UCAS say record number of students got their first choice university

first choice university, university place 2021
© Golubovy

On A-level results day, a record 395,770 students have gotten the grades to secure their first choice university – which means 91% of incoming students are where they wanted to be

Last year, the COVID pandemic created a chaotic situation for school-leavers. With little support possible at a critical stage of education, A-Level examinations were called off. Instead, teachers were given the responsibility of determining the grades their students would have received – based on an ambiguous formula of pre-existing mock tests, coursework and estimation of character.

A different picture to 2020

The UK Government faced a huge backlash, which pointed out that schools located in more affluent areas were receiving a higher predicted grade – while all students in a socio-economically deprived community were handed the same estimations, despite their personal performance.

Now, the system is running. Again, students were unable to properly sit their A-Levels, due to the ongoing pandemic. In the UK, the country only truly opened up in July, which meant students did not get the level of support they need to face their exams.

91% of students at first choice university

According to UCAS, a record 20.7% of all UK students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds now have a place at university.

In total, 435,430 students have a place. This is up by 5% from 2020.

Following this, another record is set – with the most ever students being accepted at their first choice universities. Exactly 91% of students who now have a place, have a place exactly where they wanted to go.

When it comes to international students, there are also new records. A new high of 37,390 students from outside the EU have been accepted, with markets including Malaysia, US and Nigeria showing substantial increases in the amount of students sent over to the UK.

However, Brexit remains too fresh in the memory. It seems that there has been a drop of 56% in EU students being accepted to study in the UK.

‘Well done for your hard work this year’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tweeted that the “whole country” should celebrate these achievements:

‘Private school results have soared’

In response, Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green tweeted: “Students have worked incredibly hard & should be proud of their results.

“Yet Conservatives chaos has opened the door to unfairness. Attainment gap widened for: black pupils, pupils on free school meals, pupils in disadvantaged areas – while private school results have soared.”

According to the UCAS data, the attainment gap between the most disadvantage and advantaged students did not narrow this year.


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