Greater than 10,000 faculty leavers who’re predicted three Bs of their A-levels this summer season haven’t obtained a agency supply at any college, as competitors for locations at prime establishments locations will increase.
Consultants say that in recent times faculty leavers have been getting into a “purchaser’s market” in college locations, with candidates standing a very good likelihood of speaking their means into a very good college even when they missed a grade. However this 12 months, with elite universities afraid of over-recruiting after being compelled to take extra college students than they needed in the course of the pandemic, and a demographic surge within the variety of 18-year-olds, competitors has been fierce.
Andrew Hargreaves, founding father of Knowledge HE, a consultancy that advises universities on admissions, and a former director at admissions service Ucas, stated: “Ucas hasn’t launched any official knowledge but, however I’ve been instructed that over 10,000 candidates with predicted grades of BBB are usually not holding a agency supply at any college. That’s actually stunning.”
Pupils predicted BBB at A-level are typically considered sturdy college candidates. However with elite Russell Group establishments giving out fewer provides or elevating their entry necessities in well-liked topics together with legislation, drugs and psychology, Hargreaves stated these grades is not going to have been ok to web a proposal on many prime college programs this 12 months. Pupils can apply to 5 universities, however Hargreaves thinks many BBB college students have pitched their selections too excessive.
“This can be a large failure of knowledge and recommendation,” he stated. “We’ve been saying for the previous decade that it’s a purchaser’s market, however the setting has now modified, and Ucas and advisers in colleges actually must be stressing that.” Hargreaves stated it was high-quality for college students to goal excessive by making use of to “stretching” universities, however they need to even have an insurance coverage alternative at a college that required decrease grades.
He suspects that some 3B college students could also be “holding out” for clearing in August, hoping they’ll have the ability to choose up a last-minute place at a prime college. However, he warned: “I believe they are going to be upset. I’ve 12 Russell Group purchasers and all are telling me they received’t be in clearing.”
Final summer season, some selective universities have been left scrambling to search out bedrooms, seminar area and employees, after hundreds of additional college students obtained the excessive A-level grades they wanted to safe their place.
The Ucas chief govt, Clare Marchant, wrote in a weblog on Wednesday that the proportion of purposes to so-called “higher-tariff” universities leading to a proposal had fallen from 60.5% in 2021 to 55.1% this 12 months.
Prof Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff College, a member of the Russell Group, stated: “It’s completely clear that this has been a aggressive 12 months for candidates. We’ve elevated our entry necessities in areas prone to being oversubscribed.”
He stated Cardiff had expanded capability in some topics in the course of the pandemic and “we are able to’t simply carry on rising”.
He added: “It is usually going to be way more troublesome for us this 12 months to assist individuals who miss their supply by a grade, particularly in well-liked topics.”
Mike Nicholson, deputy head of schooling providers at Cambridge College, stated: “Most selective universities have been extra cautious as they don’t need to get caught out for a 3rd 12 months in a row.”
Nicholson stated that lecturers had change into used to many universities “saying one factor about what grades they’ll settle for, after which in actuality being ready to drop the grade if they need somebody”. He thinks that many don’t realise this has modified at main universities.
He stated: “I don’t blame lecturers. They usually attempt to be lifelike with college students, however finally the selection of the place to use rests with candidates who will be influenced by peer or parental views.”
Consultants say, although, that upset candidates ought to suppose laborious earlier than deciding to place all of it off till subsequent 12 months. Nick Hillman, director of the Larger Schooling Coverage Institute thinktank, stated: “If this 12 months’s candidates suppose they’ve obtained it powerful, subsequent 12 months’s stress might nicely be worse, as there might be extra 18-year-olds once more.”
He added: “College students and oldsters must know that there are actually good programs all through the sector, and never simply on the most prestigious universities.”