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Analysis of UCAS Applications and Acceptances among Aimhigher Students

In collaboration with the Department of Law and Criminal Justice Studies, this research project explored the UCAS application experiences of students in Aimhigher schools in Kent and Medway. It examined data on students who had applied for courses through UCAS and the numbers who were offered places. The project was designed to identify best practice in supporting applications among non-traditional students.

The research included an analysis of UCAS school level data, exploring the percentage of Aimhigher students applying to Higher Education institutions, and the percentage being offered a place. Qualitative interviews with school and college staff and focus groups with year 13 students were also carried out. University admissions staff were also surveyed to understand how UCAS applications are processed.

The project discovered that there was significant variation between schools in terms of when they began talking to young people about UCAS applications. Although evidence from Higher Education institutions suggested that personal statements constituted a highly significant element of the application, there was some confusion from students and staff over the significance of the personal statement. There was also some confusion among school staff as to the relative significance of the reference. It also showed that not all schools were aware of what universities wanted to see in an academic reference. However, very high levels of support were provided to students on personal statements.

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