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Mike Boxall, an independent researcher and consultant on higher education policies and strategies, and a senior adviser to PA Consulting, considers the emerging post-COVID world and its implications for the future of universities. His blog is based on a paper published recently by PA Consulting, and co-authored with its HE lead, Ian Matthias.
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Jonathan Baldwin, managing director of higher education at Jisc, reflects on a week that’s felt the force of people power – and says it’s time for university leaders to respond to students’ calls for change.
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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