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Competition for University Places to Rise

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Competition for places at the most prestigious universities is expected to be fierce this year and could result in students being unable to secure their spot.

In previous years school leavers have been entering a buyers market, with most applicants having a reasonable prospect of securing a place at a good university even if they missed their grade estimates. However, the combination of an increasing 18-year-old population, combined with the top universities fearful of over-recruiting could lead to some disappointing outcomes for students.

Last year, some universities found themselves recruiting many more students who achieved higher than expected A-level grades, leading to a shortage of accommodation and teaching space. To counter the risk of being oversubscribed again, some institutions have increased their entry requirements and it is estimated that applications to "higher tariff" universities resulting in an offer had declined from 60.5% in 2021 to 55.1% this year.

Looking ahead, with the number of 18-year-olds set to increase steadily over the next decade and international students continuing to grow, competition is only likely to increase.