3 min read Education Politics

Top Universities Sacrificing Standards in Desperate Scramble to Fill Places

Think you’ve worked hard to get into your chosen university this year? Are you glad the sleepless nights of revision, revision and more revision are over? Are you proud of that A or A* that got you the conditional offer you know you worked your arse off for?

Your university doesn’t care.

Universities are being greedy and admitting too many students who can’t make the cut; and this has consequences.

Luckily, in the last year, I’ve written all about these emerging consequences that I have experienced in my first year of university. Here are some of them:

It’s no surprise that university is no longer a viable option for some college students and many students are forgetting about the idea altogether in favour of apprenticeships.

At the time of writing, 4,000 courses have vacancies at 15 of the 24 Russell Group universities.

So, if you’re going to be studying a competitive course at universities such as Durham, York, Glasgow, Bristol (Physics, A*AA) or Manchester (Law, AAA) or anywhere in the country for that matter, expect to have your A-level results immediately devalued on the 17th of August.

It turns out you didn’t have to work that hard after all, many of these universities will now begin dramatically lowering their standards to fill places in otherwise normally highly prescribed and elite courses.

Admittedly, this is how clearing often works but this year according to UCAS, student applications have dropped a massive 4%.

Since the cap on student places has been lifted, universities have attempted to cram courses with as many students as possible, and create new courses that don’t really mean much as a way to make vast amounts of revenue from your student tuition fees.

The Daily Telegraph has often commented that universities are more frequently accepting students to some courses regardless of their results.

To understand how bad it already is, Chloe Livadeas, 22, who read English at Cardiff University recalls her experience:

“I called up Cardiff, and usually you need AAB to do English Lit at Cardiff,” she said. “The conversation went so quickly. They asked me, ‘What did you get?’ I said ‘ACC’. They asked if the A was in English. I replied yes. They said ‘Ok we’ll have you.'” (The Telegraph)

This problem used to be in subjects like English Lit, Criminology, History, Geography, Psychology and Sociology but now with the pain of reduced UCAS applications in the STEM subjects, it’s going to start affecting those who have worked the hardest to get the best results on August 17th.

You might then think that this year is a good year for students who perhaps haven’t done as well as they expected to. However, this news is not good news for anyone.

Top universities will now be lowering their expectations and entry requirements for you and your fellow students, and that means they are lowering their estimations of you as a student, regardless of the fact you may have got the grades.

They are pushing down your market value, how much you are worth, after you’ve graduated.

Those who’ve worked hard at their A-levels and achieved the grades to go to these elite institutions are going to be put in the same room with those who have worked half as hard.

There is already no concept of merit left in the university system for first years and now it is corrupted from day one, the day you get offered a place on grades like ACC when the university initially offered AAB.

We will see more of this in times to come, more of the Russell Group doing away with their standards in favour of filling places and making revenue. Something has to be done about it, before a university education becomes meaningless.

I have always said; cut students first, not fees.

Some reaction to this news can be found in the comments of these posts by The Telegraph:



The Telegraph (1)

The Telegraph (2)


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