UNIVERSITY officials have given a cautious welcome to plans for the biggest shake-up in the admissions system for 50 years.
Staff and students at the University of Huddersfield, which takes in 4,500 new students each year, say there could be advantages in the proposed system of students applying for a place after receiving their A-level grades. At present, students apply based on anticipated grades. But the new proposals, which will go out for consultation, will mean a change in the A-level exams timetable and a delay in university courses until October.
Under proposals published by the admissions service Ucas, universities would no longer make offers to students based on their predicted grades.
The changes have been put forward after a review by Ucas found that the current application process is complex, lacks transparency and is inefficient and cumbersome.
The new system, which is likely to be introduced in 2016 at the earliest, would have a massive impact on the application system and lead to changes in both the school and university years.
Teenagers would sit their A-level exams earlier and apply for university over the summer, with courses starting in mid-October.
A Ucas spokesman said: “The cumulative effect of predicted grades, insurance choices and Clearing have led to a system that is complex, is thought to lack transparency for many applicants and is inefficient and cumbersome for higher education institutions”.
A spokesman at Huddersfield said they were keen to see the full proposals but said it would certainly make the admissions process far simpler and clearer, both for students and for the university..
Students union officials said it would hopefully ease stress for students anxiously awaiting exam results. The review found that fewer than 10% of students are applying to university with three accurate grade predictions.
And an estimated 20%-40% of university applications have predicted grades which fail to meet the minimum entry requirements of the course applied for.
Almost half (42%) of applicants hold a so-called “insurance” or back-up place that require them to get the same or better grades than their first choice course.
In a bid to tackle the problems, Ucas today advocated major reform of the system. The proposals call for the A-level exam period to last five weeks, and end 15 days earlier than at present. Results would be made available by early July.