A clearing ‘bunker’ at the University of Northampton fielded more than 2,500 calls yesterday as prospective students jostled for places following A-level results day.
Over the next few days the IT suite at the Park Campus, on Boughton Green Road, will be manned by more than 60 staff as the university seeks to fill spaces on a range of courses.
So far around 450 of those that have called have been offered a spot - with vocational subjects filling up fast.
Head of admissions Antony Bounds, said: “We have had some really good candidates coming through and we’ve had some really popular courses, particularly vocational ones like nursing and midwifery in particular.”
Figures suggest the majority of sixth-formers attained their first choice further education places this year, even though national A-level pass rates were down by a fraction for the first time in 32 years.
Over the next few days thousands who did not get the sufficient grades to be allowed on their chosen course are expected to call universities directly in the hope of getting a place - either on the course they applied for or one at another university.
But Mr Bounds said the bunker is fielding a wider range of calls this year.
He said: “We are getting groups of students who did not go through the university application process in the first place who are going straight into clearing.
“These are people that maybe thought they would defer a year or take a gap year, who have simply changed their mind and want to see what’s out there.
“We are also having a lot more mature students calling this year - it’s been a really interesting mix.”
Mr Bounds also gave some advice to those going through clearing, which can offer a chance to speak to a course tutor or academic on a one-to-one basis.
He said: “Most of the tutors want people who are enthusiastic for the course and the students should be very clear about what their skills are.”
Former student Kilian McIntosh applied to the University of Northampton through clearing in 2011 to study for a two-year HND in theatre practice.
He then topped up his qualification by joining the final year of the BA (Hons) in Drama and graduated this summer with a 2:1.
He said: “I was a bit nervous of going through clearing, because essentially you’re taking a risk and playing a chance game and you don’t know where you will end up.
“When I called the University of Northampton, I found the process very straightforward as they talked me through the list of questions that were posted on the UCAS website, so I was well prepared, which made it easier for me.”
The clearing bunker is open until 1pm on Sunday and can be called on 01604 214808. For a full list of the courses still available head to www.northampton.ac.uk/clearing.
The university will be considering new admissions through until the start of term.