University applications for 2012, from UK applicants aged 17-24 years, are, to date, down by 12%. Subjects with the largest decline in applications include:
- Education – down by 30.4%
- Creative arts & design – down by 27.1%
- Business studies – down by 26.1%
Early applications to Oxford, Cambridge and to medical schools showed a fall of 0.8%.
Individual universities with the greatest drops in applications include:
- City University (down 41.4%)
- Goldsmiths (down 35%)
- Brunel (down 24%)
- Manchester (down 16%)
Conversely, some universities are experiencing rises in applications, including St Andrew’s, Scotland, where the number of applications from English-domiciled students alone rose by 15%.
Some Russell group universities have raised degree entry requirements in the last few weeks, well after the opening date for applications. Among the universities raising tariff/grade requirements are:
- Warwick – entry grades rising in four subject areas to “manage demand”, for example, sociology increasing from BBB in 2011 to AAB in 2012
- Nottingham – around 40 courses
- Surrey – prospective students heard this month that demands for 15 courses, including chemistry, mechanical engineering and psychology, had gone up
- Sheffield – around 60 courses
Advice to applicants from The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference is that students should print out the relevant admissions information from universities’ websites on the day their application forms are submitted, in case admissions tutors attempt to raise entry requirements at a later date.
The decline in UCAS applications has been accompanied by an increase in applications for apprenticeships and A-level (or equivalent) entry traineeships. For example, the accountancy firm Grant Thornton has seen a 45% rise in applications to its school-leaver training scheme for 2012.
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