By Gill Wyness
With UK tuition fees now among the highest in the world, but benefits from having a degree remaining substantial, choosing the right university has never been more important for young people. The government has tried to make this easier by offering more and more information not just on the university experience but on the quality of the institution and even the potential wage return students could reap.
Despite all these efforts to make the decision about where to apply as informed as possible, one issue remains: students still apply to university based on their predicted rather than actual qualifications. And these predictions are not always accurate.
Using information on university applicants’ actual and predicted grades and their university attended, obtained from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), I find only 16% of applicants achieved the A-level grades that they were predicted to achieve, based on their best 3 A-levels.
Last year an article in the Guardian newspaper described significant disparities in the success rates of white and non-white applicants to the University of Oxford, even among students who received top grades at A-level. The article reported that, in 2010-11, offer rates were around 1.5 times higher for white applicants than for ethnic minority applicants with the same grades, and up to twice as high in relation to Oxford’s two most oversubscribed subjects, Medicine, and Economics and Management. This pattern was found to hold even for students with 3+ A* grades at A-level. Continue reading →
As an early Christmas present to you all, here is a link to every university entry qualification recognized by HESA and the corresponding UCAS tariff points.
Very useful if you have a list of 700 entry qualifications to code up, and you don’t know what they are worth!
It is a disappointing fact that there remains a huge gulf in the university participation of pupils depending on their background or the school they went to. Yet despite what many think, the issue here is not aspiration –research suggests that around half of students in the poorest quintile of the socio-economic status distribution aspire to go to university at age 14, even though only around 13% go on to do so.
A recent report from the government’s social mobility taskforce suggests that one way to increase the number of students from poor backgrounds in Russell Group universities is to make greater use of contextual data in university admissions –
According to UCAS table2a http://www.ucas.com/system/files/ucas-interim-assesement-entry-year-report-2013.pdf, 30% of ABB+ students don’t have A-levels. The majority have BTECs, though there are many other equivalent qualifications, listed here: http://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/ABB%2Btable.pdf
Table 2b shows that the number of students with BTECs has increased dramatically since 2010.
So which unis are expanding?