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1. Oxbridge universities announce initiative to address inequalities in postgraduate education
The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford have announced a collaborative program aimed at increasing admissions rates for students from underrepresented backgrounds in the fields of postgraduate research. Funded by the Office of Students and Research England, the initiative will test world-leading admissions strategies designed to bring about a transformational shift towards more inclusive postgraduate programmes. The University of Cambridge's Postgraduate Widening Participation Manager, Dr Katherine Powlesland, noted, “We want to find ways to make admissions systems flex better – thinking imaginatively about pre-requisites, really interrogating the inclusivity of our systems, asking the right questions so we can spot and support the best talent.” Further, Cambridge will also work with University College London and City University to offer internships to students from underrepresented ethnic groups.
Crimson’s Take: Every qualified student should have a fair shot at a top-notch education. Crimson was founded on the belief that no qualified student should be denied a world-class education due to disadvantages of location, legacy, socioeconomic status, race, gender, or any other factor beyond their control. We’re glad to know that both Oxford and Cambridge are making efforts to provide underrepresented students with the same opportunities their more privileged counterparts have.
2. The UK issues the largest number of student visas in its history
Almost 430,000 visas were granted to students in the UK, a significant increase from the period before the pandemic. Home Office reports that this “represents both an increase from the pre-pandemic period but also an improvement on lower numbers during the COVID-19 outbreak.” The record-breaking number is 39% higher than the previous record set in 2010. The combination of an upward trend and postponed student travels due to the pandemic may explain the rise in overall numbers.
Crimson’s Take: Our mission is to level the higher education playing field for students all over the world, helping them overcome barriers and pursue their dreams at world-leading universities. UK universities and the Home Office are actively working to curb the negative consequences of the pandemic on international admissions, and we are glad to see international students who have postponed their travels will return to UK campuses soon. University is a valuable and formative experience for students, so we hope to see more positive progress to curb the effects of the pandemic.
3. Early signs indicate that US admissions will increase in 2021-22
The Common Application released a report suggesting that the 2021–22 admissions year could improve for many universities in the US. It has been reported that application activity has increased compared to the application season this time last year and the year before. The pandemic adversely delayed applications in 2020-21. There has also been an increase in first-generation applicants relative to the 2019-20 cycle. This is encouraging news for US colleges and universities, where enrollments to date have mostly declined for the most part, especially for less selective institutions.
Crimson’s Take: It is great to see that enrollment is on the rise, especially for first-generation applicants! Students without access to the right financial resources often begin their college journey at community colleges and two-year US universities; it's disheartening that these institutions are still seeing a steep decline in enrollment even as the US begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, we anticipate another ultra-competitive application cycle in 2021-22, which is why we’re working so hard to help our students submit their strongest possible applications!