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Scramble for places reaches fever pitch as universities put up ‘full’ signs

By Richard Garner and Lottie Allen

Universities started putting up the full signs last night as the scramble for places continued.

Many universities were besieged by record numbers of callers and vacant places were snapped up within a matter of hours.

New figures from Ucas also show a sharp increase in applications to English universities from Northern Ireland — a 13% increase compared to just a 1.2% increase in applicants across the UK.

The admissions body said 11,481 people from Northern Ireland had applied to English universities this year, compared to 10,161 in 2010.

September's intake in England will be the last before tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year are introduced.

Among those with no places to offer were Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield Hallam, Derby and York. Salford University took 18,000 calls for just 40 places, while Wolverhampton said it had not yet entered clearing as it was offering 100 vacancies to those on its waiting list. It still received 10,500 calls to its hotline.

Those not in the clearing system included Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, Warwick, Aberystwyth, Sussex and Bath.

Latest figures available for Queen’s University show that by 5.30pm on Thursday, the day students received results, the general admissions office had received 980 emails. The call centre had also answered 1,253 calls.

A spokesman said: “Individual members of staff are also receiving heavy volumes of inquiries and in addition there are faxes and inquiries being dropped off in person.”

The number of students seeking places through clearing grew from 189,000 last year to 195,415 yesterday, according to admissions service Ucas. At the same time, it said, there were fewer places available through clearing at around 29,009.

The number of students confirming their university places has topped the 400,000 mark.

Last night, 78,141 students were awaiting a decision on a university place.

Belfast Telegraph


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