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Gloucestershire Business News

Slight dip for ‘early deadline’ university applications

The deadline for university applications to Oxford and Cambridge, as well as medicine, dentistry and veterinary courses, ended on October 15.

This deadline typically represents about 10 per cent of the total number of applicants in a cycle.

Figures published by Cheltenham-based UCAS today (October 27) show 38,660 UK 18-year-olds have applied for these courses - down from 39,920 in 2022 (-3.2% per cent) but in line with 38,580 in 2021 (+0.2 per cent), and up from 35,290 in 2020 (+9.5 per cent) and 33,630 in 2019 (+15 per cent).

There has been a decrease from last year in the number of applications from international students (-3.9 per cent), disadvantaged students from the UK (-2.6 per cent), and those wanting to study medicine (-9.7 per cent).

Despite strong increases on pre-pandemic demand in 2019, there are likely to be a number of factors at play this year, in the context of a growing UK 18-year-old demographic, with the return of examinations, and as students become increasingly conscious of the cost of living.

Nearly one in five (18 per cent) of UK applicants for the October 15 deadline have shared circumstances such as receiving free school meals (11 per cent), having caring responsibilities (4 per cent), having a parent in the armed forces (2.8 per cent) or being estranged (1 per cent). It means that, for the first time, universities and colleges will be able to more readily understand the background of these students and offer enhanced support.

Clare Marchant, UCAS chief executive, said: "This year is another unique cycle, influenced by many external factors, as young people consider their choices against a backdrop of rising living costs - something we are monitoring very closely.

"While we saw exceptional growth in the most selective courses during the Covid-19 pandemic, as ambitious students were inspired to study medicine, it is encouraging to see this year's figures are much higher than pre-pandemic levels. Demand for these courses, and for places at Oxford and Cambridge, remains strong and there will still be stiff competition for places at UK medical schools.

"We will continue to analyse the data closely as we approach the equal consideration deadline for all other courses, universities and colleges on 25 January 2023."

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