Call for university applications to be made after A-level results


Students should apply for university after they get their A-level results, in a major shake-up proposed by university and college staff.

The University and College Union (UCU) says the move will eliminate unconditional offers and the “chaotic” clearing process.

A report, Post-qualification Application: A Student-centred Model For Higher Education Admissions In England, Northern Ireland And Wales, published on Monday, suggests how the admissions system could be overhauled.

Under the proposal, students would apply to university only after finding out their exam results and start the first year of their higher education course in November.

According to the UCU, the reforms would make the system fairer, and bring the UK into line with the rest of the world.

18-year-old university applicants receiving any kind of unconditional offer
18-year-old university applicants receiving any kind of unconditional offer

It says no other countries use predicted grades to award university places, and seven in 10 staff involved in university admissions back the move to post-qualification application.

Ucas figures show that in 2018 more than a third of 18-year-olds applying to university in 2018 received a form of unconditional offer before completing their school qualifications.

The report also looks at how to improve advice for students when it comes to deciding what to study, and calls on the Government to commission an independent review of university admissions.

UCU head of policy, Matt Waddup, said: “There is growing support for a shift to a system where students apply to university after they have received their results.

“This report sets out how that could work in practice.

“Such a move would not only be fairer for students, it would bring the UK into line with the rest of the world and eliminate the use of controversial unconditional offers and the chaotic clearing process.

“The current admissions process based on predicted grades is failing students and needs an urgent overhaul.

“The time has come for the Government to grasp the nettle on this issue and commission an independent review of higher education admissions to take forward the agenda.”