ALL too often applying to university through clearing is seen as a student’s last resort – symbolic of not getting the grades needed to secure your first-choice institution.
But what if beating your targets meant you had to endure that same process of uncertainty, on your most important day in education so far?
Last year, for Mohammad Suhail, that was the case – as his trio of A-level B grades overqualified him for a spot at the University of Sussex.
Exploring his options he looked further west, pursued a place at the University of Portsmouth and is now happy to call the city home.
‘It was nerve-wracking for a while because there was a point when I didn't know where I was going, but the staff were so supportive of me, they allowed me to remain calm and I was ecstatic when I got the place,' said the 19-year-old economics, finance and banking student.
Mohammad got to see the heart of clearing at the University of Portsmouth first-hand as its hotline sprung into action today.
The epicentre on the first floor of Richmond Building was a hive of activity as phones were manned by dozens of the university’s students.
Professor Graham Galbraith, vice chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, said each operator had callers' ‘best options' in mind.
To students going through clearing, he added: ‘Don’t panic, don’t worry, take time, be calm, reflect on what’s best for you and ring up universities and find out what’s on offer – I think you’ll be surprised .
‘But choose a university that’s interested in you and choose a subject you’re really interested in, because that’s what leads to the greatest success.’
Mohammad added: ‘I’d advise students to stay calm because the staff on the clearing hotlines will be supportive – they’re there for you and they want you to succeed.
‘Even though it can seem like a nerve-racking process it’s really not, especially when you start chatting to staff, going to clearing open days and when you finally start the course you love.’
The university’s hotline (023 9284 8090) is open until 7pm today, from 9am to 3pm on Saturday and from 8.30am to 5.15pm on Monday.