Unis to prioritise English language competency, predicted grades for 2022 admissions: study

University admission 2021 updates
Here's what you can expect when applying to universities beyond 2021. Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

The pandemic has badly affected university admissions in the past year. With vaccine rollouts underway, universities worldwide are ready to revive admissions to pre-pandemic levels. Through university admission 2021 updates, stakeholders and students are beginning to see that higher education will never truly be the same again — which can be said for most human endeavors in a post-pandemic world. What does that mean for school leavers looking forward to joining university in 2022?

As higher education consultant Marguerite Dennis told Study International earlier this year: “Numerous surveys and studies have revealed that since the outbreak of the pandemic, the attitudes of high school and college students have changed.”

One such report is outlining how universities around the world are changing their expectations of applicants. According to the ISC The Pathway from International School to Higher Education 2021 Report, 41% of universities worldwide are expecting international undergraduate enrolment to rise in the 2021-22 academic year. They are prioritising these university admission criteria:

  • secondary school leaving qualification
  • academic grades
  • language proficiency
  • motivation for application
  • knowledge and commitment to subject/discipline
University admissions

University admissions are changing, post-pandemic. Source: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP

University admission 2021 updates, post-pandemic

As you may expect, the pandemic has brought about university admission 2021 updates. Of the institutions surveyed, 38% “made changes to the weighting of its admissions criteria” in the past year. English language competency, portfolios, auditions, and previous or predicted grades are given increased weightage.

On the other end of the spectrum, the report also notes: “Although some HEIs have applied more flexibility, many have continued to rely on their standard admissions criteria with no change.” This means that although universities may become more flexible, the standards for university admission have not changed drastically.

Close to half of the universities surveyed said they are welcoming international undergraduates without traditional grades or scores. If you can’t provide exam transcripts (because your exams were cancelled, for example), these universities could ask additional questions at your interview or ask for additional references.

Besides that, university admission 2021 updates indicate certain universities have even begun accepting alternative proof of English language proficiency such as Duolingo. Others have become more flexible on submission dates for evidence and documentation. As one UK university said, “There are clearly benefits in applying a holistic approach to the admissions process.”

Your admissions interview is another important part of the application process. In a time when universities are offering more flexibilities, admissions officers may place greater importance in the whole individual rather than grades. As an applicant, put your best foot forward by highlighting your strengths, and how you are using them to achieve your academic, career, and life goals.