Thousands of excellent A-level scholars gained’t get most sensible college be offering | Universities

More than 10,000 college leavers who’re predicted 3 Bs of their A-levels this summer season have now not were given a company be offering at any college, as festival for puts at most sensible establishments puts will increase.

Experts say that in recent times college leavers have been coming into a “buyer’s market” in college puts, with candidates status a great opportunity of speaking their means right into a just right college despite the fact that they overlooked a grade. But this 12 months, with elite universities scared of over-recruiting after being pressured to take extra scholars than they sought after all over the pandemic, and a demographic surge within the selection of 18-year-olds, festival has been fierce.

Andrew Hargreaves, founding father of Data HE, a consultancy that advises universities on admissions, and a former director at admissions carrier Ucas, stated: “Ucas hasn’t released any official data yet, but I have been told that over 10,000 applicants with predicted grades of BBB are not holding a firm offer at any university. That is really shocking.”

Pupils predicted BBB at A-level are most often considered sturdy college applicants. But with elite Russell Group establishments giving out fewer provides or elevating their access necessities in standard topics together with legislation, drugs and psychology, Hargreaves stated those grades is not going to had been just right sufficient to internet an be offering on many most sensible college classes this 12 months. Pupils can practice to 5 universities, however Hargreaves thinks many BBB scholars have pitched their possible choices too prime.

“This is a big failure of information and advice,” he stated. “We’ve been saying for the past decade that it is a buyer’s market, but the environment has now changed, and Ucas and advisers in schools really need to be stressing that.” Hargreaves stated it used to be tremendous for college students to try prime via making use of to “stretching” universities, however they must even have an insurance coverage selection at a school that required decrease grades.

He suspects that some 3B scholars is also “holding out” for clearing in August, hoping they are going to have the ability to select up a last-minute position at a most sensible college. But, he warned: “I think they will be disappointed. I have 12 Russell Group clients and all are telling me they won’t be in clearing.”

Russell Group college Cardiff is amongst the ones to have larger access necessities for oversubscribed topics. Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Alamy

Last summer season, some selective universities have been left scrambling to search out bedrooms, seminar house and workforce, after 1000’s of additional scholars were given the prime A-level grades they had to safe their position.

The Ucas leader govt, Clare Marchant, wrote in a weblog on Wednesday that the share of packages to so-called “higher-tariff” universities leading to an be offering had fallen from 60.5% in 2021 to 55.1% this 12 months.

Prof Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, a member of the Russell Group, stated: “It’s absolutely clear that this has been a competitive year for applicants. We’ve increased our entry requirements in areas at risk of being oversubscribed.”

He stated Cardiff had expanded capability in some topics all over the pandemic and “we can’t just keep on growing”.

He added: “It is also going to be much more difficult for us this year to help people who miss their offer by a grade, especially in popular subjects.”

Mike Nicholson, deputy head of schooling services and products at Cambridge University, stated: “Most selective universities have been more cautious as they don’t want to get caught out for a third year in a row.”

Nicholson stated that lecturers had transform used to many universities “saying one thing about what grades they will accept, and then in reality being prepared to drop the grade if they want someone”. He thinks that many don’t realise this has modified at main universities.

He stated: “I don’t blame teachers. They often try to be realistic with students, but ultimately the choice of where to apply rests with applicants who can be influenced by peer or parental views.”

Experts say, although, that dissatisfied candidates must assume exhausting sooner than deciding to place all of it off till subsequent 12 months. Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute thinktank, stated: “If this year’s applicants think they’ve got it tough, next year’s pressure could well be worse, as there will be more 18-year-olds again.”

He added: “Students and parents need to know that there are really good courses throughout the sector, and not just at the most prestigious universities.”

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