University admissions are something that the majority of us would agree should be a straightforward and fair process but it isn’t always clear (and is a topic up for debate) on how fair that process is currently.
What should be considered in a university application? Well the most obvious is the grades of the applicant, a clear indication of academic ability, but is that all admissions should be judged on? After all, everyone has their own barriers to face in life. At Push we love talking about building resilience from your setbacks and using these as a positive element to your self development. The argument is that these barriers are something that should be considered by universities during admissions.
A report by the Nuffield foundation found that, selective universities are increasingly taking into account socioeconomic and educational contexts in which applicants achieved their grades but Vikki Boliver of Durham university argues that universities must be even bolder in their admissions process to ensure that students from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds are able to access higher education.
The idea that these factors should be considered during the admissions process is interesting. I am from neither a disadvantaged or privileged background and was the first in my family to go on to higher education so it would be interesting to see how a university would have judged me if this was the case during my university application. What would qualify a student to have these things considered enough to change the admissions process for them?
The suggestion is that universities could do the following for students from disadvantaged backgrounds;
Introducing these elements could certainly improve the likelihood of students pursuing higher education as an option who may not have in the past. It is also therefore likely to improve the diversity of UK universities, something that is seen as a big plus for universities.
The idea of contextualising admissions criteria to include more than grades is something that definitely makes sense in my opinion. If you consider how Covid has affected exams over the past two year and we have been forced to move to teacher assessments for grades, this has allowed teachers to consider other factors (Whether they did it consciously or not) in predicting the grades of their students. Focusing on a students work throughout their school career instead of one stressful day of exams would enable students who struggle with the anxiety of exams to be able to feel less pressured. Often students from disadvantaged backgrounds are the ones thats struggle with this format of assessments so perhaps moving to this kind of assessment would encourage them to pursue higher education.
Do you struggle with the current way that work is assessed? Here are a couple of tips to help you with exam stress;
ARON TENNANT is the Talks and Editorial manager and designated GDPR Data Controller for Push. He is originally from South Yorkshire and has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sheffield. He also has a MA degree in Creative Play and Screenwriting from City, University of London and came runner up in Nickelodeon's international screenwriting competition in 2018 and his short film ''Donkey Tooth' was screened at the London Raindance Film Festival in 2018. He is IMDB credited and alongside Push he does screenplay work for independent production companies and is working on his own independent film and theatre projects and writes articles for JumpcutOnline.com.
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