What students don’t know about their UK uni offer chance

Sponsored: Lucy Stonehill, CEO at BridgeU, looks at why schools need to go beyond stated entry requirements

The years immediately following secondary school represent one of the most important periods in any young person’s life. That’s why schools, students, and parents all place so much emphasis on making the right decision about university. However, rapid changes in higher education make it difficult to keep up with all the data out there about university choices, and mean that university counsellors and advisors have a hard job when it comes to giving students accurate, up-to-date advice on where they are and aren’t likely to get accepted. In order to make informed decisions about their future, students and schools need to know more about their real chance of acceptance for the courses and universities they want to attend.

Minimum entry requirements are, at best, the tip of the iceberg, and at worst they can be actively misleading. When a university says three As is the minimum entry requirement for a given course, what they don’t say simultaneously is what proportion of candidates who have three As actually receive an offer. For example, at one top-ranked university in the UK that asks for a minimum of three As to study English, out of 100 students with those grades, less than a third actually received an offer. The grades of other applicants actively affect a student’s chance of acceptance.

“In order to make informed decisions about their future, students and schools need to know more about their real chance of acceptance for the courses and universities they want to attend.”

What’s more, courses with the same entry requirements can have very different offer rates, even within universities. In an extreme example, Law at Oxford requires three As and has a 9% offer rate; whereas Economics and Geography at Leeds requires three As and has a 94% offer rate. A student’s chance of acceptance at Leeds will be much higher. And while Theology at Oxford requires the same grades as Law, the former has an offer rate of 33%, almost four times higher than the latter.

Universities are traditionally opaque about how they make decisions. So in order to provide the best advice to students, schools need to go beyond publicly stated entry requirements, and invest in information and services that will give students accurate data on their chance of acceptance at the universities and courses that are right for them.

To learn more, please visit bridge-u.com.