Welcome to our latest guest article on Mosaic Fit’s skills highlighting what you need to know about university skills.

Which are the key successful university application skills?

Here are the top sites for exploring University skills and career options.

  • UCAS ‘What & Where’
  • FutureLearn ‘Exploring Your Options’
  • The UniGuide course-finder
  • Uni Direct
  • Informed Choices (What you can do with your A-Levels)


Reasoning skills practice

University admissions’ regional differences in A-Level results

There are disparities in absence rates for the current GCSE exam cohort. Year 11 students in the northern regions missed around 15 per cent of school sessions compared with around 11 per cent in the South.

Some schools leaders have already said they will be wary of promoting their overall results too loudly, given the fact that every school will have experienced the pandemic differently.

The 2022 University admissions disadvantage gap is increasing

Furthermore, although 2020 saw a “shrinkage” of the disadvantage gap when CAGs were used, last year, the gap widened again when TAGs were used.

The widening has been attributed to the fact that disadvantaged families were more likely to have faced difficulties when trying to learn from home during lockdown.

Exam-year cohorts have experienced more disruption to their schooling with disadvantaged pupils have faced adversity for a longer period.

Online learning forms part of that disruption but data shows that disadvantaged pupils have also had higher levels of absence.

In May, data from FFT Education Datalab revealed that since the start of Year 11, pupils missed 11.1 per cent of sessions but it was disadvantaged pupils who were more likely to be absent.

Disadvantaged pupils missed 17.1 per cent of morning and afternoon registration sessions compared with 9.6 per cent of non-disadvantaged.

This equates to approximately 12 extra lost days across the whole year.

It’s a similar story when we look at persistent absence, with a shockingly high 9.9 per cent of disadvantaged pupils missing more school than they attended, compared with 3.7 per cent of their peers.

More Girls took more A-Level Stem subjects in 2022

There has been a continuous push for more girls to join their male counterparts in A-level Stem classrooms for some years now, and the success of this can be seen in the increased numbers of girls taking Stem subjects at A level.

However, analysis of the 2021 results reveals that although broadly looking at all Stem subjects, we seem to be reaching equal entry – with girls accounting for 50.3 per cent of entries in biology, chemistry and physics in 2021 – a closer look at the data tells us we still have some way to go before we can consider that gap to be entirely closed.

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) wrote about this gap in its blog on the topic last year, saying that despite girls outnumbering boys in biology, chemistry and physics since 2019, a “subject-by-subject approach reveals a very different picture”.

English literature A-Level 2022

Last year, we reported on the slow decline of entrants to English-based A-level subjects. It looks likely that the trend will continue for 2022.

There are several reasons for this: there is still a big push for Stem subjects and the perception that earnings are lower for those who study humanities remains. The “unpopular” new-style English GCSE is still in place and the same funding rules are in place that result in students being encouraged to do three, instead of four, A levels.

Although the news that several universities will be dropping their English degrees won’t have affected the subject choices for this year’s A-level students, it is an indicator that the study of English is losing popularity.


Clearing Pressure for universities

As noted earlier, A-level students hoping to continue their studies at university this September could find themselves competing with more students than usual.

There has been concern that the combination of a record breaking number of applicants to university, plus the increased number of deferrals in 2021, might mean that competition for places, particularly for popular courses, is particularly fierce.

In The Sutton Trust report, it quoted data released by Ucas that showed not just a drop in the offer rate but that, in competitive subjects like medicine and dentistry, only 16 per cent of applicants received an offer this year compared with 20.4 per cent in 2021.

When it comes to finding a place through clearing, Hillman warns that students might need to be open minded when considering courses.

So what do School Entrance Tests recommend you do if you’ve no university offer. Did UCAS Clearing help?

Who can use UCAS Clearing?

On every A-Level results day, it is university applicants for the following Autumn term who either

  • Have missed their firm choice,
  • Now, have changed their mind,
  • Have exceeded their predicted grades, or
  • Were without a university offer.

What if you have no university offers?

There can be multiple reasons why a university has rejected a candidate. It might be due to excessive competition where other candidates might have turned out to be better options.

Furthermore, the person states that the student provided to the university was not impressive enough. The qualification that the student is taking up does not match the favoured subject mix. 

If the student gets too personal with the rejection, then it might affect them mentally so no applicant should take this as a personal blow towards them. Even if it’s not good news it is important to accept the situation with maturity.

Why select a different university?

  • An alternative option can turn out to be more pleasant
  • The student will not have to go through the whole application process again
  • It is important to select the right university and not settle for just any university that they can find on the first go.
  • A student will be able to understand a new course or a university
  • The student might also get a chance at applying to their dream college again

Finding a Course through Clearing

If a student is not able to find the right course for themselves through UCAS Extra, then they can always try the same through Clearing.

This is one of the best UCAS processes that goes live in the mid of July. Most places that are open for opportunities are in August as all the A-level results are published during that time.

The situation can be a bit frantic specifically during the days of the results. If the students are more organized from the first stage, they will find the right course and also the right university that they will find satisfying.

  • With Extra, the courses at their preferred university will become available to them during clearing, even though they’re no guarantee for this part.
  • There is a very good chance that the students will be getting into a university that very same year.
  • The situation can be quite stressful as places on the course get filled up very quickly. Students will have to be extremely proactive to make sure that positions they are rooting for are not filled.
  • Students should be rushing into accepting the first place they find on the list. Every application needs to act swiftly but needs to make the right decision as well.