Tough time for students wanting uni places

AS WEST Sussex teenagers get their A level results, three London universities have announced they will not take part in clearing this year because they are already full.

This is a symptom of the 673,000 students trying to secure one of only 350,000 university places available.

The grim outlook is further compounded by the fact that record numbers of students will be turned away as universities toughen up their admissions process – demanding a minimum of an A* grade - to avoid over-recruiting for places as demand is expected to soar.

Carmen Watson, one of the UK’s most successful female business leaders as managing director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, one of the UK’S largest independent recruitment agencies said: “With this year’s Clearing predicted to be the most stressful ever, young people should consider other avenues to pursue.

“Vocational qualifications, apprenticeships or a corporate degree such as those run by Morrissons and other companies, are proving hugely attractive in the current situation as not only do you stay in education, but you have a stronger possibility of employment at the end of it.”

It seems students have got the message as research is indicating that there is a sharp rise in the number of students aged 17-18 directly applying to leading companies after their A levels, and employers such as Marks & Spencer and Pricewaterhouse Coopers confirm this.

The scramble for university places has not been helped this year as record numbers apply for courses before the introduction of annual tuition fees of up to £9,000 in 2012.

Watson said: “I feel the introduction of tuition fees is unfortunate and a short-termist policy as we should be investing in our young people, to ensure a brighter future for the country.

“Already we are seeing predictions that students will simply choose any course in order to get a university place, rather than making a more rational choice based on a career path - or not apply at all.

“They should resist the urge to do take hasty action and seek proper advice as to the other options open to them.”