More Students Are Getting into University
The number of students getting accepted into university has gone up by 0.5%. We know it doesn’t sound like much, but it means an extra 2,900 students were offered a university place in 2016, which is pretty good.
This could partly be because less people
actually applied to university this year, as applications were down by around 100 students. Again, doesn’t sound like a lot, but UK applications haven’t been down at all since 2012, so this is fairly big news.
So what does this mean for you? Well you’ll have less competition and you’re more likely to
get a place, as the 535,200 university placements in 2016 is a record for UCAS.
More Students Are Getting Their First Choice
Not only are more people getting university places, but the majority of students are actually going to their firm choice. An extra 2,200 students in 2016 headed to their first choice, which is the highest amount UCAS have ever placed.
This is great news as student acceptances aren’t just going up because they’re choosing any old university, students are actually going to the university they WANT to go to.
Clearing Places Are Also On The Up
So what about the students who didn’t get the grades? What happened to them? Well, a lot of them actually ended up at university, in fact this year saw the highest number of students (64,900) getting uni places through
Although it does seem like students are getting more organised, as the number of students applying late and going automatically through clearing dropped by 2.4%.
Older Students Aren’t Getting As Many Places
While an extra 3,600 18-year olds and an additional 500 19-year old students got uni places this year (records for both age groups), older students weren’t having as much luck. In fact, university offers for students over the age of 19 went down this year by 2,300 places.
How Are University Places Doing Across The Country?
So, how is your home town doing?
Well it’s good news for the UK generally, with entry rates increasing across the regions, you’re currently more likely to enter higher education at the moment.
When you breakdown the UK and look at specific areas separately, uni placements for English students haven’t changed much this year. Sounds like an ok thing to happen, but when you realise this is the first time since 2012 that this figure hasn’t increased, this news can be taken slightly differently.
Although the good news is England still has a high entry rate, something which has been steadily increasing since 2012. When these entry rates are broken down, the lowest entry rates are found in the
South West (28.2%) and the North East (28.9%), while the highest is unsurprisingly in London (38%), where students were more likely to get a uni place.
Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland DID see an increase in uni acceptances for their students. There were an extra 700 acceptances in Northern Ireland (14,800 in total), 200 more places for Welsh students (20,700 in total) and 900 extra acceptance letters being sent out in Scotland (totalling 35,700, a record amount).
And when it comes to entry rates, Northern Ireland has it covered, as they have the best entry rates than anywhere else in the UK, sitting nicely at 34.8%. Meanwhile Welsh students had 29.5% entry rate, the highest ever recorded for them and the fifth time it’s increased.
What about the EU? Well unis offered places to an extra 2,000 EU students this year, with many of those places going to Polish, German, Spanish and Bulgarian students. This rise in acceptances has partly happened simply because more EU students applied to UK universities this year. However, these offers were pre-Brexit, so we’ll have to wait and see what post-Brexit does for EU recruitment numbers in the future.
It’s not such good news for students outside the EU, who had less uni offers for the first time since 2011. This is due to not only a smaller number of applicants, but also a decrease in the acceptance rate itself.
Entry Rates Differ Depending On Student Circumstances
One of the things the report highlighted was, while many regions are seeing an increase, or at least a very good entry rate, this figure differs depending on individual student characteristics such as income, ethnicity, and background, as well as how all these factors interact with each other.
For example, using this method, the report found that entry rates for students on lower incomes increased to record levels and they’re now 80% more likely to go to university than they were ten years ago. They also found that entry rates for 18-year-old students from state schools increased for all ethnicities.
Girls Are More Likely to Go To University
More female students went to university then men in 2016. 18 years-old women are currently at 36.8% entry rate, while men are 28.7%. While this 9.6% difference may not seem much, it’s the largest difference so far. And this only increases when you bring 19-year old students into the statistics. So, what does the mean in terms of easy to digest numbers? Well it means 37,000 less men in education compared to women.
Not only this, but according to this report, women are also 18% more likely to go to higher tariff providers (for example, the
Russell Group universities) than men in 2016.
Less University Students Have BTECs
BTECS have been slowly growing in popularity, however this year there was a 1% drop in students going to university with just BTEC qualifications. Only 3.5% of students are currently entering uni with these qualifications, with an extra 2.5% getting into uni with a combination of BTECs and A Levels.
Universities Offering Lower Tariffs Are Getting Less Students
You’d think that offering a small amount of UCAS points would encourage students to apply, but according to this report, universities who have lower tariff points are actually doing worse than those with higher expectations. In fact, places at lower tariff universities fell by 6,300 students, a drop which hasn’t happened for four years.
Meanwhile universities who asked students for significantly more points saw an increase in the number of students they accepted. Higher tariff universities had an extra 4,000 students, while medium tariffs increased by 5,200 places, and actually offered more places to students with low A Level grades than the lower tariff universities!
What Are People Saying?
The UCAS report is certainly providing food for thought, and highlights where universities are going right, but also where they’re going wrong.
Aaron Porter, Director of Insights at
“The UCAS 2016 end of cycle report provides an illuminating analysis of the progress that UK higher education been made to widen access to university, but also the remaining challenges that lie ahead. The outgoing UCAS Chief Executive, Mary Curnock Cook is right to highlight the wasted talent for many groups who still don’t access university in the numbers we’d expect by quirks of birth. Universities and colleges still need to do more to redress this imbalance.
The landscape for higher education application and enrolment continues to change rapidly, catalysed by the removal of the student number controls. There is really no such thing as a selective university any longer, all universities are recruiting. To that end, ensuring that prospective students have the right information, advice and guidance to make the best decision for them, not just at the point of application but for the decade preceding this choice is absolutely crucial.”