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UK: Record-breaking number of girls are going to university

Men may not get into universities as many as as women do, but they outnumber women when it comes to enrolling into the toughest universities and courses. Source: Shutterstock

Thousands more female 18-year-olds in Britain have secured a university place compared to their male peers, figures from university admissions organisation UCAS as of last Friday morning reveal.

There are 133,280 women and 103,800 men going to university this year – this means a gap of 36 percent between the two sexes, an increase from 35 percent last year and 31 percent from five years ago, according to the BBC.

UCAS director of analysis and researcher Dr Mark Corver describes this as a “slowly growing wider” gap.

“More UK 18-year-olds will be starting university this autumn than ever before but large differences in who goes remain,” Corver said.

“Our research has shown the difference between 18-year-old men and women entering university is now similar to that between the richest and poorest halves of the population.”

While there are 1.4 percent fewer students who have gotten a university places this year, it is still higher than any other year at this point.

UCAS points to the jump in nursing placements, a field where women significantly outnumber men, as one factor why more women are going to further their studies compared to men. This year, there is a nine percent increase in the number of placements in nursing courses among UK 18-year-olds.

Researchers have also pointed to boys’ starting point in their school life and the different cultural attitudes towards academics between the two sexes, as possible causes behind their falling numbers in university.

A University of Bristol study found boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to have fallen behind much earlier, that is, by the time they start school. They struggle to make full sentences and follow instructions, which later make it difficult for them to catch up.

Whereas a Higher Education Policy Institute research into boys’ underachievement found boys are eight percent more likely to find school as a “waste of time” compared to girls.

But while men may not be getting as many university placements overall, they are reported to outnumber women when it comes to entry to the toughest universities and courses.

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