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Many issues await the attention of the new universities minister

In a week when the government reshuffled its cabinet, HE issues that made headlines gave the newly-appointed universities minister a taste of things to come, says Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the Institute of Student Employers .

Storm clouds are gathering over UK universities

The past week’s events and news are a sign of turbulent times for UK universities, warns Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University.

The UK must look after its global talent

Mike Ratcliffe, academic registrar at Nottingham Trent University, reflects on issues emerging from a packed week of higher education news.

Student complaints rise by nearly 21% in a year

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for higher education has reported almost a 21 per cent rise in the number of complaints it received from students last year – rising to their highest ever level at 2,371.

A third of university applicants regret A level choices, survey finds

Nearly a third of university applicants wish they had chosen different A level subjects, according to research from Which? University.

A survey of over 1,000 students conducted by Youthsight for Which? also found that four in ten wished they had thought more about what subjects might help them get into university.

Only around half (53 per cent) of the UK university applicants surveyed felt suitably informed about how their A-levels could affect their choice of university or course. Almost a third (30 per cent) said that the information and advice they received on which A-levels to take, failed to take into account how it may affect their degree and university choices.

A-levels can have a big impact on university applications, with some courses requiring specific subjects, and some universities not accepting certain disciplines. But less than half (41 per cent) of those we surveyed were aware that many universities have a list of A-level subjects they view less favourably.

Of those applying to university, a fifth (18 per cent) said different A-level subjects would have been better suited to the degree they were applying for.

To help students make better more informed choices, Which? University’s has launched a new A-level Explorer tool.

Alex Neill at Which? University, said: “Students know that choosing what to study at university is an important decision. However, our research shows that they are less clear about how earlier decisions could impact on the degree options available to them.

“While certain A-levels might suggest a particular degree path, our tool shows there are usually alternative options students can take. It’s important that students choose their A-levels with both degree courses and future careers in mind.”

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