A Peek in the Life of ... a College Admissions Adviser

Article excerpt

AS a customer services manager for UCAS, which processes applications for higher education, Kate Butland (right), 34, from Cheltenham, advises thousands of teenagers every year. She says: IT took just 30 seconds for my phone to start ringing at 7am last Thursday, the morning of the A-level results. On the other end was an 18-year-old girl, so breathless she could hardly speak. 'Your website says I've got a place at Birmingham. Can I double-check that?' she said. I confirmed her place, and over the line came a shriek from someone whose future was suddenly secured. When I put the phone down, it was 7.04am. The phone rang again. Another teen, another set of results, another future in the balance. Welcome to my longest day.

Over the next 12 hours I spoke to more than 100 people and their parents. Imagine a whole rollercoaster of emotions -- from those whose dreams have been shattered to teenagers who can see their whole university life and career plan stretched out in front of them. My job is to be a counsellor and adviser. I liaise with universities and students to work out solutions, or help distraught students realise there are other options through clearing, which helps those without places to find vacancies in other universities. …