Playing field resistant to levelling 1

March 7, 2003

Has anyone asked employers what they think of lowering admissions criteria for less-advantaged applicants ("Admissions war will be won only with imagination", THES , February 28)?

Most students opt for the best course their A-level grades allow in order to improve their chances of getting a good job on graduating. This means trying for highly rated courses at "good" universities from which blue-chip employers recruit. But under the new admissions-engineering regime will employers still rely on such reputations or will they spread their recruitment nets more widely? The acid test will be four years down the line when recruiters will have had first-hand experience of these grades-compensated students.

If the consequence of lowering admissions criteria for some is that others, particularly those from independent schools and top comprehensives, go elsewhere, then this will broaden the intake of "new" universities. Once all universities are on an equal footing in terms of social and academic intake, many students and employers will find that the new universities are very good in more ways than they had realised.

Karen Powell-Williams
University of Westminster Business School

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