Deadline extension gives students time to get it right

April 21, 2000

University applicants would be given more time to apply for places under proposals being considered by admissions tutors.

At their annual conference in Aberystwyth last week, admissions officers voted to consider extending the annual deadline

for applicants by a month, to

January 15.

The move could make it easier for admissions tutors to choose between applicants, and cut drop-out rates by giving students more time to pick the right course at the right institution.

Mature students on access courses are likely to benefit from the changes. Anne Richards, head of admissions at the University of Central Lancashire, said:

"They are on one-year courses and are asked to apply at a point where they are still getting to grips with being back in education.

"It would give all students that little bit longer to see how well they are doing before applying."

However, delaying the deadline would put pressure on universities and colleges that ask students to attend an open day or interview.

The proposal will be included in a consultation held next month by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Admissions tutors also accepted a compromise solution on whether universities and colleges should know which other institutions a potential student had applied to.

Schools have long believed that this information is unfairly used. For example, an applicant who has applied to an elite institution and to one with lower entry standards might be considered a weak candidate by the elite institution.

Under the proposals, information on which other institutions candidates have applied to will be disclosed only after decisions on candidates have been taken.

But admissions staff are concerned they will not be able to see the choice of subject that an applicant has made at another institution, information that helps them to steer applicants towards more suitable courses as necessary.

Potential students should be allowed to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge universities, the admissions officers decided. The proposal will form part of the same consultation.

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