Key Points
  • Recommendations for reforming the admissions system
  • Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on admissions 2020-21 and mitigating its effect on the 2021-22 cycle
  • Examining the consequences of Brexit and the pandemic on international recruitment and admissions
  • Improving the prospects of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds being accepted onto courses
  • Examining the case for a post-qualifications admissions system
  • Supporting students to make successful applications and engaging with them throughout the decision-making process


Overview
Confirmed Speakers

  • Nick Hillman, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)
  • John Cope, Director of Strategy, Policy and Public Affairs, UCAS
  • Samina Khan, Director, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford
  • Cat Turhan, Policy Analyst, The Russell Group
  • Beth Linklater, Assistant Principal, Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke, and Chair, UCAS' Secondary Education Advisory Group
  • Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, Higher Education,National Union of Students
  • Dr. Graeme Atherton, Founder, AccessHE and Founder, National Education Opportunities Network (NEON)
  • Adrian Dutch,Director of Global, Recruitment and Admissions, University of Westminster
  • Dr. Gurnam Singh, Associate Professor of Equity of Attainment (PT), Coventry University
  • Bobby Mehta, Director of Global, University of Portsmouth


Westminster Insight’s University Admissions Forum reviews the impact the pandemic had on 2020-21 admissions, how we can prepare for the knock on to the 2021-22 admissions cycle and how the overall admissions system can be improved to ensure transparency, fairness and enhance the prospects of disadvantaged applicants. With the potential for major reforms, including moving to a post-qualifications admissions (PQA) model, it is vital practitioners keep up to date.

Growing concern over predicted grades, unconditional and contextual offers, differing application assessment methods and providers’ approaches to marketing their courses sparked wide-ranging reviews of the admissions system.

The pandemic then threw the system into overdrive with many more students meeting their offer requirements than normal. The fallout from the summer exams crisis coupled with the dropping of the government cap in student numbers for top universities led an overdemand in top tier universities, whilst many lower tier institutions are facing a deficit of students.

Westminster Insight’s Forum is ideally timed for Spring to assess the impact the pandemic has had on 2020-21 admission numbers as a clearer picture emerges taking into account January starts, postgraduates, international arrivals, students changing their minds and further market volatility.

Delegates will explore how admissions will work for the upcoming 2021-22 cycle with the ongoing challenges posed by coronavirus, 2021 exams being delayed and many universities seeking to fulfil their contractual obligations by asking students to defer until 2021.

Consideration will also be given to the impact of Brexit and Covid-19 on foreign students applying to study in the UK and how we can improve international recruitment going forward. Plus there will be discussion about how the admissions process can be refined to widen participation in higher education to disadvantaged groups.

Agenda
Start

09:00 - 09:10
Chair’s Opening Remarks

 

Speakers

Nick Hillman Director, Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)

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09:10 - 09:40
Reviewing Assessment and Admissions Opportunities

 
  • The admissions system: exploring opportunities for consistency and transparency in assessment and evaluations
  • Recovery and opportunities in the Higher Education sector, exploring best practices for adaptability and resilience in times of uncertainty 
  • Supporting students overcoming the obstacles posed by exam disruptions and changing access to opportunities
  • Reviewing opportunities for the application process and career progression support to achieve representative graduate outcomes
9:40 - 9:50 Questions and Discussion 

Speakers

John Cope Director, Strategy, Policy and Public Affairs, UCAS

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09:50 - 10:30
Panel Discussion: Considering Reforms to the Admissions System

 
  • Examining the case for a post-qualifications admissions system
  • Considering the use and accuracy of predicted grades and personal statements in undergraduate admissions
  • The role of contextual information in admissions for students from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • The use of unconditional offers, contextual offers and inflated offer-making 
  • The effect of the insurance place
  • Incentives and inducements in the admissions process and providers’ approach to marketing their courses

Speakers

Beth Linklater Assistant Principal, Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke, and Chair, UCAS' Secondary Education Advisory Group

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Cat Turhan Policy Analyst, The Russell Group

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Hillary Gyebi-Ababio Higher Education, National Union of Students

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10:30 - 11:10
Panel Discussion: Admissions Crisis Management: Managing the Impact of the Summer Exams Crisis and Preparing for the 2021-22 Admissions Cycle

 
  • Assessing the impact of stabilising admissions, rebalancing the deficit and oversubscription issues due to the shift in CAG 
  • Options for supporting students that have been asked to defer until 2021
  • Keeping admissions staff engaged and motivated in a context of increased pressure and workload 
  • Expanding capacity on courses to meet growing demand and ensuring enough space, accommodation, equipment and staff to manage numbers and safety due to covid-19 
  • Preparing for potential 2021-22 disruptions to admissions; including delayed exams, deferred students and the impact of the ongoing pandemic
  • Increasing operational resilience and preparedness for disruptive events

Speakers

Samina Khan Director, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford

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John Cope Director, Strategy, Policy and Public Affairs, UCAS

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11:10 - 11:20
Intermission

 

11:20 - 11:50
Understanding Prospective Student’s Needs and Engaging Students through the Application and Decision-Making Process

 
  • Understanding students’ priorities for decision making in the age of Covid-19 and conditions for engagement for Generation Z
  •  Exploring proposals to improve the applicants’ experience and effectiveness in the admissions process
  • Ensuring prospect students get informed about their higher education options and opportunities
  • Understanding the factors that impact on the applicant’s assessment and application opportunities
  • Exploring new channels and platforms to engage prospective students remotely, including virtual events
  • Creating effective enrolment processes that enhance the student experience for remote and hybrid models
  • Examples of effective marketing campaigns

Speakers

Beth Linklater Assistant Principal, Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke, and Chair, UCAS' Secondary Education Advisory Group

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11:50 - 12:20
Panel Discussion: Widening Participation in Higher Education

 
  • Reviewing regulatory requirements to support students from vulnerable background
  • Attracting and engaging students from underrepresented groups, particularly those most affected by COVID-19
  • Understanding the new factors that impact on applicants’ choices and opportunities 
  • Making the most of contextual admissions 
  • Reviewing best practices for creating a sense of community across different demographics
  • Best practices for widening access from a larger applicant pool

Speakers

Dr Gurnam Singh Associate Professor of Equity of Attainment (PT), Coventry University

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Dr Graeme Atherton Founder, AccessHE and Founder, National Education Opportunities Network (NEON)

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12:20 - 12:50
Panel Discussion: Overcoming the Challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit on International Student Applications and Admissions

 
  • Reviewing the factors that are affecting prospective applicants in the key international markets
  • The impact of Brexit outcomes on applications and visa requirements for international students
  • Communicating changes to English language tests and international qualifications during the pandemic
  • Improving the offer for international applicants including options for the Graduate Immigration Route
  • Implications of the EU fee status for 2021 applicants
  • Transnational Education (TNE) opportunities in the current climate
  • Working towards recovery with local partners, agencies, and staff to overcome specific challenges

Speakers

Adrian Dutch Director of Global, Recruitment and Admissions, University of Westminster

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Bobby Mehta Director of Global, University of Portsmouth

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12:50 - 13:00
Chair’s Closing Remarks

 

End

Speakers

Dr Graeme Atherton Founder, AccessHE and Founder, National Education Opportunities Network (NEON)

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John Cope Director, Strategy, Policy and Public Affairs, UCAS

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Adrian Dutch Director of Global, Recruitment and Admissions, University of Westminster

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Hillary Gyebi-Ababio Higher Education, National Union of Students

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Nick Hillman Director, Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)

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Samina Khan Director, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford

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Beth Linklater Assistant Principal, Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke, and Chair, UCAS' Secondary Education Advisory Group

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Bobby Mehta Director of Global, University of Portsmouth

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Dr Gurnam Singh Associate Professor of Equity of Attainment (PT), Coventry University

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Cat Turhan Policy Analyst, The Russell Group

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Venue details

Digital Event Broadcast Live


Speakers
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