University Applications Down
‘Student Adviser’ has been at the forefront of trying to give Careers Teachers and Advisers accurate forecasts as to how many school students are likely to apply to university, but even we have been caught by how volatile the current crop of applicants seem.
Our tame consultant (Paul Weller) originally forecast a drop in UK applications to British universities of between 8-12% over the next two years; with perhaps around a maximum of 8% decline this year ( worth knowing if you can feel safe advising your students to wait and see if fees come down). The figures during the Autumn first phase period had UK applications down by almost 12% (11.9%), and we asked our man if he would like to ‘reconsider’!
As it is, the explanation that initial figures might have also reflected delayed as well as declined applications seems to have been borne out by the latest UCAS figures. Up to the Christmas break, applications had recovered and were just under 8% down year on year. It would appear students are taking their time. After all, if you were expecting to commit to a graduation debt of anything between £40,000-50,000 then you might want to take your time and resist any attempt to force you to make a quick decision.
As it is, Paul still thinks that the decline will not be over 8% at the end of the year. “I expect those that decide against applying to be replaced by those who apply late. I also think that we will see more discounting competition all the way through until Clearing, when it comes to tuition fees. My advice to students and Careers Teachers is to ignore the panic for places of the last two years.”