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19 AUG 2022
The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week, following a two-year pandemic hiatus, UK university admissions should resume a "more predictable" cycle this summer as college students await their A-level results. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!
Following a two-year pandemic hiatus, UK university admissions is expected to resume a "more predictable" cycle this summer as college students await their A-level results.
According to UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant, a near-record number of students in England and Wales will receive their first choice university places this week when A-level results are announced.
Since formal exams are returning for the first time after the pandemic, UCAS's comment offers reassurance to students as they anticipate lower marks with educators working to curb grade inflation in recent years.
In the wake of the pandemic, teacher assessment replaced formal school exams, enabling more students to achieve top grades. With the return of exams this year, it is expected that the level of attainment will fall.
According to Russell Group, this round of admissions will be competitive. “Our universities will be working hard to give as many people the opportunity to study with them as they can, while maintaining a high-quality experience for students,” they shared.
With top university admissions becoming more competitive, there is concern that many young people could miss out on their top choice of institution as less top grades will be awarded this year.
“We’re expecting the vast majority of students to wake up and have their first choice university or college . . . It will be a record or near record, certainly more than a normal year,” Merchant shared. She reassured that the entry cycle is back to being "more predictable" this summer.
According to UCAS, record numbers of students applied to university this year, with near-record numbers holding offers at institutions requiring the highest grades.
Despite this, the number of offers declined in the most competitive courses, such as medicine and dentistry. Approximately 15.6% of applications received an offer, down from 20.4% in 2021, while the figure for higher-tariff providers fell from 60.5% to 55.1%.
Regardless, some education experts have warned that lower overall results will result in more students failing to earn their first-choice offers.
According to Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, 40,000 students may miss out on their top choice. He estimated 35 percent of applicants would receive an A* or A grade this year, compared with 44.8% in 2021, basing his prediction on exams regulator Ofqual's plans to set grade distribution at a midpoint between last year's and that from 2019.