Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Risky time

It is over two weeks since A Level Day and with the main part of Clearing past we are now looking on to the start of term. On-line registration is the next step for all the students starting at Greenwich University this September. Each person will receive a username and password via email that will allow you to log on to the university portal and register.  If you have any problems the university has a student helpline who are here to help.
If you are still looking for a place make sure you have your personal ID number and clearing reference number and do not refer yourself on UCAS until an offer has been made to you. It is risky at this stage to give up a certain place to go through Clearing so think more than twice if you fancy a change. Time is of the essence.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Just an update!

Congratulations to all if you have secured your place for University this year especially through Clearing!
This Clearing has been eventful to say the least... Our schools are filling up their places for recruitment this year. I must admit and say that it is a very different Clearing as opposed to the previous year. I have had to deal with a lot of disappointed callers this year because their exam results did not play the part. I have tried my best to ensure alternative arrangements were made e.g. foundation degrees etc.
Please wait for offer emails to be sent out before you select institutions and courses on UCAS track. The offer email will have clear instructions on what you need to do. I have experienced high volumes of queries regarding this issue. It delays the process even more... If you are unsure call us!!!
If we are your firm choice and we are yet to make a decision on your place please bare with us. If you have not met your point requirements then it might be the case whereby you are going to be offered an alternative course. However, I must stress that this is not guaranteed.
Hope this helps!!!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Not long to go

We are still taking applications for programmes that are still open even though the main Clearing cycle has ended so do not hesitate to give our hotline a call for a programme that you are still interested in. Below is a link of programmes that we still available however please be aware that these vacancies are subject to change.
For those of you who have been successful with a place, congratulations!  Here are just a few reminders of what you should be thinking about over the next few weeks.
1.       Halls of residence
If you are considering living on campus and have not applied for accommodation then you should do so as soon as possible to secure a place. If you have not been able to apply then visit the accommodation gateway link below and complete the application form there to begin the process. You will also need your banner ID number to apply for accommodation. This is a nine digit number beginning with triple zero (000).
2.       Registration Part 1
There are two parts to registering as a student. For part one of registration you will need your username and password to gain access into the University of Greenwich portal. These details should have been sent to you via the email account you provided to us when you initially applied. If you have yet to receive these details, do not panic, you can check your spam or junk mail to see if the email was accidentally sent there. If you are still having trouble accessing these details contact the clearing hotline and we will be able to check if you are eligible to register at this point in time.
3.       Registration Part 2
For details of the second part of registration, you can give the hotline a call if you haven´t received the information in the post, to find out the specific date, time and location i.e. campus or partner college for your programme. Visit the link below to for further information on registration and the documents you need to bring along with you.
Best wishes J

Thursday, 25 August 2011

“Here to Help...”

Here at the Reception Desk in the Queen Mary Building on the Greenwich Campus we are dealing with a plethora of diverse enquiries encompassing all facets of applying to University, questions concerning “what happens next” and “when do we register”, how changing a course during Clearing affects Student Finance applications, how the process of adjustment works with UCAS and information regarding work placements at University to name but a few. We are here to help you, to assist you in registering and making applications through UCAS, to liaise with academic staff in relation to your application, to answer any questions you may have, allay any fears that may concern you. Come and talk to us at Reception if you wish to discuss anything pertaining to the University of Greenwich and its environs.
As the title says, we’re here to help...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Clearing@Greenwich

So, results day has been and gone. It’s hard to believe that it’s already a week! We have been working so hard here that time has just flown by.

The telephone team are still busy taking your calls, answering all your queries and taking applications where they can. If you don’t get through first time, please keep trying as we are still extremely busy.

If you’re looking to find out if a course still has any places available, check out our Clearing pages for a list of vacancies:  http://www.gre.ac.uk/courses/clearing/vacancies

You can also email us your Clearing related queries through clearing@gre.ac.uk, but please remember that we cannot take an application via email – you’ll still need to talk to one of our telephone operators on 020 8331 9000 (or +44 (0) 20 8331 8590 if you’re outside the UK).

Good luck with your Clearing applications!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Registration and Induction

The Clearing period is slowly but surely winding down now with the majority of courses declaring that they are completely full thanks to all the students that have called in during the past few weeks. Throughout Clearing I’ve have a number of phone calls from students who were tearing their hair out calling up universities trying to get a place for this year..... and let me tell you there’s nothing lovelier than being able to give somebody a place over the phone that genuinely thought they wouldn’t be attending any university for this academic year.
Despite the fact that the courses now available through Clearing is limited, it’s not the be all and end all, there are still plenty of options for you, for example you could continue your studies ensuring that you will definitely gain a place for next year by adding more to your qualifications. We also have a number of foundation degrees and HND/HNC’s available at our partner colleges that not many students are aware of which actually count towards an honours degree. By completing a foundation degree or HND          you are eligible to go onto the third year of the actual honours degree. Another great idea to fill up the year if you didn’t gain a place would be to build up your CV by gaining experience either by volunteering or by embarking on work experience within the field you wish to study. Another option would be spending the year working so as to save money for when you become a student (as we’ve all heard how tough it is moneywise when studying) .
If you have been successful in obtaining a Clearing place for this year...congratulations it has been the toughest year so far. Now the hard parts over all you need to think about now is the year to come, the best way to start off is by attending your induction week, not only for registration purposes it is a valued chance to meet and greet the academics who will be teaching you over the next coming years, it is also an excellent opportunity to get to know your peers. Another key date to set  aside is the fresher’s  fayre, its aim to get you involved in as many university schemes and organisations as possible to make you get the most out of your time here, ranging from cheerleading to rowing, covering a range of societies ready to welcome new members (it’s also a pretty good place to get hold of free goods that are believed to be “essentials” for the student).    
Before this though make sure you’ve got all your registration necessities at the ready so the registration process is as smooth as possible for you!!!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Greetings from the Reception Desk!

Wow – what a busy couple of days! The Clearing team has been working extremely hard to help process your applications and answer any of your queries.  I have heard that many applicants phoning through to the Clearing Hotline have received a busy or engaged signal....Keep trying as we have telephone operators that would be more than happy to answer your call. The phone lines are not as busy as they were on A-Level results day so call 020 8331 9000 if you have a problem J
I am currently working at the Clearing reception desk in the Queen Mary building on Greenwich Maritime Campus.  Some of our main jobs are to help process applications, receive transcripts, check students’ statuses and answer any other queries! My team and I are here to help, so we welcome any questions and we will do our outmost to assist you. Time is indeed of the essence as many courses are filling up- so get calling! Also a reminder is that during Clearing you are able to make as many applications to different universities as you like, so feel free to put out your feelers and see if there are any other universities that have availability for your course (bearing in mind that you can only hold one offer at a time!).
I wish you all the best of luck for the rest of Clearing. I hope you all gain access to the course of your choice. If this is not the case...remain calm as you are always able to apply for 2012!
Good luck J

Friday, 19 August 2011

Keep the calls coming in!

Thursday the 18th of August is without a doubt the busiest day for the Enquiry Unit team and all I can is YAY!!! We survived. The hectic rush of A-Level results day is over and everything in the office is returning to normal (well almost normal) as the calls have began to die down, the callers are less agitated and the new staff are less nervous. In three days we took 8741 calls between 48 members of telephone staff, WOW! I personally think we did an amazing job considering the nature of the calls and how important they were to each applicant we worked well.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A Level Day

So the A level results have arrived and the phones have been extremely busy. A few things to remember during Clearing are that you must be in Clearing and holding no offers with any university.
If we do take a Clearing application for you remember we will email you a decision. Keep checking your inbox and your junk box as some emails do end up in the junk box. These emails can take a couple of days to reach you but we are working to do them as soon as possible.
If you have a conditional offer and need to send in your results they need to be sent to:

examresultsftug@gre.ac.uk (for full time undergraduate)
Examresultspgpt@gre.ac.uk (for part time and post graduate)
Also if you want to be released into Clearing please email releases@gre.ac.uk and we can release you from your offer.    

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Big Day Tomorrow!

It’s the big day tomorrow and the countdown is finally almost over!  Thousands of students will be waking up in the early hours of tomorrow morning to collect their results after their two years of working hard at college. Whether the students achieve the grades that they were expecting or not, University of Greenwich will be at hand to help all enquirers.

We are now preparing for a large number of calls and we have a new team of trained staff who have now joined our Enquiry Unit and they will aid us during this busy period. The University of Greenwich Enquiry Unit will be open from 8 o’clock in the morning until 8 o’clock in the evening for the 18th and 19th! This will mean there will be staff available throughout the stressfull time to help.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call as it could change and shape the rest of your life. It changed my life years ago when I applied through Clearing and I am sure that it will do the same for many others too.

If you would like to speak with someone on a face to face basis, we also have an Enquiry Unit reception at our Greenwich Maritime Campus where Dan and his team are ready to help. Good luck to everyone who will be collecting their results tomorrow. I wish you all the very best of luck.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Big Day Is Upon Us

The members of the Enquiry Team have good reason to keep the adrenaline flowing, it’s just one day to A level results!!!!

I know many people are anxious about whether or not they will meet their conditional offers, but for others the results will directly determine if they get into University this year. It is likely most of the places will be snatched up soon and you better get your dialling fingers out so you can call us to take your application as soon as you’ve got confirmation. This year’s Clearing will be very competitive as Greenwich University has seen an overall 20% increase in applications and countless will be left disappointed if they are not prepared. The popular Business, Teaching and Health courses are the ones to watch as many people are interested in these more ‘traditional’ programmes.

Here at Greenwich, we recognise the need to support our prospective students and we have a number of dedicated staff in the Queen Mary building on the Greenwich campus present to assist with transcripts and queries. The Clearing reception team, of which I am a part, eagerly wait to serve you, just ask for Dan, Tony, Blaze or Monique. Every day we assist students with UCAS registration, application progress, fee information and a host of other things. As an extension of the Enquiry Unit we are also able to take Clearing applications from you in person as long as you have a UCAS profile with all your level 2 and 3 qualifications.

We also welcome our new extended family of the Clearing team who are being prepared to handle all the calls and queries so we don’t miss a beat. We know there will be many calls so we have  more staff on hand to ensure you won’t need to call a hundred times to speak to someone.

In case you think we aren’t helping you enough, do let us know so we can serve you better. We have a feedback box in the Queen Mary building so do stop by to use it or drop us an email so we can address your concerns.

I got a feeling, that this Clearing will be a great one for us all!

Monday, 15 August 2011

18th is round the corner...

Clearing is getting busier, the callers have more of urgency, and my life is getting hectic. University of Greenwich applications have risen 20%, so many courses are already full or going on the waiting list, but the number of calls won’t be different on the 18th when A-level and BTEC results come out! In fact, we anticipate even more phone calls, therefore the new additions to the Enquiry Unit will arrive next week, and I am anticipating many nerves. I remember trying to digest so much information in time to confront the nonstop phone calls. Today, I will be doing a presentation to them about my experiences as a Clearing applicant – I would not be at Greenwich if I didn’t go through Clearing! I remember exactly how it felt. Panic. Prayers.
The 18th is round the corner, and I need to save as much oxygen as possible – and patience, and professionalism, people really do get stressed during Clearing. This is very understandable as I was the same.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Clearings First Hurdle!

So we reach the end of another week in early Clearing and it marks a big step for us as we go into next week and up to the A Level results day! As you can see from the other blogs you now should be ready to take on Clearing armed with all the tips, hints and information we can give. Unfortunately, despite all our hard work, we have a hit a big obstacle. Since this Wednesday UCAS has been having a few problems and in order to get it fixed for A-level results day its service has been reduced. This means that you can call up for an assessment of your qualifications but we can’t take an application for you until 15th August. It also must be noted that while we can assess your qualifications we can’t guarantee you a place then and there so you still need to call up on the 15th to make your application.
Also if you were one of the lucky people to get an offer on Wednesday onwards, as UCAS is down, you will be able to refer yourselves on UCAS Track until the 18th August midnight.
On another note we in the Enquiry Unit have been working hard in preparation for our new team members. As Clearing is such a large task we have recruited in a few extra people to cope with all the calls we get on 18th August.
For all those that have been given an offer here are a few websites you might find useful.
For those that have not yet heard, we have a dedicated team of bloggers which provide a unique insight into student lives, this is available at: http://gre.ukmsl.net/aboutus/studentblogs/
If you are still looking at accommodation remember the deadline will be 19th August at 5pm and afterwards you will be put on a waiting list for accommodation but no matter what, our accommodation office will always be there to help. If you don’t have the time to see the accommodation you could also have a look via our virtual tour at: http://accommodationgateway.gre.ac.uk/apply/
Or come to our Open Day on 20th August at Greenwich, Avery Hill and Medway!
We obviously have our main website at: http://www.gre.ac.uk/  
But we also have our Student Union websites (we have two Student Unions) which are also worth checking out to find out about the amazing Freshers week we will be having. This year our Freshers fair will be on 20th September at Avery Hill and 22nd September at Greenwich and finally Medway will have a fair for sports on 21st September and a fair for societies on 22nd September. This is the main opportunity to sign up to societies (and also sports but their joining fees vary) and most societies will charge an annual fee of £2 or £5 to join and it’s a great chance to make new friends. So put these dates in your calendar!

The SUUG (Student Union of University of Greenwich) is there for students at Avery Hill and Greenwich and there website is: http://www.suug.co.uk/
The UMSA (Universities at Medway Students’ Association) is there for students at the Medway campus and there website is: http://www.umsa.org.uk/

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Options

The Clearing period is going so fast, it just seems like the other day we started Clearing. Now there is more or less a week left until A-level results come out. Most students are usually pleased when they receive their offer but there will some students who do not meet their conditions and will be left frustrated or disappointed.

Those who are left disappointed should know there are alternative programmes available. These programmes usually have lower entry requirements but it would depend on the course and the university.

Foundation Degrees
Most universities offer Foundation Degrees which once completed can be topped up to an Honours Degree by completing the final year of a related degree. It is equivalent to the first two years of the degree course.

Higher National Diplomas (HND)
Like the Foundation Degrees, Higher National Diplomas are equivalent to the first two years of a degree course and can be topped up to an Honours Degree once the final year is completed. Unlike the Foundation Degrees, HNDs are mainly lecture based courses, whereas the Foundation degree could require for the applicant to be in a placement.

Extended Degrees
In addition there are extended degrees for certain subjects and again, available to students who do not meet the criteria. The extended degrees start from Year Zero and once you have completed the Year Zero you can commence on the degree course.

So fear not readers there are alternative options available and Good Luck for next week!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Using your smartphones...

So guys, we are now just one short week away from A-Level result day. The tension is starting to rise and you will no doubt be starting to panic. I know I was back when I first applied to university.
First of all, a quick recap. When calling us to apply for a place through clearing, please have your UCAS (or GTTR) Personal ID number (and if you have it, your Clearing Reference Number) to hand.
Make sure you are in a place of shelter so that we can clearly hear what you are saying and vice-versa. You may need to write down a phone number or email address so it would also be a very a good idea to have a pen and paper to hand. Calling us from the kebab shop or McDonalds while you order lunch is not ideal.  If you can, call us from a landline as this will avoid reception issues. Our phone number is 0208 331 9000.
At this stage for those of you who are eligible to make a clearing application, we will ask you to send us an email containing a scan of your certificates. For those that do not have access to a scanner, I have a simple fix, using modern technology. Simply use a Smartphone (like a Blackberry or iPhone) to take a picture of your certificates and you can email that image. As long as it is legible we will accept it. If you don’t have an iPhone then I am sure finding a friend who does may be a lot easier than finding a scanner (although most libraries and internet cafes will be able to help you out there).  Email these to transcripts@gre.ac.uk and PLEASE PLEASE do NOT forget the‘s’ on the end.
That’s all from me for now...
In closing, just a reminder ... our phone number 0208 331 9000 and our email address (for specific clearing queries) is clearing@gre.ac.uk .
Good Luck next week

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Helping your call run smoothly...

We have four days to go until A Level week starts and our Clearing teams are expanded to take all those extra calls.  For now though, calls are coming in at a steady rate from people who  already have their results from courses other than A levels and GCSE’s,  from those who have taken gap years, and yet others who have decided they would like to return to study after many years break. There are also many calls from applicants for our postgraduate courses and the Nursing /Midwifery Continuing Professional Development courses.
I have taken calls from some very upset people who have misunderstood the application system and, by not accepting their offers in time, have discovered they have been ‘declined by default’.  You can imagine how disappointed they are. It is so crucial that you read all correspondence concerning your application very carefully and make a note of any deadlines.  Clearing can be a very stressful time with so many anxious people trying to find suitable courses.  Deadlines are much tighter  to enable processing of applications to be as efficient as possible and it is so important to get things  right.
However, we are here at the end of the phone to answer your queries, explain any confusing instructions and help clear up any misunderstandings. After  being at the end of the phone for the last month or so I have compiled a list of things to help make your call run as smoothly as possible  and to save you time, phone money, and frustration:
1. Ensure you are in a quiet place without screechy train/bus brakes, babies/ children needing attention and poor mobile reception.  If we can’t hear you properly we will have to ask you to ring back later.
2. Have your UCAS ID number, clearing reference number , and phone contact details to hand – ie written on a piece of paper!   Searching for it on your mobile, email or UCAS accounts while putting us on hold may leave you feeling very flustered!
3. Have a pen and paper handy.  You would be surprised how many people don’t!
....then all that’s left to say is GOOD LUCK!

Monday, 8 August 2011

10 Days Left!

There’s only 10 days left until A Level results day. The best piece of advice I can offer is make sure you all have an active UCAS account valid for the study year of 2011-12. Also ensure that when you do give us a call, have your Clearing PIN (Personal Identification Number) and CRN (Clearing Reference Number) ready, so that we can fill in the application as quickly and smoothly as possible.
It would be most advisable to have a plan of action ready, for example you should already know what course you want to study. This will show dedication and seriousness into completing a degree for three years. Personally, I feel that it’s really important that the personal statement matches what course you want to study. The personal statement is a reflection upon the student regarding the course they want to study and why it interests them.
The final piece of advice I would like to give is if you are going through the Clearing process then please give us a call first, before putting a course on track, so that we can check if the course is available and also so that we can take an application form and put it on record for the academics reference.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Accepting an offer...

I would like to update the readers in regards to how one might accept an offer with us. Some parts of the UCAS system was temporarily down over the last four days because they were loading up records for the Scottish applicants. This is why it is important to note that for those of you who did receive an offer on any particularly day via email, that email would have stated you must accept an offer by midnight.  However, due to the UCAS track being down we have extended this deadline to today midnight. Once you have accepted this offer, you must refer yourselves to us on UCAS track. Currently, the full track service is available and eligible applicants can add a Clearing choice.

On another note, many of our courses are being snapped up like hotcakes! Nevertheless, we still have courses available, if you would like to know which courses are still in Clearing then give us a call on 0208 331 9000.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

That rings a bell...

Wow, Clearing is going like a train. It goes fast and smoothly, However, every day there are some changes regarding Clearing rules and regulations. At the moment courses are closing very fast and there are a lot of courses which only take applications for waiting lists.
I must say that I very much appreciate the phone calls from our enquirers. I’ve had a few angry callers, but if I do get one, I always try to calm them down. I imagine myself in their position and I want to fight for them and find them the appropriate course.
Last Monday, my colleague got an applicant on the phone who wanted to speak to me. I recognised her name and voice and she was like ‘Hey Remco. How are you!?’ The reason for her phone call was to say thanks, because she said that I helped her to get into university. I was very pleased for her and loved the fact that she called us, just to thank me... but I believe it is part of my job to be helpful. I always pretend I am sitting at the other side of the phone and I want to get help too.
Luckily we get funny phone calls as well... very inappropriate, but funny. Last time somebody pranked us and said: ‘I want to apply for a course.’ “Which course may that be?”  ‘The course of love!’

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Don't hesitate to give us a call..

Two weeks tomorrow is A-Level Day; the definitive peak of the Clearing period. It’s an unpredictable time, will people make their offers or won’t they? Will there be places available or wont there? How long will Clearing be available after that day is over? At the moment there is no way of knowing, as the demand on university places and change in fees has made the Clearing process drastically different over a short period of time.
Currently those who already have their results (and those results are updated/already on UCAS) and are not holding any offers can put in applications before A-Level day. Some courses are closed, some have spaces and some are waiting list only; call the University for the definitive answer to which is which.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Beauty in Flexibility !

Hello blog readers ! I’ve just returned from two weeks away in my native Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It was certainly good to recharge my batteries before entering the melee of Clearing...
I arrived back on Monday to find our whole office (and accompanying infrastructure) had been transported to the Greenwich Maritime campus, which was most impressive.  I have to say that this year has flown by, it seems only a minute ago that we were starting Clearing 2010. Actually, it’s lovely to be back at Greenwich Maritime again, as it happens to have a special ambience of its own, with the amazing architecture, history and lovely green spaces in which to spend our lunch hours ! This year’s Clearing brings a whole host of new hopes and fears for each of our applicants, many of you will have already recieved  you exam results and are now making plans, but the majority of you will be waiting for the ‘big day’ (we called it confirmation) on the 18th August.
Sometimes there is beauty in flexibility, so remember that even if you don’t quite get the results you were expecting you could take the opportunity to develop your academic life in another direction, and perhaps search for course which reflects your alternative interests. Speaking from personal experience, I remember the heart sinking feeling (nearly eighteen years ago)of getting lower than predicted grades and feeling like it was the end of the world.
Happily it wasn’t, and I was able to find a place at Greenwich ! 

Monday, 1 August 2011

The common "setbacks" to avoid!!!

Hi everyone!
Our current team of clearing bloggers have put in so much valuable information on this page just about clearing itself... they have mentioned all the necessary info for you to take in! What shall I talk about then? Erm... here we go...
Just for your information... I did not apply through UCAS Clearing myself but I was a main cycle applicant back in 2008 (so many changes!). I will only give you general advice which you may find very useful. This blog itself will highlight the two major problems applicants face when they apply through clearing.
Going through the clearing application process can be enjoyable for some and vice versa. But from what I have gathered, from working in the Enquiry Unit and from my own experience, there are problems that arise on a constant basis throughout the clearing period. Nearly all clearing applicants are likely to panic on A Level results day and phone in to us to make applications in a desperate attempt to secure a place for any course. That is not the way forward people, because it may backfire on you one way or another. 
Think about calling us the day after A Level results day... just to get your head around things (you may not agree with me!). Obviously... the more time you take = the lower the availability of courses. I would also mention that it may be a good idea to come up with a plan and follow a guideline of what you want to do but then again don't wait too long because you might be left with little choices in future!
The other problem involves unsuccessful applications. When you’ve been made unsuccessful for a place at University, it is hard to comprehend. It isn't a nice feeling at all. The majority of applicants believe that it is over for them... this is not true at all!!! My advice is to consider taking a year out to re-take the exams you have failed in or you might even want to consider applying for an apprenticeship.
I hope this helps! Good luck with your results and your application for University!!!