The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is braced for a flood of extra calls as lecturers target next week's A-level results.
UCAS fears that the summer admissions and clearing process, which starts on Thursday when A-level results are released, may be more hectic than usual because of industrial action by the Association of University Teachers.
Applicants who meet their conditional offers and those who do not would normally telephone universities to confirm places or to seek alternatives if they miss their conditional offers. But if admissions offices are unmanned then their next call will be to UCAS, said a spokesman. "We are anticipating an increase in calls... but it is up to the universities to offer and confirm places, not us," he said.