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To AABe or not to ABBe (a very challenging question). Paul Teulon – Head of Admissions King’s College , London. Student Number Control (AAB). 1990s through to mid-2000s – student number expansion Late 2000s – student number controls tightened up, demand for places starts to outstrip supply

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To aabe or not to abbe a very challenging question

To AABe or not to ABBe(a very challenging question)

Paul Teulon – Head of Admissions

King’s College , London

Student number control aab
Student Number Control (AAB)

  • 1990s through to mid-2000s – student number expansion

  • Late 2000s – student number controls tightened up, demand for places starts to outstrip supply

  • Selective universities chose to grow PGT and international students rather than UK/EU home

  • Government perhaps seeking levers to increase intake amongst the best HEIs in England

Student number control
Student Number Control

  • Universities can potentially recruit an infinite number of ‘AAB equivalent’ students

  • Universities have a Student Number Control for ‘non-AAB equivalent students’. Small tolerance band, fines imposed if these are not met.

  • Within that a sub-total for SIVs (Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subjects), Physical Sciences and Modern Languages

  • Number of places reduced in SNC to allow for AAB+ growth

Which hei could be affected most
Which HEI could be affected most

  • Oxford and Cambridge

    • 90% AAB+ Tutorial system and costs likely to prohibit growth

  • Russell Group university

    • 60% AAB+ Could grow – but high level of competition

  • Mid-ranking HEI – post 1992

    • 25% AAB+ Might lose out to RG/prestigious HEIs looking to grow

  • Lower ranking HEIs

    • Almost no AAB – reduction in SNC, but predictable

    • Some FE in HE could be awarded some of 20,000 extra places


  • If a university wanted to grab more AAB students then could they?

    • Competition from other HEIs

    • Less students applying to university (7-8% in England)

    • Academic Staff in place

    • Staff:Student Ratio – NSS

    • Physical estates constraints

    • Grade requirements in excess of AAB

    • Not all qualifications are equal – Access to HE

    • Around 70,000 AAB+ students in the UK

Offer making
Offer Making

  • Based on predicted grades – only 10% predicted correctly across their base three A-level subjects

  • Students who apply as AAB+ likely to end up as non-AAB?

  • AAB+ offers give the HEIs more control over their SNC

  • Make more offers in case of increased/perceived competition?

Firm and insurance
Firm and Insurance

  • Might students choose to make different decisions with their Firm and Insurance?

  • Firm AAA Insurance AAB

  • Firm AAA Insurance ABB

  • Firm AAB Insurance AAB

  • Firm AAB Insurance ABB

Aab vs wp

  • AAB encourages selective universities to take more traditional students as Access to HE and other more vocational subjects not included

  • Higher grades mean that a larger proportion of your students are likely to come from independent schools and from traditional backgrounds

  • AAB and WP(OFFA) are perhaps pulling in opposite directions

What should students do what should you encourage advise
What should students do, what should you encourage/advise?

  • Better to stick with original choice unless originally aspired to or declined an AAB choice due to lack of confidence in grades

  • Course content/structure check essential

  • May encourage students in 2012/13 to work to achieve ABB or higher to give them a perception of greater choice

  • May encourage grade inflation by Universities in 2012-13

  • Adjustment Period/Changing Choices/Clearing

    • Be realistic about choices and vacancies

    • Check accommodation, scholarships –may not be available

    • Shortlist of 5-10 possible “targets”

    • Check possible vacancies before clearing starts in August

  • What should students do what should you encourage advise1
    What should students do, what should you encourage/advise?

    • 2013 entry: make students aware of ABB issue but play it down

    • 2012: brief meeting/communication with your Y13 students?

    • Avoid complacency or raised expectations

    • Medics – 4,000 unplaced Medics for 2012 entry as of 16th May 2012. Many will achieve AAA-ABB at A level

    • Contact your key feeder Universities - possible flexibility at the ABB-AAB borderline

    • Beware grade inflation – Unistats/Guardian/KIS will have actual UCAS tariff on entry for 2010-11

    • Encourage points/grades spread on future UCAS choices

      x1 aspirational/worth a punt

      x3 on or close to realistic predictions

      x1 good fall-back choice

    Aab and snc aston university position and response
    AAB and SNC – Aston University position and response

    • 35-40% of our students achieved AAB+ or equivalent, higher for ABB+

    • 1,300 “core” places (SNC), 2,000 places overall

    • Require 700 students with AAB+ or equivalent

    • BTEC – all Aston students required DDD from 2010

    • Placement Year Fee (£1,000) and extensive Scholarships also allowed Aston to bid for 290 additional Govt places in the “Margin” despite standard fees of £9,000

    • 70% of Aston students on Sandwich or Year Abroad Degrees with £1,000 or zero fees

    • The Squeezed Middle?

      • AAB+ Aston Excellence Scholarships irrespective of family income (£4,000 over 4 years inc placement year)

    Trading up releasing into clearing changing from cf to ci choice
    “Trading Up”, Releasing into Clearing/changing from CF to CI choice

    • If they are not eligible for adjustment it still frowned upon unless for good reason

    • Will they get accommodation, other uncertainties?

    • Is it really the best choice for them – outside influence?

    • Is it really a “better University?”

    • Are they actually eligible for adjustment?

    • Are they making a rational decision?

    • Likely to increase in 2012 despite Adjustment

    Missed the grades applied late better grades clearing and confirmation
    Missed the grades/Applied Late/Better Grades? to CI choiceClearing and Confirmation

    • Be proactive

      • Get them ALL to check passwords etc with UCAS Track/Apply

      • Phone (don’t email) and visit

      • Be persistent but realistic

      • Email/text correspondence from Universities common

      • Check accommodation deadlines etc

    • Be flexible, have a Plan B before results day just in case. 2012 entry AAB issue may be interesting but risky too

    • Not all results published in mid August….IB, BTEC etc in July

    • Find Clearing vacancy information

      • UCAS, University Websites, Telegraph

    • Speedy (not rushed) but rational decisions….and don’t be in Ibiza

    Last minute changes and no shows
    Last minute changes and no shows to CI choice

    • Some Universities plan/allow for this in their target numbers but now harder due to funding/date change, especially for non-AAB candidates

    • Frustrating – your students may be missing out on a place held open by someone else

    • Just as common for popular courses as for clearing entry/recruiting courses

    • Essential to let a Firm Choice University know asap

    • Around 3 students in every 100 UK wide

    • Encourage good advice and communication

    • Encourage students to come in to school/college on results day to see you.

    Realistic but positive
    Realistic but positive…. to CI choice

    • Vast majority get 4 or more offers (80% plus)

    • Applications per place often quoted – don’t forget students are making 4 other applications.

    • The debate dominated by a few thousand applications for a small number of highly selective courses - less than 2% of total.

    • Check entry requirements and specific requirements (eg A/AS/BTEC/GCSE/IB etc)

    • eg: Aston: 2011 entry: 12,000 UK/EU applications for 2,000 places: c80% of applicants received conditional offers. Average Grade on entry: AAB-ABB from best 3 A levels (390+ UCAS Points)

    Quality it s not just the usual suspects graduate level jobs 2010 graduates
    Quality: It’s not just the “usual suspects”….. to CI choice“Graduate Level” Jobs: 2010 Graduates

    1. Imperial College London 95.7%

    2. London School of Economics 95.6%

    3. King’s College London 88.8%

    4. University College London 87.8%

    5. Aston University 87.7%

    6. Cambridge University 86.6%

    7. Bath University 85.4%

    8. Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen 84.9%

    9. Warwick University 84.4%

    10. City University 84.0%

    11. Bristol University 83.3%

    UK average c70%. Aston above 20 of the 24 Russell Group Universities

    Source: HESA, Sunday Times University Guide – September 2011. Employed Graduates in “Graduate Level” employment

    Thanks for listening and keep in touch
    Thanks for listening and keep in touch to CI choice

    • Any questions or comments?

      [email protected]

      [email protected]

      Aston University Services for Schools and Colleges:

      Open Days at King’s :