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Universites compete to fill courses after a dip in the number of applicants

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Universities may offer lower entry requirements in order to fill place ahead of next week’s A-Level results, experts suggest.

This comes after a 4% dip in the number of student applications this year has left many universities with lots of open course spaces that they will be looking to fill up.

The drop is partly due to a significant drop in the number of European Union students applying to UK universities.

Experts expect the clearing process to be especially competitive this time around, which, according to the head of recruitment and admissions at the University of Sheffield, will mark a “great year for students” as they will have a greater chance of being accepted onto a course.

If clearing is set to be as competitive as many believe it will be this year, universities will be sure to use their ranking in the government’s ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ to try and attract potential students. Mike Nicholson, director of student recruitment and admissions for the University of Bath, stated that “Universities that have a gold rating will be pushing hard to promote this in their publicity campaigns.”

Some 20 Russell Group universities are expected to lower their course requirements ahead of next week with the universities of Bristol, Leeds and Exeter all offering places on a significant number of unfilled courses.

Whilst many believe the lower requirements would be of benefit to students, not all are in agreement. Sir Ian Diamond, the vice-chancellor for the University of Aberdeen, is one such individual who has spoken out against lower requirements saying that universities must be certain that the students that take on have the ability to succeed in the courses that they are enrolled in.

This year's A-Level results are set to be released on the 17th August, which will also mark the start of this year’s clearing.

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