rush and they can apply wherever they are – either by phone or social media. 

“Our integrated approach utilising telephone and social media means that we are able to offer places quicker to prospective students, while still giving individuals the care and attention needed to help them make sure they select the course that is right for them. 

“This year, by extending our offer, we hope to be able to guide even more students through the Clearing process, be it day or night and wherever they may be.” 

The decision to make offers on Twitter and Facebook last year was made after University staff noted an increase in the number of 16 to 24 year-olds choosing to interact via social media rather than through traditional communication forms like the telephone. 

During the Clearing process in 2015, the University received 151 social media enquiries from potential applicants, and more than 1,000 interactions. 

A total of 61 students were offered places online as part of the award-winning service.

One of those to gain a place at Birmingham City University via social media was Sam Kennedy, who has just completed his first year studying Marketing, Advertising and PR. He said:

“I applied through Clearing as my results were worse than I expected. I was very stressed on results day, and social media was the perfect solution to calm me down. Finding the University’s message, I got in touch and felt very relaxed. The staff member was welcoming and reassured me that my results were good, even though they weren't as good as I had hoped.

“I remember how overcome with relief I was. I was so worried about having to take a gap year, or find work, and it came down to something as simple as a brief chat with a University staff member on Facebook. I'm so thankful that my University has a service like this.”

Prospective students seeking a place on a course through social media are asked to private message the University via Facebook;Twitter with their name and contact details, UCAS points (including subjects and grades) and the exact name of the course they're interested in.

The Clearing telephone hotline is available via 0121 331 6777.

Popular courses with additional places made available include Business, Criminology, Engineering, English and Jewellery.

Following the first 37 hours, the University Clearing offer will continue throughout the day on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August.

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