About 28,000 college students in England, Wales and Northern Eire who utilized to go to school are with out a suggestion simply days earlier than A-level outcomes are on account of be revealed, in line with knowledge consultants.
In what guarantees to be some of the aggressive college admission rounds in current reminiscence, evaluation by DataHE discovered the whole variety of 18-year-olds not holding a suggestion has elevated from about 16,000 at this stage within the admissions course of in 2019 to 27,850 in 2022.
Among the enhance is on account of the very fact there are extra candidates than ever earlier than, however consultants say it’s also doubtless to have been pushed by an increase in rejection charges and extra conservative offer-making by high-tariff establishments that need to rein in recruitment after the excesses of the pandemic.
In response to Mark Corver, the cofounder of DataHE, the danger of candidates not holding a single provide at this level has risen from 6% to 9% within the house of two years, a 50% soar proportionally, again to ranges final seen when universities had to remain inside quantity controls.
“It will really feel like fairly a shock after almost a decade of steadily enhancing possibilities of getting a suggestion,” stated Corver.
His warning got here as England’s exams regulator Ofqual and the college admissions service Ucas despatched out an unprecedented letter to all A-level college students to attempt to reassure them, as rigidity mounts earlier than outcomes day on Thursday.
The letter says almost 300,000 UK 18-year-olds are holding a agency provide, up 7,000 on final yr and the very best on document, with 30,000 programs out there in clearing.
There continues to be a large quantity of uncertainty, nonetheless. After two years of increased than common grades throughout the pandemic – when exams have been cancelled and work was teacher-assessed – the federal government requested regulators to set boundaries in order that grades can be midway between these in 2019 and 2021, with grades to return to pre-pandemic ranges in 2023.
Final week it was reported that tens of hundreds of A-level college students with affords from their most popular college may very well be liable to shedding their locations as a result of of a projected fall of 10 share factors within the variety of A and A* grades in England, Wales and Northern Eire.
After document outcomes final yr, when 44.8% of grades have been both A or A* at A-level, consultants within the sector calculate that with the federal government recalibration this can fall to 35% (up from 25.5% in 2019).
Whereas virtually one in 5 (19.1%) grades have been A* final yr, this yr the proportion is predicted to say no to 13.5%. Equally, the variety of A* to C grades is predicted to go down from 88.5% in 2021 to 82%.
Corver stated college students, even these with out affords, mustn’t be overanxious. “Locations are there, however they is perhaps at universities or for topics which may not have been on an applicant’s preliminary shortlist and may want a little bit of analysis and adaptability to make the most of.”
Universities which obtained A-level outcomes on Friday evening confirmed there continues to be capability, however they’re warning that clearing will probably be busy and stated college students can have to think about associated topics and various establishments to be able to safe a spot.
In the meantime, Ucas disputed DataHE’s evaluation – which is based mostly on Ucas knowledge on the variety of college students “free to be positioned in clearing”.
Clare Marchant, the Ucas chief govt, stated a document variety of 18-year-olds utilized this yr and its knowledge confirmed greater than 97% of those college students obtained no less than one provide, which was additionally a document.
“There are a lot of the explanation why college students are eligible to seek out a spot in clearing. In some instances college students, who’re extraordinarily savvy and are consistently assessing their choices, more and more see clearing as an amazing choice to seek out a spot.
“The overwhelming majority of universities and schools could have programs out there this week and my recommendation to college students with no place is to keep it up along with your analysis and attain out to Ucas for those who require help throughout clearing.”
Alix Delaney, head of admissions on the College of East Anglia, stated: “We predict it to be a really busy clearing with lots of exercise and lots of universities with vacancies.
“Though there could also be some disappointment for many who have utilized to extremely aggressive programs, I feel there continues to be capability within the entire system for college students to seek out a spot at a college, ought to they want to go to review this September.
“They simply may need to take into consideration associated programs, topics or various universities.”
A Division for Training spokesperson stated: “We have now been working with universities to make sure affords replicate the grades college students will obtain this summer time. [There are] 281,500 18-year-olds within the UK holding a agency provide, up 7,000 on final yr and the very best on document – which means extra candidates are in a chief place to safe a most popular course than ever earlier than.
“Competitors for locations at essentially the most selective universities has all the time been excessive and this yr isn’t any totally different. There are a lot of alternatives out there this yr together with almost 30,000 programs out there via clearing, or high-quality vocational choices which can be simply as prestigious and rewarding as tutorial routes.”