Figures Show Rise in University Applications from 18s in UK

According to the latest figures, the number of British 18-year-olds applying for university has surged this year. The number of school-leavers who applied for undergraduate courses commencing in September increased by an additional 5% at the January deadline, after two successive years of small increases in applications.

The UCAS university admissions service reported that 320,000 sixth formers applied for a place on a university course so far, compared to 306,000 in 2021 and nearly 50,000 more than at the same point in time in 2019.

These figures show a decade-long increase in the number of school-leavers choosing to progress with higher education. In just England, 44% of all 18-year-olds applied for a course in January, the highest it has ever been. Ten years ago, in 2013, only 33% did this.

In addition, there were record rates of applications among students in Northern Ireland and Wales. Another thing to note is the number of applications from students of disadvantaged backgrounds continued to rise. 28% of students of these backgrounds applied compared to under 18% in 2013.

UCAS Chief Executive, Clare Marchant said universities have taken good advantage of online recruitment events including virtual open days in addition to marketing their programs on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, which represents the majority of secondary schools said the rise in applications from students of disadvantaged backgrounds is a testament to the hard work of teachers throughout the pandemic.

He said: “However, it needs to be remembered that far fewer disadvantaged young people enter higher education than their more advantaged peers, and that this gap is particularly stark at the most selective universities.”

Applications from international students remained flat as a result of a continued fall in the amount of students from EU countries applying for courses in the UK. This is partly to do with Brexit as these students now face higher fees.

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