Pick up the phone yourself! Teenagers warned to keep pushy parents away from ringing universities to sort out clearing places

Allow parents to call sends wrong message about maturity

Education Editor

Would-be students have been told to keep pushy parents away from the telephone as they try to snap up university places after receiving their A-level results next week.

Headteachers have warned them: Don’t let them near the ‘phone - you’re on your own!

“Now is not the time to be nervous on the telephone and it’s certainly not the day for letting your parents fight your battles for you,” said Hilary French, president of the Girls’ School Association - which represents the country’s top independent girls’ schools.  “By all means discuss your options with them, but if you have to talk to universities you’re on your own.”

Clare Reseigh, head of sixth-form at St Gabriel’s School near Newbury, Berkshire, added:  “Under no circumstances allow your parents to call on your behalf because that will send entirely the wrong message about your maturity and commitment.”

The picture emerging next week when more than 250,000 teenagers get their A-level results is likely to remain unclear for university admissions for some time.

The likelihood is that there will be more places available through the clearing system as the Government has relaxed restrictions on recruitment - and is allowing universities to recruit as many students as they like provided they have at least an A and two B grade passes at A-level.

This means more leading universities - members of the Russell Group - will be seeking to top up numbers through clearing this year.

Overall, the latest figures from UCAS show that 637, 500 university applications have been received this year compared with 618, 250 the previous year - the first year of the new £9,000 a year fees regime.  This year’s figures, though, still lag behind 2011 - the peak year for applications as more students sought to beat the introduction of higher fees.

The GSA advised students who get better grades than expected that they could upgrade their courses as other applicants may have missed their grades and thus be unable to snap up places on sought after courses - such as law and medicine.

Jo Heywood, head of Heathfield School in Ascot, Surrey, suggested approaching a university where students had already been interviewed but not offered a place because of their predicted grades.

“They may remember you from interview if you performed well and now be pleased to offer you a place with your higher grades,” she added.

Caroline Jordan, head of Headington School in Oxford, said:  “IF you get ABB or higher but still fall short of your first choice offer, you may find that your university still offers you a place since the government cap is not operative for those who achieve these grades.”

Meanwhile, some overseas universities are extending their deadlines for recruiting students in the hope of snapping up applicants from the UK

HAN University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, for instance has extended the deadline from June 1 to August 25 for students from the UK.

The University of Winnipeg in Canada now has multiple intakes in September, January and May which will help it accommodate UK students.

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