Teenagers are facing tough new hurdles to get into Oxford and Cambridge next year amid increasing competition for places at top universities. Rising numbers of students will be expected to score elite A* grades in A-levels for the first time to secure admission to Oxbridge, it was revealed. This is from the Telegraph…
Just days before the deadline to apply to the ancient institutions, it was also revealed that both universities are preparing to set more entry exams in addition to formal interviews.
Oxford alone will require almost nine-in-10 students to sit some form of aptitude test – up from around two-thirds in 2009.
The move will fuel fears that universities are still struggling to identify the most able applicants from the thousands of pupils leaving school with straight As at A-level.
It is also likely to make it harder for sixth-formers to secure places in 2013 as more students strive for the very best universities to secure value-for-money for a sharp hike in tuition fees.
This autumn, the imposition of annual fees of up to £9,000 for British and European students led to a 7.4 per cent drop in applications to universities nationally. But Cambridge bucked the trend by registering a two per cent increase, while demand fell by just 0.6 per cent at Oxford.
It is expected that competition next year will be just as fierce.
Caroline Lindner, managing director of Oxbridge Applications, which advises students on the admissions process, said the universities were creating increasingly sophisticated tools to select the brightest students.
“With so many people applying, admissions tutors need more checks and balances to make sure that they’re getting someone who is going to be suited to an Oxbridge way of teaching,” she said.
Students applying to Oxford and Cambridge must submit applications to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) by midnight on Monday. The deadline also affects applications to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary science at other universities.
Cambridge already demands that all applicants should gain one A* and two As as a minimum entry requirement.
But the number of courses requiring an A* at Oxford will increase by a third this year – from 15 to 20. It will be demanded for the first time in biochemistry, biomedical sciences, experimental psychology, medicine and the combined psychology, philosophy and linguistics course. It is already needed for many maths, engineering and science degrees.
Figures from the organisation Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA), which advises universities on admissions policies, also shows an increase in entry exams.
It said Cambridge was running 20 tests in 2013, one more than in 2012, with a new exam for psychological and behavioural sciences. Some 39 course combinations at Oxford also require an exam, up from 34 in 2012, figures show.