Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Learning process: advice services provided by UCAS

UCAS does more for students than just handle university applications

By now, most of you will have already encountered UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

In a nutshell, it is the central organisation that manages applications to higher education courses in the UK. They’re a busy bunch, processing more than two million applications for full-time undergraduate courses every year as well as helping students to find the right course for themselves.

UCAS also provides all would-be future higher education students with a variety of efficient, online research tools. See page 6 for a comprehensive guide to these.

What happens if you don’t get the results that you were expecting? Information on Clearing is available here. To help you to make the most of that facility, though, you need carefully to consider and research your options. There are a number of handy research tools available to you, helping you to make informed decisions about your future education.

“I speak with people every day who need help with their applications, especially over Clearing, and the questions I am asked vary a lot so I have to be ready to answer anything,” says Katie Collins, who has worked as an adviser for the UCAS Customer Service Unit (0871 468 0468). |This call centre is open throughout the year, dealing with inquiries |from applicants at all stages of |the process.

“It’s not only students who call the Customer Service Unit for help; we also speak with parents and teachers when they’re stuck,” Collins adds. “I find my role incredibly rewarding as the advice I can provide will often make a stressful time of year a little easier for many students. We are here to help.”

The direct approach

If you do find yourself in Clearing on A-level results day, and, after researching all your options, you decide that perhaps you are not ready to go into higher education yet, give the Exam Results Helpline a call (0808 100 8000).

Hosted by UCAS, this is a government-run scheme that is set up for all those getting their exam results this summer. It exists to offer advice and guidance on careers and next-steps. At this time of year, a team of experts comes together to offer guidance to young people.

Dozens of trained careers advisers are drafted in to help you make the best plans for yourself. The service has been going for 20 years, and has helped thousands of students steer their way through a maze of options. Callers receive on-the-spot advice, unlike other services, which may offer an appointment or refer them to someone else. The team can deal with queries on anything from specific questions about grades and offers to more general advice about student finance, how to cope with moving away from home, or whether to take a gap year.

Whether your place is confirmed on results day, or you are going to go through Clearing, these tools are put in place to help you make an informed decision about going to university. And if you can’t find the answers online, call a UCAS adviser on 0871 468 0468.

Source: Independent

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