by Joe Mayes
Students could soon be applying to universities after their A-level results have been published if new proposals from the UK’s university admissions body are approved.
UCAS – the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – wants to see students sit their A-level exams a couple of weeks earlier than currently and then apply to universities in July and August once they have their results.
The proposals would mark a significant change from the current admissions process where universities offer places based on predicted grades.
UCAS argue that the changes, which could come into effect from 2016, would make the system simpler and overcome the current problem where students “need to make choices about higher education at least six months before they receive their results.”
It also argues that the current system favours families who are familiar with the admissions process, leaving others at a disadvantage.
Universities Minister David Willets has expressed approval for the UCAS recommendations, describing them as: “Good news for students”, whilst the National Union of Students, NUS, has also backed the proposals.
The NUS argues that some weaker applicants exceed predicted grades and therefore applying after results would make the system fairer.
However, some in the education establishment have expressed doubts about the suggested changes.
Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of leading universities, warned that applying after results would not “give enough time for candidates to make really informed choices.”
Meanwhile the Department for Education said it would mean “big changes to the timetable for exams and results.”
UCAS is putting the plans out for consultation until 20th January.