Despite Lockdown UK Universities Receive an Increase in Applications

Students are still applying at UK universities, despite the current COVID-19 situation. According to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), a record of 40.5% of all 18-year-olds in the UK have applied to higher education, a number which has increased during the lockdown. 

The record number of applications was received by June 30, a percentage which is significantly higher than the one at the same admissions cycle last year, when it stood at 38.9%. The results are encouraging to universities expecting to experience the consequences of the pandemic, as anticipated.

The higher education sector may find motivation in the interest of domestic students to start university amidst the pandemic. However, it is still uncertain whether these students will still be eager to go to university when the academic year begins or postpone their university experience for later on when COVID-19 is not an issue. 

Over 514,020 students, of all ages, from the UK, have applied for their undergraduate courses through UCAS by the end of June, which is 1.6% more than this time last year. The UCAS’ chief executive, Clare Marchant, said that the trend is encouraging, with more people wishing to ‘seize the opportunities’ of higher education. 

“At this moment, we’re seeing an encouraging picture emerge out of national lockdown, with currently more applicants than last year keen to expand their mind, stretch themselves, and seize the opportunities that higher education can offer,” she said.

The results show that more than a quarter of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK has applied for admission in UK universities and colleges. EU applicants are currently at 2% less than last year at 49,650, however, applicants from outside of the European Union are up 10% to 89,130. Currently, the number of applicants seems promising but it remains to be seen how the situation unfolds. 

UCAS’ chief executive, Clare Marchant, claimed: “Universities and colleges are setting out their ambitions to welcome students to their campuses this autumn, with many planning to blend high quality online learning with face-to-face teaching and support. Confidence is building for an autumn term that safely captures the essence of the academic year’s traditional start as much as possible.”

Numbers of applications for nursing programmes are also up 15% year on year, with the percentage being 63% higher than during the same time (between January and June) last year.

“We should celebrate seeing so many people keen to embark on a rewarding career in nursing. Inspirational stories throughout this pandemic have clearly sparked imaginations, with people from all walks of life applying, determined to help others at a time when our universities are making huge contributions to fighting coronavirus,” said UCAS’ chief executive.

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