NUS calls for reform of entrance procedures

August 23, 1996

The National Union of Students has called for reform of the university applications and admissions system amid a mad scramble for places after this year's A-level results.

The NUS believes that the present system limits choice by restricting prospective students to holding just one offer and one insurance offer. The union also believes that the clearing system puts too much pressure on people by forcing them to make snap decisions about institutions and courses.

The call follows the union's rejection of the recommendation from the Admissions Review Group, led by the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, to set up a two-phase applications and admissions system. The recommendation is out for consultation among members and the deadline is September 30. Instead, the NUS proposals would allow students to hold four or five offers and improve clearing by allowing students more time to make decisions about institutions and courses.

The NUS would also end the reliance on predicted results, amid claims that three-quarters of predictions are wrong, and perhaps adopt modular A levels as proposed by Sir Ron Dearing in his report into the education of 16 to 19-year-olds. Finally, the union wants the overall prioritising of choice and flexibility within a clearly defined system.

Just over 104,000 people were eligible for clearing at the start of this week and a proportion of the 88,000 who were waiting to hear whether their conditional offers had been confirmed are also likely to join the clearing scheme.

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