Bad news: 2022 is set to be the hardest year on record to get into university

Good A-Level grades won’t necessarily guarantee your place at uni

In the news no year 13 wanted to hear, 2022 looks like it will be the hardest year on record to get into university.

Good A-Level grades won’t necessarily guarantee your place at uni with experts warning that poorer students may be considerably affected.

Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at Exeter University, told The Times: “Make no mistake, 2022 marks the beginning of a new tougher era in university admissions. A perfect storm of factors makes this the most highly competitive race for applicants in living memory.”

Last year, UK universities took on a record number of new students because so many achieved top exam grades.

While the number of school-leavers has grown, the number of post-school jobs or apprenticeships has not.

On top of all that, changes to the student loan system that will come into effect next year are thought to be putting people off taking gap years.

These factors combine to put pressure on the number of spots available for this year’s cohort of prospective freshers.

Professor Major is particularly concerned that the heightened competition for places at university will harm the prospects of disadvantaged pupils.

“My biggest fear is that poorer students, already disproportionately scarred by the pandemic, may lose out in this new highly competitive era not just this year but over the next decade,” he said.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Last year a record number of students secured places at university, including a record number of 18 year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Every year there is competition for places at the most popular universities and on the most popular courses, but government works closely with the higher education sector to ensure students are able to progress to high-quality courses that lead to good outcomes.”

Featured image: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

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