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Record Numbers Of A-level Students 'to Be Rejected From University'

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Record numbers of A-level students 'to be rejected from university'

Record numbers of A-level students, including thousands with straight-As, will be rejected from university this summer as applications soar in the recession.

Research by The Daily Telegraph suggests demand for degree courses has surged by almost 65,000, even though few extra places are available.

With the deadline for applications looming on Tuesday, numbers are believed to be up 11 per cent across Britain.

The Conservatives warned a "major crisis" was looming as thousands more people push for university amid dire warnings of long-term job shortages.

Vice-chancellors admitted entrance criteria would be dramatically tightened up, with the number of places handed out through clearing slumping to a new low.

Many students missing conditional offers by a single grade, who would have been accepted in the past, could now be rejected, they said.

More straight-A candidates will also miss out as the most sought-after universities fall back on interviews and entrance tests to find the best candidates.

Universities have already been warned they face fines for over-recruiting this year. The pressure on places has been fuelled by a sharp rise in applications from mature students.

Cambridge's four colleges which cater exclusively for over-21s all reported significant rises, with St Edmund's alone reporting a 52 per cent increase.

But the Commons skills select committee warned this week that only 3,000 extra places across Britain would be made available in September - potentially leaving more than 60,000 without a place. This is on top of some 110,000 rejected every year after failing to meet entry requirements, applying too late or dropping out of the process.

Amanda Brook, head of student recruitment at Exeter, said: "We have certainly had to reject more students who did not meet our AAA offers as we were only able to make offers at the very top of the range. Inevitably we will have to be stricter with those who miss their offer."

Professor Les Ebdon, vice-chancellor of Bedfordshire University, said: "We could see tens of thousands of students missing out on a place at their preferred university because they have missed their offer by one or two grades. Universities are going to be more nervous about letting people in."

Roderick Smith, admissions director at Birmingham, said there was a nine per cent rise overall, including a 65 per cent rise in the number of students studying economics.

"In previous years, about 80 per cent of applicants would have been made an offer for that subject, but now only half of applicants will be made an offer," he said. "We are having to assess people much more rigorously because we know we can't take more people. We're looking for the best students, with the best academic record and the right combination of A-levels. We're most definitely having to reject people who in the past would have been made an offer."

The ultimate deadline for applications is the end of June.

Last year, 588,689 people applied for full time undergraduate courses. After accounting for students failing to make the grade or rejecting offers, a total of 456,627 gained places.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) warned that applications were up by almost nine per cent by the end of March compared to the same period in 2008.

But research by The Telegraph suggests numbers have surged further in the last three months.

A survey of 50 institutions shows an average 11 per cent rise which would result in 64,755 extra applicants this year. The research covered a range of small, specialist universities, former polytechnics and elite institutions. It follows pressure from Labour on teenagers to go on to university in recent years, combined with the lack of unskilled jobs for school-leavers in recession.

Ministers originally promised 10,000 additional places would be created this year. But Phil Willis, chairman of the Commons skills select committee, said only 3,000 would be available for full-time undergraduates. Other places are likely to go to part-time students, while money is also used by universities who over-recruited last year.

Newer universities, many of which specialise in work-based courses leading directly to a job, experienced the biggest rises. Bedfordshire reported a 28 per cent increase and applications to Portsmouth were up 23 per cent. Buckinghamshire New University reported a 33 per cent rise.

Popular universities, such as Exeter and Leicester, saw applications rise 18 per cent while Oxford increased by 12 per cent.

Applications soared among mature students, many of whom have been left without work in the recession - potentially squeezing out those joining straight from school or college. Worcestershire University reported a 37 per cent increase in applications from mature students.

David Willetts, the Conservative shadow skills secretary, said: "Photos on A-level results day of pretty young women jumping for joy after receiving their A-level results will probably be replaced the next day with pictures of the same people in tears because they can't get into university. We have a major crisis looming and we'll have many students with very good A-level grades missing out."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "Next year there will be more students going to university than ever before, taking advantage of the record number of funded places on offer. There will be 40,000 more accepted applicants than just three years ago – and right now there are 300,000 more students in system since 1997.

"Getting a place at university has always been, and should be, a competitive process. But there are a variety of options on offer for young people, including part-time study, apprenticeships and foundation degrees."

Guess what. Little Johnny and Mary will be staying at home for even longer.

Of course this has a lot to do with the moronic Labour manifesto promise of 50% of the population with University educations.

It is a sad state of affairs though, and will really start to wear down the social welfare system.

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So all of these rejects will appear as unemployed then?

The unemployment figures over the coming months could have a massive boost with people finishing college courses and university.

Anyone know the numbers for those in final year of University and college. I wonder what percentage will end up having to sign on because they can't get a place at Uni or a job.

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Blessing in disguise.

This will not affect students with decent grades, just those that would have got in with three grade Es

All kids below BBB average should be turned away, so that’s 70% down on the current numbers. You can always do a 3rd year in college for free if you didn’t get the grades and want to go.

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So none of the rejects can do an Open Uni degree then?

Best option for a mature student IMHO.

Will be signing up for a foundation in September.

These EEE rejects were never going to finish their degrees anyway.

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Photos on A-level results day of pretty young women jumping for joy after receiving their A-level results

Is it only me that thinks they reuse the same picture year after year? ;)

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I've never seen my picture reused again after it appeared in the local paper.

Don't tell me you were once a pretty young women jumping for joy?

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Blessing in disguise.

This will not affect students with decent grades, just those that would have got in with three grade Es

All kids below BBB average should be turned away, so that’s 70% down on the current numbers. You can always do a 3rd year in college for free if you didn’t get the grades and want to go.

I agree it will be a blessing in disguise for a lot of people given the debt that you have to take on. Writing off everyone without BBB and above is certainly overkill though (based on my A levels of course - but they were probably a bit harder when I took them in 97).

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Well they might have to do a degree in Engineering - I wonder if those courses are still undersubscribed.

I did an Engineering degree at Sheffield Poly, and me and my fellow students were the scum of the A-level world - I was one of the most qualified with two C's. Most of us had the attitude "oh well, at least it's a degree".

It was the best thing I ever did - went on to a secure profession and earnt enough money to do what I'm doing now - b*gger all.

I think it won't be long before we see entire degree courses (or even subjects) being pulled. I can even see universities closing down, or at least reverting to the technical colleges a lot of them started as.

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Can you tell me what the advantage is?

For background:

This study is for pure interest (physics / astronomy) but I like to be following a course that somebody with a knowledge of the subject has mapped out as it gives structure, and some testing to ensure I have really understood it.

It will give me no career advantage and as I already have two degrees from top unis (in a non-science subject) I'm not interested in prestige.

That said if it goes very successfully (who can tell?) I would like to take it further in some way.

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I agree it will be a blessing in disguise for a lot of people given the debt that you have to take on. Writing off everyone without BBB and above is certainly overkill though (based on my A levels of course - but they were probably a bit harder when I took them in 97).

I am not writing them off, they can redo their a-levels if they wish to go.

But why go to university if you got a D or E in a subject, you clearly don’t understand it enough to go on studying it at a more advanced level. Best you learn this level before you move on.

A lot of kids fall into this trap, get C/D/E and move onto the next level, well what are they going to get there? Likely a lower grade as they play catch up.

You should first have BBB or higher average before going onto the next level.

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I can see fees increasing to offset this.

As for grades, they don't necessarily give the whole picture. There can be extenuating circumstances which severely affect the 2-hour exam-based mania that most A-level grades are.

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Can you tell me what the advantage is?

For background:

This study is for pure interest (physics / astronomy) but I like to be following a course that somebody with a knowledge of the subject has mapped out as it gives structure, and some testing to ensure I have really understood it.

It will give me no career advantage and as I already have two degrees from top unis (in a non-science subject) I'm not interested in prestige.

That said if it goes very successfully (who can tell?) I would like to take it further in some way.

I did physics at university not long ago

The UOL external system doesn’t offer it so you will have to go through the OU

Overall if there is the same or similar subject offered at both you should go through the UOL because it is more recognised.

However if your doing it for pure kicks then it doesn’t matter.

As for physics, how good is your mathematics?

Did you do a-levels maths or physics? What did you get?

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I did physics at university not long ago

The UOL external system doesn’t offer it so you will have to go through the OU

Overall if there is the same or similar subject offered at both you should go through the UOL because it is more recognised.

However if your doing it for pure kicks then it doesn’t matter.

As for physics, how good is your mathematics?

Did you do a-levels maths or physics? What did you get?

Thanks cells, OU looked good but I'm always open to other ideas before I sign up.

I (was) okay on that score. Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry A levels, all at grade A when it meant something.

My concern is whether I have left it too late, but not a lot I can do about that!

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I can see fees increasing to offset this.

As for grades, they don't necessarily give the whole picture. There can be extenuating circumstances which severely affect the 2-hour exam-based mania that most A-level grades are.

Yes you are correct, sometimes people freeze

Happened to me on one practical physics exam at a-levels.

All my physics exams were very high 90-100% pass marks but this one exam was a grade E.

I don’t know WTF happened; I just spent all my time on this fracking spring experiment doing it over and over and over again, I just remember doing the experiment but something in my mind kept saying the results looked dodgy so I went back and repeated it many times. Didn’t get to the other 2/3rds of the paper done.

Only time it ever happened to me, still don’t know how to explain it to this day. Wasn’t a difficult exam either. Didn’t bother me too much as the other exams pulled me up.

Overall I think it is rare though and probably extremely rare to happen on lots of exams such that it impacts your grades massively. Plus these days you can re-sit exams multiple times so it shouldn’t be too big a problem.

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Guest absolutezero
Thanks cells, OU looked good but I'm always open to other ideas before I sign up.

I (was) okay on that score. Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry A levels, all at grade A when it meant something.

My concern is whether I have left it too late, but not a lot I can do about that!

Don't be daft!

It's amazing how much of it comes back to you.

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Yes you are correct, sometimes people freeze

Happened to me on one practical physics exam at a-levels.

All my physics exams were very high 90-100% pass marks but this one exam was a grade E.

I don’t know WTF happened; I just spent all my time on this fracking spring experiment doing it over and over and over again, I just remember doing the experiment but something in my mind kept saying the results looked dodgy so I went back and repeated it many times. Didn’t get to the other 2/3rds of the paper done.

Only time it ever happened to me, still don’t know how to explain it to this day. Wasn’t a difficult exam either. Didn’t bother me too much as the other exams pulled me up.

Overall I think it is rare though and probably extremely rare to happen on lots of exams such that it impacts your grades massively. Plus these days you can re-sit exams multiple times so it shouldn’t be too big a problem.

Heh, I got an E in Chemistry back then, mainly because I suck at practical experiments. That, and I missed some key sessions. Although having a teacher that is a one-way dictaphone doesn't help (in contrast with my Biology teacher who kept even the marginal students interested). Regardless, I'm clearly not cut out to be a scientist :P

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Thanks cells, OU looked good but I'm always open to other ideas before I sign up.

I (was) okay on that score. Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry A levels, all at grade A when it meant something.

My concern is whether I have left it too late, but not a lot I can do about that!

Well you have the subjects for it.

I found physics fun to do so I would recommend it. But you need to be a certain type of person. You really need to enjoy working equations and get a buzz from solving complicated problems.

Depending on how long ago you did you’re a-levels I would recommend you go back and do math/physics again. Should take you 3-6 months instead of 2 years. Things come back quickly.

I would recommend you buy "mathematical methods in the physical sciences by mary L.boas". its is the book we used for first year and some second year math. If you can go through that book before you start your guaranteed to do well. It does get a lot harder but that is a great foundation for everything else. A second book on the same subject is always helpful and advanced engineering mathematics Erwin kreysig is ok but not as good as marys book.

My advise would also be to take the courses that are the easiest. I took the hardest ones for the principle of it but you would rather get a higher grade because no one afterwards will care about the particular courses you did.

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Don't be daft!

It's amazing how much of it comes back to you.

It's the effiicency of the brain, for all that "towel round the head" thinking you have to do in these subjects. You always hear that stat about most mathematicians doing their best work before they're 30.

I can do facts and calculations fine, but I remember how difficult it was to grasp some of the concepts. From what cells is saying they haven't made it any easier.

I'm going ahead now as the finances and motivation are both in place, it would be (a lot) annoying if having sorted out the MMO the old grey matter wasn't up to it any more. Only one way to find out. Starts in October.

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