Some universities are recruiting college students with unconditional gives through the software course of, says the college admissions service Ucas.
They’re telling college students that unique A-level grade necessities might be dropped utterly in the event that they put the college down as their first selection.
It comes as new Ucas figures present one-third of candidates aged 18 obtained an unconditional provide final yr.
Schooling Secretary Damian Hinds stated the proportion was “disturbing”.
He added: “The systematic use of unconditional gives will not be within the curiosity of scholars they usually shouldn’t be used simply to get individuals by means of the door.
“I anticipate universities to make use of them responsibly and the place establishments can’t justify the rising numbers being supplied, I’ve made clear to the Workplace for College students that they need to use the complete vary of powers at their disposal to take motion.”
Head academics urged college students to withstand the “inducement” of such gives and universities to cease making them.
Affiliation of Faculty and Faculty Leaders common secretary Geoff Barton stated the follow may lead college students to decide on a course which isn’t the correct one for them.
“We’re significantly involved about college students being required to make a college their first selection in return for an unconditional provide.
“It’s important that college students select the course which is true for them reasonably than ending up on an unsuitable course which they later remorse.
“We advise them to withstand this inducement and urge universities to desist from this follow.”
Ucas has analysed the influence of what it calls “conditional unconditional gives” for the primary time.
It outlined conditional unconditional ones as these that are initially made by the college as conditional, then up to date to unconditional if the provide is accepted as the scholar’s first (agency) selection.
It additionally discovered 34.four% of 18-year-old candidates from England, Wales and Northern Eire obtained a minimum of one unconditional provide. In Scotland, the functions course of is organized in another way and so will not be included within the evaluation.
These figures now embody the conditional unconditional gives, and have pushed the figures up for 2018 from 23%.
There was a gentle rise of their use over the previous few years, as a result of increased training suppliers are actually in a position to recruit limitless numbers of scholars.
Ucas stated: “Unconditional gives are made by universities and schools which can be happy candidates have demonstrated enough means and potential to succeed on their chosen course.
“This will embody consideration of examination outcomes, and outcomes from interviews or auditions. For instance, 18% of gives made to candidates for inventive arts programs are unconditional, the place extra emphasis could possibly be positioned on a powerful portfolio.
“Unconditional gives are additionally made to help widening participation, and to deal with the well being and wellbeing wants of some college students.
“Many college students responding to Ucas’s survey reported a discount in stress figuring out they’d a confirmed place.”
However it additionally highlighted how extra college students with unconditional gives than these with conditional gives miss out on their predicted grades.
Ucas chief government Clare Marchant stated unconditional gives have been used “in quite a lot of methods to allow college students to progress on to undergraduate programs.”
She added that whereas college students are broadly supportive of them, “the hyperlink with their A-level attainment cannot be ignored”.
Mr Barton stated: “It’s clear this follow is now utterly uncontrolled and is pushed by market forces reasonably than by academic concerns.
“The issue with unconditional gives is that some college students take their foot off the gasoline and underachieve in A-levels or different qualifications and this hampers their employment prospects later in life.”