Admissions, Choice and Student Diversity

Date: 17th January 2020

Location: University of Bath in London, 83 Pall Mall

Please note this event is for Members only

This event will run from 10.30am to 3.30pm (registration from 10.00)

A diverse student body is a benefit for any HEI but gaining a place on an undergraduate programme is a challenge for all students and more so for those without a family tradition of HE study. Choosing and applying for an undergraduate course requires a particular set of skills and knowledge about the range of courses on offer not readily available to all students. Added to this, subject choice at KS4 and KS5 has a significant impact on possibilities for future study at both post-16 and in higher education with some schools less resourced than others to provide their students with curriculum choices and advice. Meanwhile, research into national admissions data reveals serious inequalities in access between socio-economic groups. HEIs have responded in a range of ways from focussing on concerns about students’ capacity to study at higher levels if they are accepted with lower grades to making unconditional offers.

Professor Vikki Boliver, Durham University, will speak at this event on her ESRC-funded project that contributes to the evidence base underpinning contextualised approaches to undergraduate admissions in England. She will present clear evidence that academic entry requirements for disadvantaged learners can be reduced without setting these students up to fail at university. Vikki will also consider the most effective metrics for identifying disadvantaged students for contextualised admissions.

Additionally, there will be admissions case study workshops throughout the day providing real world examples from NERUPI members of outreach activity and transition programmes offering alternative university entry routes.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Understand how quantitative research can reveal systemic inequalities
  • Consider the implications and benefits for individual HEIs in using contextual factors in admissions
  • Explore a range of strategies for addressing inequalities in access and admissions and consider how best to evaluate their impact

This event is relevant to those working widening participation, particularly access, and in higher education admissions.

Event Programme

Download the programme and further details here


Using contextual data to widen access to higher education - Vikki Boliver, Stephen Godard & Nadia Siddiqui (2019)

Social mobility and elite universities - HEPI Policy Note Number 20 (December 2019)

Admissions to medicine and law at russell group universities: the impact of A-level subject choice - chapter 4 in Evaluating Equity and Widening Participation Initiatives (2018) Edited by Penny-Jane Burke, Annette Hayton and Jacqueline Stevenson

OfS: Using standards of evidence to evaluate the impact of outreach

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