Welcome to our feature highlighting what you need to know about university skills.

Exploring university skills and Career Options 2022 based upon degree courses

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)


University admissions 2022’s 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.

So, what can we expect this year? Unfortunately, more of the same.

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”.

“Computing (15 per cent), physics (23 per cent) and further maths (29 per cent) have the lowest proportion of female students of all A-level subjects, with psychology (74 per cent) and biology (64 per cent) doing the heavy lifting in rebalancing the divide,” it says.


English literature A-Level and A-Level language A level numbers declined in 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 doesSchool 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

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

What to do if you’ve no university offer

Key points from UCAS Clearing 2022

  • As expected there was less flexibility at the top end for the elite universities. This is because of the large number of university applicants who deferred their place last year because of ongoing Covid restrictions.
  • So, sometimes students will still have been given a 2022 university place even after narrowly missing out on their offer.
  • For example, Oxford agreed 267 applicants who had each missed their conditional offers in 2015/2016.
  • 3,000 fewer courses in clearing at Russell Group universities compared with 2019 data.

  • 20,360 students did not meet any university offer and were put into the 2022 UCAS clearing process.

What to do if you don’t get an offer from your first-choice university?

It can be quite disappointing if someone does not get an offer from their desired university. There’s

  • some alternatives that one can do at this point.
  • many other universities to apply to.
  •  little difference between the same courses being offered in different universities. It is important that everyone should be applying for jobs in different universities and also apply to different courses that will assist them in learning additional things.
    Most of the time, universities look for some additional skills among students. They can apply to the different courses from Ucas Extra or even from Clearing. There is another option that the students can do in the meantime, is to take the year free from applying to universities and think about what they want to do. During these moments, alternative career options can step in and the student might end up staying in a course that they might not have thought about studying before. There are different alternatives to a university as well.

Reasons why the university might have rejected the candidate

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.

What to do if universities do not offer the position to a candidate?

Option 1 -Accepting an offer from a different university:

If a student had their heart set on a particular institution, the rejection will hurt mentally and emotionally. It is essential to not get attached to a university by heart. Now that the candidate has considered the option of getting into a different university, it is essential to plan the next steps. Many universities in the UK arrange an open day for the candidates, where students can book a palace and head into the campus to get a feel about the accommodation, location, courses, etc. This visit will be distinct from the first one if someone has already applied there, as, with this visit, students will be getting a distinct view of the premises and can also have the chance to review the study material. Applicants will also have the opportunity to communicate with the current students and get to know about the course.

Pros of selecting 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.

Option 2 – Selecting a different course at UCAS extra:

If someone does not get into their ideal college, it might be because their application does not look skilled enough. The student can always apply to UCAS extra by adding an extra certification to their name to make their application look more alluring. This might be in their targeted course or in some other area or subject altogether. There are options for getting joint honours as well. It is worth considering the fact why a student might be unsuccessful with their previous application and it also needs to be kept in mind they are applying for a particular course.

What to do if no university offer


• 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


Once a student has declined the offer from a university, there is no going back. When a student is applying for an additional course, the scenario is more or less the same. They will not get getting any additional degree to their name if they are not completing the course. There are times when an applicant takes too long to understand if they have taken the right decision or not.

Option 3 – 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. The majority of 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.
• The 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.
What to do without a university offer