Why has Competition for the Top University Places Increased…?

According to The Guardian, over 10 000 A-level students who are predicted to get three Bs in their A-levels this summer haven’t got a firm offer at any university – they will be relying on clearing.

This is because competition for those top places has increased this year, and there are two main reasons for this it seems…

In the short term, universities were forced to take on more students in the last two years because of grade inflation from Teacher Predicted Grades so they are chock-full already.

Universities have responded to this by increasing their required grades this year, because they don’t want to risk being over-subscribed for a third year in a row. They are simply being more cautious!

In the longer term there are also more 17-18 year olds applying to university now because of the (small) baby-boom in the mid 2000s – those babies are now coming to the age where they are applying for university…

The sad news for today’s younger teenagers is that the competition for places is going to be fierce for a few more years yet because this year’s university application cohort were born in 2005, and that ‘mini boom’ doesn’t peak until 2011….

Of course if the Pandemic doesn’t come back and get responded to with another chosen lock-down then Universities might be able to gradually increase capacity over the next few years to meet the increasing numbers of applicants, it’s not a severe spike after all, just a combination of factors causing a squeeze for this year.

In the meantime if you’re not getting your first choice It might be an idea to take a year or two out, you can always do a degree later on in life, and it’s becoming increasingly questionable whether they are worth doing anyway!

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