Applicants Remain Intent on Starting University Despite COVID-19 | UCAS x YouthSight

HE Thinking | 09 Apr 2020


86% of university applicants said they have not changed their mind about starting university or college this autumn and are continuing with their application as planned.

This was the overarching statistic from our recent student survey, which was commissioned by UCAS with the aim of revealing how student decisions had been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. And whilst this figure fills us with confidence for the HE Sector, there was a caveat...

Despite the indication that applicants are not yet making significantly different choices, they are looking for comfort in information, and a lack of information will impact their choice. 

YouthSight's Managing Director of Insight, Josephine Hansom said: "Our joint research shows how attractive university remains, with students still aiming high and thinking about their futures. Having the right support is an issue for some though, especially those from BAME backgrounds.

"The online information provided by UCAS and universities is rightly being prioritised by current applicants, though it cannot be underestimated the importance students place on the individual support they receive from those who know them best, especially in these trying times."

UCAS's Chief Executive commented: "Our immediate insight during these extraordinary circumstances shows students are keeping their sights on the exciting futures that lie ahead for them at university or college.

"With additional flexibility already introduced into this year’s application cycle, everyone should take the time they need to confidently make considered, fully thought through decisions."

Key Stats:

  • 51% of respondents said they feel supported, but wanted more help in the application process, 37% said they felt fully supported (rising to 40% among white applicants and dropping to 29% among BAME applicants)
  •  60% said they had chosen their firm offer for their university place, with most choosing a conditional offer
  • 27% said they had received all their offers but were waiting to make a firm choice where deadlines have been extended to give students more time to select their preferred offer


Webinar Series 

We have partnered with UCAS Media to bring a series of free insights to support HE professionals through these different times. The series will guide you through how your UG, PGT and prospective students are feeling throughout the crisis and what they are looking for from those around them.

Click below to register for the next webinar or to view the full schedule.

Register / Watch Webinars >

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