results day
Were there happy faces on results day? Source: Shutterstock.

Earlier this month, UCAS – the United Kingdom’s university admissions service – released their end of cycle report. From fewer unconditional offers to more disadvantaged pupils beginning university, here are seven key points from the report.

1. More students from disadvantaged backgrounds entered university

It’s a record – the highest number of UK students from disadvantaged backgrounds ever enrolled at university this year. The entry rate stood at 13.8 percent. This is up 0.2 percentage points from last year. The future looks bright for underprivileged pupils.

2. But the gap has grown as more advantaged students enrol, too

Despite this victory for disadvantaged pupils, there is a downside. The gap in entry rates between the most advantaged and most disadvantaged students has widened.

The entry rates for more advantaged pupils has also increased. This increase is even more significant than the 0.2 percentage points gained by disadvantaged pupils. Advantaged groups are up by 1 percentage point, bringing their total percentage to 53.1 percent.

This means the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils has widened by 0.8 percentage points. There are staggering 39.3 percentage points between the two.

“Although our analysis shows that a record number of disadvantaged young people have entered higher education this year – with the greatest increase at higher tariff providers – gaps in participation remain wide,” UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant said.

3. The entry rate for black students has increased

More students who placed themselves in the black ethnic group entered university in 2017 than in 2016. Pupils from this group gained a 3.2 percentage point increase from last year. Of the ethnic group, 40.4 percent of students enrolled at university.

Tes reported the entry rates for all ethnic groups increased this year, however despite a 1.5 percentage point increase, the white ethnic group remains the lowest. Just 29.3 percent of white pupils entered university this year.

The gap between the white ethnic groups and all other ethnic groups is significant. White pupils are the least likely to enter higher education.

4. Offers for those straight out of school are up

While the overall number of offers fell, offer rates increased. So, applicants were more likely than ever before to receive an offer. In 2017, 77.3 percent of 18-year-old’s applications were given an offer.

5. The overall number of offers decreased for the first time in five years

Since 2012, the number of offers has been growing year upon year. However, this year UCAS saw a slight fall. A total of just over 1.9 million offers were made through UCAS in 2017, which is a slight decrease (0.1 percent) from last year.

Fewer students applied this year compared to 2016 and so this naturally affects the number of offers. This year saw a 3.7 percent decrease in applications.

6. The rate of unconditional offers is up by 40 percent

The number of unconditional offers is always significantly less than the standard conditional offers. This appears to be on the rise. For 18-year-olds, 2017 saw a significant 40 percent increase from 2016 on unconditional offers.

7. Fewer students achieved their predicted A-level results

Often, A-level applicants achieve lower grades on results day than they were originally predicted. This trend continued this year with just a quarter of placed applicants meeting or exceeding their predicted grades.

In 2017, there has even been an increase in the number of placed applicants being accepted into university despite missing out on their predicted grades. Nearly a quarter of applicants to medium and lower tariff providers missed their predicted A-level grades by four to six grades.

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