Clear up admissions melee

August 20, 2015

Robert Allison was right to point out in a blog post that the admissions system is confusing and unfair (“Clearing 2015: universities must put students first”, 12 August).

As the recruitment cap is lifted, we are seeing a rise in unconditional offers. These offers lack transparency, devalue A levels and call into question the practice of setting entry requirements at all. They are also based on predicted grades, which can be wildly inaccurate. In 2014, only 21 per cent of students predicted ABB went on to achieve those grades.

A survey by the University and College Union showed that there is real appetite for change among those in admissions. Seven out of 10 respondents supported a move to post-qualification applications. This system would be simpler, eliminating the need for the chaotic clearing and adjustment processes that pick up the pieces when predictions are proved wrong.

As universities continue to expand their numbers, the pressure on the system will only increase, so it’s time for a proper rethink.

Sally Hunt
General secretary, University and College Union

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