The University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) advises schools to teach young pupils about the importance of attending university. As it turns out, kids who have been informed about their uni options are inclined to apply to higher education.
High percentage of informed young pupils going to university
In their latest report, UCAS has surveyed about 16,000 new uni undergraduate applicants. This report is entitled Through the lens of students: how perceptions of higher education influence applicants’ choice. Results suggest that the younger the pupils decide, the higher the chances they attend a reputable university.
Among the respondents, 35% discerned that they would apply to a university even before leaving primary school. This is compared to only 13% who decided to apply when they were 16 to 19 years old. UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook said: “This report is clear – the earlier children set their sights on university, the more likely they are to go.” She added that the barometer reading for progression to higher education should be reset to an earlier age.
Interest in attending university
Not all high school graduates choose to pursue a college degree. One of the questions in the survey is to identify the motivating and deterring factors of their choices. It resulted to the rich kids being concerned in attending university and the poor ones lacking interest.
The research encourages schools to inspire their pupils, specifically 12 years and younger, to contemplate on their options. They should also offer “balanced, learner-centred information, advice and guidance” about the entire scope of post-16 and post-18 options available. Doing so could create additional careers funding.
Mary Bousted, the General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers agree with UCAS. She believes that the young should be given access to better careers education and guidance. However, the lack of funding lessens the chances of kids receiving sufficient careers guidance. She also thinks that careers advice should be part of the curriculum, which also includes advanced education and apprenticeships. This would allow kids to make the right choices with regard to their future.
Teaching unions are disappointed that the responsibility for careers has been turned over to schools without proper funding. The new Careers and Enterprise Company of the government has been given £70 million careers funding. However, most of it goes to regional intervention projects and external mentoring programmes, instead of directly funding schools.
The report has also studied the reason why some young people had not applied to the most difficult universities to get into. They asked these 6,500 applicants and 49% said the grade requirements are too high. 41% said the course they prefer was not offered by the unis. The rest said it was too expensive or felt they would not fit in.