Colleges snub entry proposal

February 10, 1995

Plans to introduce a post-results admissions system have run into trouble from colleges of higher education. The Standing Conference of Principals has opposed moves to allow students to apply to university after the publication of their A-level results.

A statement from them this week said that the present system is being revised prematurely, after having run for a year only.

"The impetus to review the present system appears to have been fuelled by criticism in the media and elsewhere which was levelled at the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service during the early stages of the 1994 admissions cycle. Those predictions of chaos and of disastrous consequences for candidates, in fact, failed to materialise."

The standing conference argues that a "computer-driven post results system would be impersonal, assigning applicants to institutions without interview and without regard to students' personal characteristics and aptitudes which are still given high priority in SCOP colleges".

Non-standard applicants would also suffer as a result of a system that "might have the greatest difficulty in codifying 'non-standard' criteria".

Tony Higgins, chief executive of UCAS, said: "At the moment proposals for a post-results system are being worked upon. It is premature for anyone to criticise proposals which do not yet exist."

He added that a basic tenet of any new system would be that students are selected on the same personal and academic criteria as at present.

The idea of a "shadow system" of interviewing, where students could go for interviews before sitting their A levels, did not win support from Ray Mann, administrative officer of SCOP.

"There would not be the same sense of commitment in these interviews as there is at the moment. There would be more of an 'open day' atmosphere."

The National Union of Studetns said that it supported a post-results system as a way of ensuring that students chose the right university.

A main committee meeting of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals was due to discuss the proposals today.

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