Univer­sity ap­pli­ca­tion shake-up pro­posed in re­port

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STU­DENTS should ap­ply for univer­sity after they get their A-level re­sults, in a ma­jor shake-up pro­posed by univer­sity and col­lege staff.

The Univer­sity and Col­lege Union (UCU) says the move will elim­i­nate unconditional of­fers and the “chaotic” clear­ing process.

A re­port, Post-qual­i­fi­ca­tion Ap­pli­ca­tion: A Stu­dent­cen­tred Model For Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Ad­mis­sions In Eng­land, North­ern Ire­land And Wales, pub­lished on Mon­day, sug­gests how the ad­mis­sions sys­tem could be over­hauled.

Un­der the pro­posal, stu­dents would ap­ply to univer­sity only after find­ing out their exam re­sults and start the first year of their higher ed­u­ca­tion course in Novem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to the UCU, the re­forms would make the sys­tem fairer, and bring the UK into line with the rest of the world.

It says no other coun­tries use pre­dicted grades to award univer­sity places, and seven in 10 staff in­volved in univer­sity ad­mis­sions back the move to post-qual­i­fi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tion.

Ucas fig­ures show that in 2018 more than a third of 18-year-olds ap­ply­ing to univer­sity in 2018 re­ceived a form of unconditional of­fer be­fore com­plet­ing their school qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The re­port also looks at how to im­prove ad­vice for stu­dents when it comes to de­cid­ing what to study, and calls on the Gov­ern­ment to com­mis­sion an in­de­pen­dent re­view of univer­sity ad­mis­sions.

UCU head of pol­icy, Matt Waddup, said: “There is grow­ing sup­port for a shift to a sys­tem where stu­dents ap­ply to univer­sity after they have re­ceived their re­sults.

“This re­port sets out how that could work in prac­tice.

“Such a move would not only be fairer for stu­dents, it would bring the UK into line with the rest of the world and elim­i­nate the use of con­tro­ver­sial unconditional of­fers and the chaotic clear­ing process.

“The cur­rent ad­mis­sions process based on pre­dicted grades is fail­ing stu­dents and needs an ur­gent over­haul.

“The time has come for the Gov­ern­ment to grasp the net­tle on this is­sue and com­mis­sion an in­de­pen­dent re­view of higher ed­u­ca­tion ad­mis­sions to take for­ward the agenda.”

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