We all remember the process of applying to university, and for those of you reading The Print for the first time well done on getting your place at QMUL or Barts.
This summer, the country saw record amounts of students applying to university, The Guardian reporting that one-third of all 18 year olds applied for an undergraduate course. 2019 also saw a huge increase in the amount of students who got onto their course via the Clearing process, this year 17,000 out of the 210,000 university course applicants. This is a 15% rise on 2018’s figures.
University is often heralded as a means of immersing young people into new cultures, broadening their horizons and challenging ingrained stereotypes. The rise in applications to university can only be seen as a positive thing and can be attributed to efforts by universities around the country to ‘widening participation’. However, the increase in students securing places via the clearing process has brought about more hard-line tactics from universities to attract students to their courses, including offering Clearing places via Snapchat and other uni’s offering free laptops and tablets for taking a place at their institution.
The abolition of the cap back in 2015 of the number of places a university could offer has caused this rising trend in higher education, whereby students are seen as consumers and individual universities fight each other to get students to enrol on their courses, a multitude of incentives are offered in the form of a laptop or a scholarship. This is said to be a part of the wider ‘marketisation’ of higher education and degrees that is so often mentioned via national news outlets such as the BBC and The