The 18-year-old, one of the smartest students from comprehensive school, has been rejected by each of the five universities he applied to this year. Mike Griffiths, his headteacher, is astounded as not only Fred’s (student’s fictitious name) grades should have helped him to enter the university but also his abilities to write plays and organize concerts. A teacher wrote to the universities with the demand of explanation of such a rejection to a brilliant school student and got an ambiguous letter that said "we had to reject even the most able candidates" as the competition to study English is too severe this year. The only possible reason for this that Griffiths has found was Fred’s studying drama for A-level. However, a teacher wrote in his custom essay that if it is a real reason then universities have old-fashioned views and should have publically announced about them.
This year admission process to universities has become too complex and even teachers with years of experience have to resort to guesswork. For example, University College London does not take into account A-levels while other medical schools do. Other universities take into account the kind of school a pupil is from, e.g. Edinburgh University has a preference for pupils from Scottish schools. Some universities favour A-level of certain subjects and don’t rate highly “soft” subjects. This proves the fact that there is a greater demand of places at universities this year and admission committees have to introduce some requirements of choosing the students and picking no more students than they are allowed.
Professor Steve Smith, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter, has estimated that more than 200,000 students will be rejected (tens of thousands of them with excellent grades). Although headteachers consider that universities should stipulate requirements during the admission process, some years should pass before they come into force. Moreover, it is necessary to give feedbacks to students why they are rejected. John Morgan, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, says that these feedbacks should be detailed rather than simply present universities’ apologies to a student with a very strong personal statement who is going to get three A grades.
Geoff Lucas, secretary of the Headmasters and Headmistresses' Conference, worries about students who are studying at schools where teachers are not aware of each university's requirements because they "get the least guidance and support." Janet Graham, director of Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA), believes that students should do research about these requirements themselves as the university admissions are becoming more complex. However, there is so much information on websites now that students may feel confused. As Tim Hands, master of Magdalen College School, says "we have to devote far more time and be far more careful about what we say to pupils."