Understanding University AdmissionsNeelam Mirza Pathways & Qualifications Officer
Admissions • Competition for the best universities is tough - getting a place at a preferred institution is not a foregone conclusion • Last year Leeds received over 50,000 applications for their undergraduate courses, for a total of 7,000 places
Choosing a subject • Choose a subject before an institution… • Students need to think about … • What interests them? • Can they commit to a minimum 3 years? • Subjects they are currently studying? • Ideas – subjects they might want to continue • Ideas – related subjects they might be interested in • Ideas – subjects they definitely want to avoid • Careers they are interested in? • Do they want to study something completely different? • What ‘new’ subjects are available? • What pre-requisites do courses have? • Be open-minded and realistic about the options …
Choosing a course • Wide range of course structures available • Foundation, Bachelor degree, Undergraduate, Masters degree, Single Honours, Joint Honours • Other opportunities - Integrated work placement, opportunities to study abroad • Learning style, i.e. Medicine – Problem based or Systems based • Practical work / field studies • Don’t let them be fooled by course titles! • Course title vs Course description • Make realistic choices: • Don’t let them set their sights too high or too low • Try to make sure they meet all the entry criteria (remember this might include specific subject grades and GCSE results) • Check admissions policies for further and more detailed information on how applications within that academic school are assessed
Do the research • UCAS Website • www.ucas.ac.uk • Open Days • www.opendays.com • League Tables/ Good University Guide • www.timesonline.co.uk / www.unistats.com • Student Written Reviews • www.push.co.uk • Prospects • www.prospects.ac.uk
How to apply? • UCAS • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service • Central applications agency for HE applications in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland • UCAS operates on behalf of all full-time HE courses at member institutions • Handles over 450,000 applications per year • www.ucas.com • Online applications system – one application, consideration of up to 5 University choices
The UCAS Process • Apply from 1 September 2011 for 2012 entry • Start preparing early – check requirements • 15 October 2011 deadline for Oxford / Cambridge and for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science/Medicine • 15 January 2012 / 30 June 2012 deadlines • RVHS Deadline is 21st October 2011 – October half term
Admissions process – the reality Jun – Jul - Aug – Sep – Oct – Nov – Dec – Jan – Feb – Mar – Apr - May - Jun – Jul - Aug – Sept - Oct Think Think Apply Apply Decide Decide Go Go Go Standard UCAS applicant Med + Dentistry + Vet Science + Oxbridge Applicants UCAS Extra applicant Clearing applicant
Personal Statement • Most important element of the UCAS form • Interviews less popular • More emphasis on personal statements • This is the students chance to • Sell themselves to admissions tutors • stand out amongst the applications !!!
What admissions tutors are looking for • Students who • Are suited to the course • Have qualifications and qualities for it • Are conscientious, hardworking and unlikely to drop out • Able to work under pressure • Can adjust to new university environment • Have good communication skills • Show dedication to the course and researched it well • Have genuine interest in the subject and a desire to learn more • Source: www.studential.com
Academic reference • Both students and staff need to factor in sufficient time to write an academic reference. • • Some things the reference should mention include: • students suitability to the programmes applied for and how successful you think they are likely to be • students performance on their current programme of study • any personal qualities which will benefit students at University. Such as skills, aptitude, enthusiasm for a particular subject area.
Academic Reference • ACADEMIC QUALITIES - this is the most important part of the reference. • Talk about: what has the student already achieved, what qualities are they developing, and how are they tackling any difficulties? What evidence can you give for the applicant’s qualities? • PERSONAL QUALITIES - is the applicant ready for Higher Education? They will have to take greater responsibility for their own work, make new relationships and probably live away from home. What evidence do you have of their personal qualities and ability to meet new challenges? Don’t forget the basics, such as honesty, reliability and attendance. • SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES - if the applicant has been held back by health or family difficulties, tutors need to know this if they are to judge fairly. • ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL - You are writing a reference for the student, not the school, however proud you may be of your institution! • Some tutors don’t want to know anything at all, but some want brief information, especially on anything which may have affected the application adversely, such as significant staffing changes or if subject combinations useful to the applicant could not be offered.
Contextual admissions • The University of Leeds is committed to ensuring applicants are considered holistically and we identify those applicants who have the potential to succeed at the University of Leeds. • Applicants who have experienced educational or social disadvantage will be identified (through a combination of school performance and geographic factors) and flagged to admissions staff. The admissions staff are then able to contextualise the applicants’ potential and consider making an Access to Leeds offer alongside the standard offer.
Access to Leeds • Access to Leeds applicants for 2012 entry have to meet two of the following criteria to be eligible for the scheme: • Be from a household whose income is £25,000 a year or less Or in receipt of Educational Maintenance allowance in Year 13 • Be the first from immediate family to apply to HE • Have attended a school which achieved less than national average 5 A*-C passes in 2010 (including English & mathematics) • Have no option but to attend a local university • Had their studies disrupted or adversely affected by circumstances in their personal, social or domestic lives • Be in (or have been in) public care • Live in a geographical location with low progression to HE
Making Firm and Insurance choices Applicants need to consider their firm and insurance choices careful. Ensure the that the lower offer is the insurance and the higher grade offer is the firm. Applicants must understand that if they meet the grades for their firm choice, their insurance offer is automatically declined and offered to someone else.
Recent admissions highlights that are worth a mention . . . • Use of the A* • Early applications • Acceptable qualifications • Adjustment – the opportunity to trade up for candidates who exceed their offer • Use of GCSE’s
Points To Remember • Meet the entry requirements – Check level 3 and GCSE requirements • Personal statements • Predicted Grades and achieved qualifications • Academic reference