Coronavirus hasn’t actually put people off applying to uni, new stats show

Record number of people want to go to uni this year, despite the pandemic

Figures released show that young people actually aren’t being deterred from going to university, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Though many universities are worried about dropping numbers of applicants, new statistics suggest that more young people have applied for university places than ever before, with 17 per cent more applications being submitted during the pandemic than in the March-June period last year.

UCAS told The Tab that numbers of applicants are at their highest point in years: “The overall number of applicants, of all ages from all domiciles, currently stands at 652,790, and is the highest figure in four years.”

Lots of institutions have projected losses due to an assumed drop in the number of international students in attendance, but the UCAS figures show that there’s actually a 10 per cent increase in number of non-EU international applications – though EU applications have fallen by two per cent this year.

The most telling statistic released by UCAS is that 40.5 per cent of all 18-year-olds in the UK have applied for university, “the first time more than four out of ten have applied by this point in the cycle.”

One fear that many young working-class students had was that the pandemic would keep them out of university, but the figures also suggest that “over a quarter of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds across the UK have applied to university.”

Even more shocking is that the figures show even fewer numbers of students are planning to defer their studies than in 2019, despite many students suggesting deferral was a very real possibility.

Catherine, who is hoping to head to the University of Bristol this year, told The Tab that she hadn’t been put off by the pandemic: “Coronavirus has definitely changed the way that university will be – especially for first years. Nonetheless, I’m still excited to start! Regardless of lectures being online and smaller seminars, I’ll still be studying a subject I love whilst making new friends, and moving to a new city.”

When asked why she isn’t deferring, Catherine said: “I think I have a better chance of getting in this year, and I really want to move out as soon as possible!”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

This is what it was like to take a flight home during the pandemic

Rishi Sunak is going to announce paid six-month work experience for young people

‘It’s a relief but we’re still uncertain’: Arts students on the £1.5bn investment