University applications have seen a fall early on but are still open for 2014/15. Photo: Warwick Media Library

Fall in early applications to UK universities

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There has been fewer early UCAS applications for the upcoming 2014/15 academic year.

Statistics from UCAS show a three percent fall in early applications this year compared to last year in 2012.

Applications from UK students have decreased by four percent while for students in other parts of the EU the number remained roughly the same as last year. For students outside the EU, the number has risen by seven percent.

The large majority of early applicants are students applying to Oxbridge or for medicine or dentistry as deadlines for applications were in October.

It is uncertain whether the fall in early applications represents a decline in Oxbridge, dentistry and medicine applicants or an overall decrease in applications to UK universities.

The final applications for the main deadline in January, however, may show a different pattern, although in some years it has stayed the same.

When asked whether or not there was an acknowledged fall in the number of early applications to Warwick, a spokesperson for the University replied that application figures could not be revealed until the end of the cycle.

However, he pointed to a statement quoted from the BBC which suggested that early applications were not a good guide to final patterns: “In recent cycles, applicant totals have increased by around 300 percent between the November interim comparison point and the January deadline.”

He also pointed to chief executive of Universities UK Nicola Dandridge’s corresponding statement: “With the main deadline for applications in mid-January, the first figures in November are never a particularly useful indicator of final demand.

“It is very early in the applications cycle and, as we have seen in recent years, applicants are increasingly using the whole applications period, and applying right up to the 15 January deadline.”

Cindy Asokan, first-year Politics and International Studies undergraduate, thought that the fall in early applications was a result of the rise in tuition fees: “I personally think that the fall in early applications is due to the fact that courses which require early application, specifically Medicine and Dentistry, are longer than other degrees and hence require more of a financial commitment.

“Due to the rise in tuition fees, I think students are thinking twice before embarking on courses which will get them into a lot of debt.”

Ali Mortlock, second-year Psychology student, also suggested that the rise in tuition fees may have been an attributing factor to the fall and saw the fall in early applications as a sign that there may be an overall fall in total applications.

She said that because it has been a year since tuition fees were raised, students this year would have had more time to make other plans instead of going to university straight after graduating.

She commented: “For us, when [tuition fees] went up, basically everyone would have already decided to go [to university]. But for [current university applicants], they may not have applied because they’ve known for a couple years so could have made other plans.”

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