A recent report from the Universities and Colleges Union proposed a new system in which students in England, Wales & Northern Ireland would only be able to apply for higher education the day after receiving their exam results.
This is to allow them to make better choices when applying as they can search for course that suits their qualifications. This would also lead to a decrease in unconditional offers.
Students are applying for Higher Education months before their exams meaning there’s no guarantee that they will meet the requirements for their chosen course. As the report puts it:
“student decision making is based on poor proxy for final achievement.”
It also talks there being the need for a change given the increasing number of young people applying for higher education and how long the current system has been in place.
“A process designed for a time when only 5% of young people progressed to this level.”
However what this report doesn’t mention is the possibility of this for Scottish students. If there is reform purposed to the rest of the UK why not include Scotland which also has a high number of Young people people applying for higher education.
Not just school students going into higher education but also for those already in higher education struggling to decide what to do after their course. This would go a long way in helping the number of students under stress.
Over the last few years the number of students enquiring about their mental health has increased with pressure to complete exams being a big factor. This is according to the National Union of Students Scotland who call for more:
“consideration of the arising challenges students
face and a concerted effort to best support them.”
Students put more pressure on themselves to achieve a specific grade in their exams or they won’t be able to get into their desired course. People already in higher education also put pressure on themselves to pass their course so they can move onto another course or into their chosen career path.
They can feel like their whole life rests on one exam.
I spoke to several students from the UWS Ayr campus to see if they thought this would be a benefit to them when deciding what to do after their course. One student said:
“I think if there was a deadline set and lecturers were a bit more consistent & all our classes were consistent that would be great.”
Another said “It’s something I always google especially before I start a course and when it comes close to graduation you want to know.”
While they seemed interested in the idea some students seem happy with the way things are. As one student felt “knowing what you want to do before you sit your exams gives people that extra incentive. Some people thrive under that kind of pressure.”
Despite the report gaining much support from those working in higher education there are no guarantees that the current process will change. If there is reform it is unlikely we will see it for some time.