Relaxation therapy to ease stress of clearing

August 14, 2008

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University staff are pulling out all the stops this week to help prospective students secure a place at university - staying up all night to man telephone lines, appearing in television advertisements and even offering stressed-out students acupuncture and relaxation therapy.

At the University of Greenwich, telephone lines were due to open at 10pm the night before A-level results were released and were to stay up and running over the whole of the first day of clearing.

Bev Woodhams, head of recruitment, said: "Last year, we found prospective students were calling the university during the night, leaving messages on our answerphone.

"The night before A-levels results come out is a very anxious time. We'll be there to give them information and reassurance. They can also check our vacancies, so when their results do come in, they're ready to take their next step."

The University of Salford was sending its acupuncturists and relaxation therapists into a local college on the morning of 14 August.

The universities of Hertfordshire, Sunderland and Central Lancashire are targeting students with text messages and WAP content through Blyk, a free mobile network for 16 to 24-year-olds.

Members of the University of Northampton's staff and student body are also appearing in a television advertisement.

Southampton Solent University is targeting Channel 4 - with an advertising slot between Big Brother and the Hollyoaks omnibus.

The commercial was produced in the university's own studios by its graduate media production company, Solent Productions.

Meanwhile, the university's clearing hotline operators prepared for the onslaught by taking part in a team-building "school" sports day, which included wheelbarrow and egg-and-spoon races.

Images adopted for this year's campaigns include the camper van - at Coventry University under the headline "find the best route for you" - and the Tardis from Dr Who, which features in adverts for the University of Wolverhampton.

rebecca.attwood@tsleducation.com.

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