When I went to University I just picked a degree programme at a University and registered. That was it! But in the UK it's different.
You get predicted A level grades. On the basis of these, you can apply to some five degree programmes at certain Universities. They all have their demands. And then you actually get your A level results. They may be different from what you thought! You may not qualify for some of the degrees you've applied for. Or maybe you qualify for much more than you expected! So then you can go through so-called clearing*; change your mind and start phoning around to universities to see if they will take you on. They may have some unfilled spaces htey are keen to fill, so maybe these demands might be a bit flexible. If they give you an offer you may want to do a bit of a rushed visit there to see if you indeed like it there.
Someone has to do the answering the phone, and showing people around. And I was enlisted! I didn't expect any calls; we don't tend to get that many and was only the back-up phone answerer. I didn't get any. But it's yet another new responsibility, and I had to be prepared. And I showed some late deciders around! Three people and their supporters who came to have a look. They were all registered on Marine Biology so I was glad that one of my biological colleagues, Ian, was willing to help out. He can field questions about the details of the Marine Biology practical, for example!
I am starting to get my head around this strange application procedure. And I hope I managed to sell our school well! I hope I see these three people back in September...
* NB You can also choose to forget all about the applying in the first place, and use clearing as the first resort. It has recently been in the newspapers that an increasingly number of posher parents use clearing to play the system. At the same time, there is criticism on doing the main application procedure based on predicted grades. And there is criticism on the universities jumping through hoops to lure in all students they can get, but at the same time the government is cutting the funding so tuition fees are pretty much their only source of income. And as well, the government want to send half the population to university, even though society has no need for so many graduates. Altogether, it's a bit of a mess, if you ask me!