UCAS Decision Making and Applicant Strategy in a changing market

Report
To ABBe or not to ABBe
(what is the question?)
UCAS Applicant Strategy in a
Changing Market
James Seymour, Director of UK Recruitment &
Outreach, Aston University
Workshop Outline
Student Number Controls explained
Application/decision strategy
Unconditional offers
When the offers come - CF/CI decisions
Clearing and adjustment strategies
I want your views and experiences – please feel free
to interrupt!
Student Number Control – 2014 entry
Universities can potentially recruit an infinite number of ‘ABB
equivalent’ students
Universities have a Student Number Control (SNC) for ‘non-ABB
equivalent students’. Small tolerance band, fines imposed if not met.
Within that a sub-total for SIVs (Strategically Important and Vulnerable
Subjects): Physical Sciences, Engineering and Modern Languages
Does not include Medicine, Dentistry, NHS, Teaching Agency funded
degrees
Lower limit for the most selective universities (WP or Euro issue)
It’s not just ABB+
Other qualifications included in the ABB+ equivalent including:
International Baccalaureate – 34 points+
BTEC – DDM
Includes BTEC/Diploma and A level mix for 2014
Cambridge Pre-U
Access to HE Diploma – “Overall Pass — must include 45 credits at Level 3,
of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher”
Graduates with first degree/PG degree
No EU/International country qualifications, other than Irish Leaving
Cert
Do you/your students realise this?!
Which HEIs were/could be affected most
Oxford and Cambridge
95% ABB+ Tutorial system and costs likely to prohibit growth – did not
expand in 2012 or 2013
Popular/Selective university (top 20-30)
50%-90% ABB+ Could grow – but high level of competition (Aston 50%
ABB+ in 2013) – limited expansion in 2012 by a handful. Most
experienced reduced intake on 2011, bounce-back in 2013
Mid-ranking HEI – pre-1992
30-50% ABB+ Might lose out to more “prestigious” HEIs looking to grow
Lower ranking/less popular HEIs
10-15% ABB+ – reduction in SNC, but predictable, may pick up more
BTEC DDM equivalent students?
Will “popular” Universities expand?
Limiting Factors include:
Lab/Seminar room space,
space in residences, staff
student ratios, professional
accreditation, National
Student Survey/student
experience, % of offers
made/applications received
Medicine, Dentistry, NHS
(Nursing etc),Teaching not
affected – still subject to
Student Number Controls
“Cambridge University will be able to enrol more
bright students under government plans” Guardian
Will “popular” Universities expand?
Balancing act of ABB+ and non ABB+ candidates amongst
Universities (2013-2014)
Widening Participation/OFFA targets and “Fair Access”
Replacing “Core” places when Government took them away to
create the “Margin”
ABB+ abolished in 2015 according to Chancellor Statement. NOT
wise to wait and try and get in next year – there are plenty of
spaces for non-ABB as well
Unintended/intended consequences already massive – but not
fully realised until 2014-17.
Who’s in and who’s out – Kings College
London example (note ABB not AAB)
2014 entry SNC ??
Only recently given the
exact numbers despite
offer making being in
full swing
*Teaching too
Offer Making
Based on predicted grades – only 10% predicted correctly
across their base three A-level subjects
Students who apply as ABB+ likely to end up as non-ABB?
Exam Boards – will % of A/B Grades decline again?!
ABB+ offers give the HEIs more control over their SNC
Make more offers in case of increased/perceived competition?
Will number of DDM or equivalent grades increase, will all
Universities move to DDM at BTEC?
ABB vs WP (Widening Participation)
More equivalent ABB qualifications (Access Courses and Mix of
A level and BTEC) may help redress any perceived unfairness
Higher grade policy may mean that a larger proportion of
students at competitive Universities are likely to come from
independent schools and from traditional backgrounds?
New lower threshold SNC limit for the most competitive
ABB and WP (OFFA) are perhaps pulling in opposite directions
Hence the possible abolition for 2015?
What should students do, what should you
encourage/advise?
Don’t panic or encourage panic!
Better to stick with original choice unless originally aspired to
or declined an ABB choice due to lack of confidence in grades
Course content/structure check essential
May encourage students in 2014 to work to achieve ABB or
higher to give them a perception of greater choice
May encourage grade inflation by Universities in 2014 to be
reduced again in 2015?
Adjustment Period/Changing Choices/Clearing
Be realistic about choices and vacancies
Check accommodation, scholarships – may not be available
Shortlist of 5-10 possible “targets”
Check possible vacancies before clearing starts in August
What should students do, what should you
encourage/advise?
2014 entry: make students aware of ABB issue but play it down
Avoid complacency or raised expectations
Medics – 3,000+ unplaced Medics for 2014 entry as of May
2014. Many will have achieved AAA-ABB at A level
Contact your key feeder Universities - possible flexibility at the
ABB-BBB borderline or DDD/DDM etc
General Studies/Critical Thinking
Beware grade inflation – Unistats/Guardian/KIS will have actual
UCAS tariff on entry for 2012
Encourage points/grades spread on future UCAS choices
x1 aspirational/worth a go
x3 on or close to realistic predictions
x1 good fall-back choice
ABB and SNC – Aston University position
and response – 2013-14
50%+ of Aston students achieved ABB+ or equivalent in
2013
1,219 “core” places (SNC) in 2013
Required 900 students with ABB+ or equivalent.
BTEC – all Aston students have required DDD since 2010
AAB+ Aston Excellence Scholarships irrespective of family
income (£4,000 over 4 years inc placement year)
Placement year and other unique Aston qualities
Guaranteed accommodation on campus
Unconditional Offers and other strategies
Search on Twitter for “Unconditional Offer”
Some a straight U offer with no conditions before results
Others a “Scheme” where a C offer becomes a U offer if the
student goes Firm Choice - so is conditional!
Mainly for AAA predicted candidates/AS grades but some far
lower or with no link to predictions
2 - 3 Universities in 2013
20+ in 2014
All out in 2015?
Will PQA happen after all by accident?
Direct applications may increase (out of UCAS)
Your views?
Unconditional Offers
Confusion and aspiration
Mixed messages
Perceived fairness
Class/school dynamics
Adjustment eligible?
Predicted grades accurate?
What do schools/teachers think?
Graduate prospects/employers?
What about BTEC and other quals?
Could save the AS level when A level reforms come in!
Aims to genuinely reward potential…
Unconditional Offers – what students
actually achieved…
2013 entry, Social Sciences: University A, also applied to Aston
but choose University A with Unconditional offer Scheme
Original Offer
Predicted Grades
Actual Grades achieved
ABB
AAA
ABC
ABB
AAA
ABB
ABB
AB + Dist*
ABB
ABB
A*AB
AAB
ABB
A*AB
ABB
DDD plus B
D*DD + B at A-level
DDD+E at A level
ABB
A*AB
A*AB
BB Dist
AB Dist*
BB D*
AAB
A*AA
A*AA
ABB
AAA
AAB
ABB
AAA
ABC
ABB
AAA
A*AB
ABB
AAA
BBC
Unconditional Offers – my advice
Don’t panic and accept a place too soon – often a May/April
deadline – wait and look at other options
It’s only 10% or less of the pool
Don’t assume it will proliferate in 2015
AS grades may be especially important…
Clarification from HEIs on “conditions”
Await responses and reactions from other Offers
Why are they doing it?!
Don’t switch off in 2014!
Scholarships and awards
AAA students achieving ABB would have been admitted
anyway?
What if a course over-recruits?
2015 - what might change
Cap on places due to be lifted, no ABB+ student number
controls…
More unconditional offers and related schemes
More direct applications
Will “typical offers” fall back (eg from AAB to ABB or AAB-BBB)
Widen the applicant pool
A level and BTEC/Diploma reform
Increase in admissions tests
Will Universities expand in a falling demographic trend?
Scholarships may reduce for some and increase for others
NOT wise to hold back on a first choice place in 2014
When the offers come: October – April
Deciding CF (Firm), CI (Insurance)
CF simply the best?! NOT just the highest grade offer
CI not second best but “almost first choice”
Unconditional offers in the mix?
how “low” do you go?
do you need/want a CI? It’s a hassle to be released – would you
definitely go there if you missed the grades for a CF?
c10% of Aston CI students last year chose a “lower grade” offer as
CF and Aston as CI – it may not be easy to change
Choosing the Best
Teaching Quality, National Student Survey (NSS), Unistats
RAE (Research)
Contact time/teaching methods – Key Information Sets: KIS
Professional accreditation (e.g. IMechE, BPS)
Offer Levels, entry requirements, specific subjects
Applicants per place/competition
League Tables – useful but treat with caution…
“Reputation”, “Cache” with Parents/Teachers. It’s not just
the Russell Group and never has been!
What’s important in the UK rankings?
National Student Survey
20.4%
Entry tariffs
14.1%
Graduate employment
13.1%
Research Assessment Exercise
Staff/student ratio
9.0%
Spend per student
9.0%
First/2:1 %
7.3%
Attrition/drop out
Value added
Facilities spend
Peer review
0.0%
Top 6
12.0%
6.8%
3.8%
2.5%
2.0%
5.0%
10.0%
15.0%
20.0%
25.0%
.....the top 6 factors represent 78% of the score.
Rankings: It’s close at the top….
Score out of 1000
Top 80 Ranking - Complete University Guide 2013
1000
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
Score
1
5
9 13 17 21 25 29 33 37 41 45 49 53 57 61 65 69 73 77
Ranking
20th Place: 774 Points, 30th Place: 743 Points – just 3
percentage point difference
“Graduate Level” Jobs: 2010 and 2011 Graduates
1. Imperial College, London
2. London School of Economics (LSE)
3. Kings College London
4. University College London (UCL)
5. Aston University
6. Cambridge University
7. Bath University
8. City University (London)
9=. Warwick University
9=. Bristol University
95.4%
94.6%
90.4%
88.9%
88.5%
88.2%
87.4%
86.5%
84.3%
84.3%
UK average c70%. Aston above 20 of the 24 Russell Group Universities
Source: HESA, Sunday Times University Guide – September 2011 and September 2012 - 2 year average.
Full Time Employed Graduates in “Graduate Level” employment
Missed the Grades/Applied Late/Better Grades?
Clearing and Confirmation
Be proactive
Get them ALL to check passwords etc with UCAS Track/Apply
Phone (don’t email) and visit
Be persistent but realistic
Email/text correspondence from Universities common
Check accommodation deadlines etc
Be flexible, have a Plan B before results day just in case. 2014
entry ABB issue may be interesting but risky too
Not all results published in mid August….IB, BTEC etc in July
Find Clearing vacancy information
UCAS www.ucas.com, University Websites, Telegraph
Speedy (not rushed) but rational decisions….and don’t be in Ibiza
Last minute changes and no shows
Some Universities plan/allow for this in their target
numbers but now harder due to funding/date change,
especially for non-ABB candidates
Frustrating – your students may be missing out on a
place held open by someone else
Just as common for popular courses as for clearing
entry/recruiting courses
Essential to let a Firm Choice University know asap
Around 4 students in every 100 UK wide
Encourage good advice and communication
Encourage students to come in to school/college on
results day to see you.
Realistic but positive….
Vast majority get 4 or more offers (80% plus)
Applications per place often quoted – don’t forget students are
making 4 other applications.
The debate dominated by a few thousand applications for a small
number of highly selective courses - less than 2% of total.
Check entry requirements and specific requirements (eg
A/AS/BTEC/GCSE/IB etc)
eg: Aston: 2013 entry: 13,000 applications for 2,400 places:
c80% of applicants received conditional offers. Average Grade
on entry: ABB from best 3 A levels, DDD at BTEC (380+ UCAS
Points)
Thanks for listening and keep in touch
Any questions or comments?
[email protected]
Aston University Services for Schools and Colleges:
www.aston.ac.uk/schliaison
Useful Websites
www.unistats.com
ww.completeuniversityguide.co.uk
Guardian: EducationGuardian.co.uk
Times Online – follow the link to Education –
features Times and Sunday Times Guides
www.heloa.ac.uk – find your local SCLO
Officers…
Useful Websites x2
Push Guide, Virgin Guide (Health Warning!)
www.push.co.uk
YouTube.Twitter, Facebook, wikipedia etc
www.ucas.com – still the only HE credible course
search
www.opendays.com
www.studentbeans.com
www.thestudentroom.com
www.whatuni.com

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