1 in 5 students unintentionally block themselves from degree choices - “Where Next?” @UCAS_online report on student choice and careers advice 

Two in five students at university say they would have made better choices had they had better access to higher quality information and advice in school. As a result, one in five students couldn’t study a degree subject that interested them because they didn’t have the right subjects to progress. This is most apparent for some degree courses, such as medicine and dentistry, maths, economics or languages, which require applicants to have taken a specific set of ‘fixed’ pre-requisite qualifications.

UCAS has today (25 Mar) released its latest report ‘Where next?’, which highlights the impact of qualification and subject choice at school on students’ future pathways, and recommends ways students can be better supported to make fully informed choices at every stage.

The report also highlights the importance of early engagement in careers information, advice and guidance, with one in three students understanding that higher education was an option for them at primary school. However, advantaged students are 1.4 times more likely to think about higher education in primary school than their disadvantaged peers. These students are also less likely to see a door closed to them through their choice of subjects.

Other key findings of today’s report are:

  • 83% of students choose their degree subject before they choose their preferred university or college, highlighting the importance of subject-focused outreach.
  • Almost all (99%) said their choices at school were influenced by how much they enjoyed the subject - also the primary driver of degree choice.
  • When choosing their degree subject, over 50% said that high graduate employment rates had become more important to them since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • 49% of English 18 year olds with post-16 vocational qualifications, such as BTECs and OCR Cambridge Technicals, enter higher education, but these students are significantly less likely to attend higher tariff providers than those with general qualifications (entry rate of 3% vs. 27%). 
  • As well as two in five saying more information and advice would have led to them making better choices, almost one in three say they did not receive any information about apprenticeships from their school, showing that more needs to be done to promote parity across these routes.
  • More than a quarter of students we surveyed would make different GCSE/National 5 choices now they know what their degree course involves – and around a third would choose a different post-16 options.
  • One in four students say their parents or carers were their biggest help in determining their choice of degree course, and many follow similar pathways, eg:
    • students with a parent or carer in farming are nearly 20 times more likely to study veterinary science, agriculture or related subjects;
    • students with a parent or carer who is a medical practitioner are eight times more likely to study medicine or dentistry;
    • students with a parent or carer who is an artist are over three times more likely to study arts and design courses.

Clare Marchant 100x100Clare Marchant, Chief Executive at UCAS, said:

“Students today face more options than ever before. Whilst choice is a core part of the UK higher education system, it is essential that students know how to navigate this. No student should unknowingly close the door to their career aspirations.

“We know that early engagement raises aspiration. The data showing that disadvantaged students tend to consider the prospect of higher education later than their more advantaged peers clearly demonstrates the need to embed careers information, advice and guidance within primary schools and early secondary years to raise aspirations from an early age.

“UCAS data shows that just under half of registered applicants would like more information about apprenticeship opportunities. Despite this, nearly one in three students have told us that they did not receive any information and advice about apprenticeships from their school. The sector has long talked about the need for a single destination for students to explore all of their options, and it is our ambition to be the destination for all post-secondary education; apprenticeships are not just an add on, they are fundamental to the delivery of that goal.

“Importantly, today’s report does not say students have made the wrong choice – it remains, above all, a highly individual and nuanced decision. Instead, it says that students should know the consequence of each and every choice they make along their journey. From the analysis, we see that some students would have made different decisions had they had better careers information, advice and guidance. We have recommended a series of ways for this to be achieved, including providing digital access to the full range of post-secondary opportunities through the UCAS Hub.”

peter lampl100x100Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chair of the Sutton Trust, said:

“This new report from UCAS highlights the importance of ensuring all young people have quality careers advice from a young age. Students have faced unprecedented uncertainty and disruption over the past year, so it’s more important than ever that they receive high-quality advice and guidance.

“This guidance is particularly important for those from lower income backgrounds, who generally have less access to information through their own personal or family networks.

“UCAS’ report rightly highlights that there are particular issues around advice on apprenticeships. The Sutton Trust’s own research has found that too many young people are not aware of the opportunities which apprenticeships provide. Young people should have information on all the options available to them, so that they can make informed choices about their futures.”

 

Methodology: The report covers UK 18 and 19 year old applicants with data from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 cycles where appropriate. It uses data from a survey of over 27,000 first and second year students at UK universities and colleges, looking at the choices they made at school and into higher education. Any statements are therefore only relevant for the subset of UK 18 and 19 year olds who apply to Higher Education and/or are accepted. The subject groupings used here are using the JACS method of classifying academic subjects and modules and unless otherwise specified, they refer to the JACS 3.0 specification. 

The Sutton Trust’s apprenticeship polling 2018 found that two thirds of young people said they would be interested in doing an apprenticeship. However 40% said their teachers hadn’t discussed the option with them.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page