Labour would make students apply for university after A-level results day Watch

Poll: Would you prefer to apply to uni after A-level results day?
Yes - the system needs to change (73)
73%
No - the current system works (27)
27%
She-Ra
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It would mean students would be able to approach universities with their actual grades after results day.

It would also mean Freshers Week would start slightly later.

Labour have shared their reason for this is because predicted grades are 'wrong' in the vast majority of cases and some students from poorer backgrounds are missing out on opportunities.

Would you prefer to apply to uni after A-level results day?
Last edited by She-Ra; 4 days ago
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Okay123
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It depends how the university year would then function if I’m honest. Like would it end later if it’s starting earlier?

Part of me is yes because then I can apply to places I know I can get into.

The other part of me is no because my offers were a massive source of motivation for me to attempt to achieve my grades (which we will find out if I have tomorrow)
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She-Ra
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(Original post by Okay123)
It depends how the university year would then function if I’m honest. Like would it end later if it’s starting earlier?

Part of me is yes because then I can apply to places I know I can get into.

The other part of me is no because my offers were a massive source of motivation for me to attempt to achieve my grades (which we will find out if I have tomorrow)
It would probably push things back a little. But because of the international student market, start dates couldn't change too dramatically.

I see what you mean about motivation. Would just aiming for the average tariff not be enough?

Good luck tomorrow
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artful_lounger
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Well students themselves seem to have decided that already, since more and more are applying through clearing, and increasingly numbers are applying through clearing without having applied by the earlier deadline - when they have their grades and know what they can apply to.

The admissions process is being reviewed by the OfS, and the UCU has called for a shift to a post-results application (which is more typical of universities across the world). It's not really just a Labour policy/issue as implied, it's being considered in a wider frame by the HE sector.

But yes, the reliance on "predicted grades" and the pressures associated with waiting for results then applying through clearing needs to change.
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Well students themselves seem to have decided that already, since more and more are applying through clearing, and increasingly numbers are applying through clearing without having applied by the earlier deadline - when they have their grades and know what they can apply to.

The admissions process is being reviewed by the OfS, and the UCU has called for a shift to a post-results application (which is more typical of universities across the world). It's not really just a Labour policy/issue as implied, it's being considered in a wider frame by the HE sector.

But yes, the reliance on "predicted grades" and the pressures associated with waiting for results then applying through clearing needs to change.
When do you think this change could be implemented?
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She-Ra
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
When do you think this change could be implemented?
It's been talked about for years and universities don't really want to make the change.

It would take a while as there are a lot of logistics to consider and a big change to process.

What would you prefer to happen?
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Examsareoversoon
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I think it makes much more sense, as predicted grades are notorious for being unreliable.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
When do you think this change could be implemented?
As in, when do I think it should be implemented as a policy by a government, or when do I think students should apply?

For the former, I have no idea, whenever possible I suppose. Different approaches could take different amounts of time to implement, and likely would need to be phased in over time anyway.

Regarding the latter, it's difficult to say, as it depends on how it was approached. While many students can and do apply through clearing after results day, and if they changed the process for application so that applications are made at this point and so students get a decision fairly quickly after applying, it doesn't work for all courses. Those with interview processes (clinical courses, Oxbridge, many creative arts courses, some others) usually won't have enough time in that frame to do all of that. While some such courses appear in clearing I get the impression it would probably to arrange on a large scale (particularly for e.g. medicine) rather than potentially just a handful of applicants.

If results day were sooner, then that would provide more time over the summer for potential interviews and so on. However this would then mean less time for marking which may not be feasible...unless the exams were held earlier, like the IB exams. IB results come out quite a lot earlier than A-level results, so if A-level results were timed with those then it may allow the necessary time. This would, in theory, give less "teaching time" but in terms of the amount of content covered over the entire IBD, it's more than for 3 (or even 4) A-levels (just split into more subjects at a lesser level of depth) so hypothetically it should still be possible to teach the A-level curriculum with a month or so less time at the end.

However given how underfunded teaching is, to the point of crisis, this could be a deathknell to many state schools offering A-levels and may push some who can't then provide that teaching to shift towards other qualifications (e.g. BTECs) primarily or in whole. This does raise the the issue of the other (sometimes) less common qualifications results days; I don't know when e.g. BTEC awards, CACHE diplomas, Cambridge Pre-U etc get results, and if these are after that results date then it would be necessary to shift these forward to have a functioning application process, or these students end up in the same situation of predicted grades and waiting on results.

Alternately they could have the A-level exams taken in January or so in year 13, and the remainder of year 13 spent doing some kind of EPQ like experience. They could either try and condense the material into that shorter time, or merely truncate the syllabus. This would require the university courses that need certain prerequisite knowledge to teach it on the course, however this is perhaps less of a major issue since most outside of the most competitive end up re-covering and expanding on A-level content in the first term to bring everyone up to the same standard, and the EPQ-esque experience would give students more strength in doing independent research work on extended projects, which is obviously a key skill developed at university which most students haven't had as much experience of before (so that would lessen the need for the university to guide students through such skills in the earlier stages of degrees).

A more ambitious option would be to have essentially a mandatory gap year for all students, and applications are in the year after leaving school. Although some might balk at this, I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea. If they did adopt this approach as part of a wider ranging reform of 16-19 education and training, the final year after school ends could then be spent in a sort of "national service" format, except not limited to the armed forces. Many students apply to university just because the only thing they've known is school, and often apply without knowing really what they want to do. A gap year spent working could be helpful for these students to either realise what they want to do, or discover they're happy spending more time in the workforce before applying (or just not going to uni). However this would need appropriate support from business and the government, to ensure equal opportunities are afforded etc.

Most of the above however assumes an overly optimistic view of how efficiently this could be implemented and how likely different stakeholders would be to sign on to support such changes.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 4 days ago
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Crapaud8
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#9
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Would be nice to be able to target universities you know you can get into after your a levels and be able to choose the ones you really like rather then a range with different entry requirements.
Would also mean there wouldn't be any more unconditional offers flying around which would be good.
However it would mean their would be a lot of stress and work to be done after results day, it might get very busy and I'm not sure that would help poorer students in any way.
How are universities and subjects who require interviews meant to function such as Oxbridge and medicine. Are they just going to depend more on entry exams to discriminate for interviews. Feel as if that's unfair to poorer students who are talented but don't have access to resources to help them for their entry exams and interviews.
I agree it would be nice for someone like me to choose universities after results day but I feel as if it wouldn't help disadvantaged students that much.
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by She-Ra)
It's been talked about for years and universities don't really want to make the change.

It would take a while as there are a lot of logistics to consider and a big change to process.

What would you prefer to happen?
I'd prefer applying after receiving results. Surely it's more logical to do this rather than have your offer based on predictions which are likely overinflated.
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SarcAndSpark
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I've been in favour of a post results application system for a long time now- as in general it's way less stressful for students and unis can make more accurate judgements.

However, it's worth bearing in mind that this would be a huge change to the application system for unis- and realistically, they couldn't process the volume of applications they do now between August and September/October- so it would maybe be looking at students starting in January. This leaves young people with quite a long gap with potentially no income and could impact disadvantaged students disproportionately.

I do think this is a bit of a soundbite policy from Labour that they possibly haven't thought through properly.
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Admit-One
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From a student's perspective, I think this would give more certainty and would be less stressful.

Logistically, I think it would be nearly impossible to implement without pushing back start dates quite considerably. Without doing so, all the following activities would need to be completed in the space of 6 weeks:

- Applying & processing
- Interviewing where needed
- Verifying all results and materials not received via UCAS
- Open days/visits
- Accommodation applications and allocations
- CAS/VISA applications and processing

The current system isn't perfect, but it at least has the benefit of decompressing the admissions process over the course of a year.
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PQ
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(Original post by She-Ra)
It would mean students would be able to approach universities with their actual grades after results day.

It would also mean Freshers Week would start slightly later.

Labour have shared their reason for this is because predicted grades are 'wrong' in the vast majority of cases and some students from poorer backgrounds are missing out on opportunities.

Would you prefer to apply to uni after A-level results day?
If predicted grades are "wrong" then take them off the application form. Very few universities make admissions decisions based on predicted grades (and those that do shouldn't be...because they're mostly rubbish and disadvantage certain groups).

That needs to be done and trialled first.

Switching to PQA isn't likely to fix the perceived problems with the system (and there's no good evidence right now that this is a problem - it's just UCAS and some teachers don't understand how and if predicted grades are used in admissions decisions and a handful of universities/departments clinging to something they know is wrong to make their life easier) and is likely to result in different unfairness.
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PQ
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(Original post by She-Ra)
It's been talked about for years and universities don't really want to make the change.

It would take a while as there are a lot of logistics to consider and a big change to process.

What would you prefer to happen?
I wouldn't say that it's universities that don't want to change - but that some universities/courses would be more affected than others and it requires change of the sixth form curriculum, speedier marking and later start dates for courses.

Scottish universities where students start in September (often early september) and where many applicants apply PQA with Highers while studying AH/extra Highers would normally not want to change...so that would cause big issues.
Subjects like medicine, health professions, performing arts and art & design where interviews/portfolios/auditions are required would be hard pressed to get through everything over the summer and would also cause big issues. If those subjects had to insist on a mandatory gap year/gap sixth months then that would have big impact on access from poorer backgrounds to those courses.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Admit-One)
From a student's perspective, I think this would give more certainty and would be less stressful.

Logistically, I think it would be nearly impossible to implement without pushing back start dates quite considerably. Without doing so, all the following activities would need to be completed in the space of 6 weeks:

- Applying & processing
- Interviewing where needed
- Verifying all results and materials not received via UCAS
- Open days/visits
- Accommodation applications and allocations
- CAS/VISA applications and processing

The current system isn't perfect, but it at least has the benefit of decompressing the admissions process over the course of a year.
I'd add to this list that students would need to sort their finance too, in most cases. I doubt SFE would be able to process everything in time. For students who need additional support, it would also reduce the amount of time available to sort DSA.

For courses that need it DBS checks, OH assessments etc would all have to be sorted too.

Certainly for courses that need to interview, I think the start dates would have to be pushed back a long way.
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Obolinda
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I guess it makes sense, people can have over and under estimated predictions for variety of reasons. I do not know much about the logistics though! I don't know much about uni applications at all! Are people put off by higher entry requirements than their prediction?
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Retired_Messiah
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Predicted grades were the absolute biggest load of ****. My philosophy teacher was unnecessarily anal about giving me a predicted grade that I absolutely could've achieved, whilst meanwhile I'd conned my maths teachers into giving me an artificially inflated grade on their part. The info that thus got handed to the unis I applied to had almost no bearing on reality whatsoever. That said, I don't know how much of the uni admissions process is actually based off the predicted grades - might they be better off just keeping things as they are but removing predicteds from the application process?

Having the offers there before I sat the exams was good for motivating myself. It also meant that when I completely missed my entry requirements they were able to immediately tell me that they were willing to take me anyway, whereas if I were applying to uni AFTER getting the results I would've probably never even gave my current a uni a look in because I was far off the standard entry reqs.
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Notoriety
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Who cares what those gum flappers think. The Greens will get in before those commies.
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JohanGRK
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#19
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Start putting children through public exams every year from year 10 onwards and keep the predicted grades ting

The Tories are remarkable in not having gotten a single HE policy decision right for nearly ten years (implementing integrated A-levels is, of course, the cause of this crisis)
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random_matt
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16% only achieve their predicted grades, garbage system to begin with.
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