Presentation on theme: "APR Applicant Voice – Current System APR Evidence."— Presentation transcript:
APR Applicant Voice – Current System APR Evidence
Research objectives ▪To explore the views of schools and careers advisers on the current UCAS admissions system – and to explore any ideas for a fairer, more efficient system ▪To help develop hypotheses which will be tested at Module 14 ▪Topics included: ▫Perceptions of the admissions system – including weaknesses and applicant frustrations ▫Is any type of applicant advantaged or disadvantaged by the system? ▫Unsuccessful applicants – to what extent is the process itself a factor? ▫Do we need revolution or evolution? ▫Suggestions for an improved system ▫What would be the impact of suggested improvements?
Methodology ▪7 interviews with schools, careers advisers and an FE college ▪4 interviews face-to-face, 3 via telephone ▪Interviews lasted approx 40 minutes ▪Findings and verbatim quotations were recorded in an Excel analysis grid
Perceptions of current system ▪Similar views from schools and advisers: ▫UCAS system is straightforward ▫It generally works very well once you get to know it ▫But students need a great deal of support throughout ▫Perception that the earlier you apply, the more likely you are to be successful/get a response in good time We've evolved our systems to fit in with what UCAS does (School, England) I think it works really well. The process itself is straightforward enough (School, NI) [The] UCAS [application process] works because the [school] staff know it well (Careers adviser, England)
More quotes - current system I like the equality that the system brings, in that youngsters are looked at as individuals (Careers adviser, NI) There is an expectation amongst the rest of the students, that not submitting [in January] would put them at a disadvantage because those places would be offered. And in fact, I know from certain admissions tutors that certainly is the case (School, England) [The UCAS system is] the way it is and I think we have to all just get on with it (School, NI) Using your website is really straightforward (School, NI)
Positive features of current system ▪Track and Adviser Track well liked ▪Extra and Clearing also praised ▪Insurance offer is important – especially this year with increased competition ▪Personal statement and reference worthwhile The Track is brilliant, it's really easy to use, the students love it. I find [Adviser Track] brilliant [as well], because you can keep up to date with your students. (School, NI) Extra is really useful. It means students who haven’t got any offers don’t have to wait until Clearing (FE college, England) UCAS itself generally seems to operate pretty effectively (School, England)
Weaknesses of current system ▪There is a lot of uncertainty for students and predicted grades don’t always reflect final results. ▪Timescales: ▫Offer period (and Clearing period) is too long ▫Stressful for applicants – especially this year with increased competition ▫Application phase is too early, some change their mind after submitting ▫January deadline is too soon after Christmas holidays ▪Students make mistakes – they change their mind late on and don’t have an insurance choice with a lower offer. ▪Students can be disadvantaged if they lack support from parents and/or school– e.g. help writing personal statement. ▪There is insufficient HEI feedback to unsuccessful applicants.
Weaknesses – some quotes There are crunch times in the cycle, there's an awful lot of pressure on applicants and on advisers and on UCAS as a system and on higher education institutions (School, England) It is immensely stressful for students and families at certain times and the lateness of [offer]-making this year has made it a particular feature (School, England) [It's difficult for students] making a decision on [predicted grades] that could change very easily one way or the other (School, NI)
Other niggles ▪Applicant problems logging into Track ▪Website can be difficult to navigate ▪Entry requirements and abbreviations used on course finder are confusing ▪Applying is more difficult for those studying non-standard qualifications ▪Course Search – can’t compare courses, HEI entry profiles variable quality ▪Adviser Track more difficult with large numbers of students ▫Students sometimes appear alphabetically, not in tutor group ▫Can’t see the whole form when looking at students’ offers [When applying, students] sometimes find it difficult to work out how to put in things like counselling qualifications. It’s fairly straightforward for the A Level students and the National Diploma, but for a lot of our students that have got various hotchpotches of qualifications, they do struggle (FE college, England) Adviser Track is fairly clunky. You just can't see what you need to do, unless you've got very small numbers of students and time to trawl through every single one of them by hand (School, England)
Benefits of PQA ▪More certainty for all. Offers are not conditional on achieving predicted grades ▪More time for applicant to make the right course decision ▪Efficiency: fewer transactions for HEIs The student has already made their decision at the point of application, so there's no faffing about [with] firm, insurance and all the rest of it. Go for a system where students only submitted their application once they knew their grades. That would be a far more straightforward, but very frantic system (School, England) [PQA] would be in lots of ways, much easier. They do it in other countries, don’t they? (FE college, England)