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EDITIONS
Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
University places fill up fast
University clearing systems are taking calls
The race for university places is fierce as high pass rates at A-level put students in a strong position to study for degrees.

With more students likely to have got the required grades for their courses, spare places will be fewer.

And candidates who had not previously considered going to university may find the contents of their results envelopes has changed their minds, adding to the competition.

Linda Bradbury, admissions manager at Staffordshire University, said the university's call centre had had numerous calls from new applicants.

"Normally the calls we deal with are confirmation calls - people who just want to check they have secured their conditional offer," said Ms Bradbury.

"This year it seems to be mainly students who have got better results than they expected and are now considering university - so they are tending to be new applicants."

Rachel Hewitt, who oversees enrolment at Kingston University, said popular courses such as psychology, drama and nursing had filled up within an hour and a half of the university's call centre being opened on Thursday.

Successful applicants

Figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) show 226,794 students were accepted onto courses in 2002, compared to 221,109 in 2001 and 192,140 in 2000.

Despite the higher number of successful university applicants, there are still 72,450 students competing for places through clearing, the statistics show.

But the chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas), Tony Higgins, said students still looking for a university place should not be too concerned as the high pass rate could take the pressure off clearing.

"More people are now out of the equation having been placed with their conditional offer," said Mr Higgins.

"That means fewer people are looking for places in clearing and therefore it's likely to be less rushed and less busy that it has been in previous years."


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