Differential offer rates to groups of students have been cited as evidence of bias in admissions, but the truth may be far more mundane, argues Mike Kerrigan.
UCAS have now published their data for applications to the 15 January deadline. By this stage, almost all school-leavers who are going to apply have applied, and a significant proportion of the overseas and older applicants have also applied. This provides us with a reasonably firm basis for taking stock of this years’ recruitment position.
UCAS have now published their mid-December data on the 2013 cycle, and the press coverage has been mainly downbeat, perhaps because UCAS has not tried the faintly ludicrous ‘late surge’ spin that they put on the equivalent data last year. But there are several reasons why we need to be cautious about drawing hasty conclusions from the data released so far.
You cannot have watched television on a Sunday night in the UK over the past few weeks without witnessing the wonders of Professor Brian Cox, the be-gortexed globetrotting human lens flare that has defined popular physics in 2011. With his rock&roll background, his boyish enthusiasm and charm, and his habit of wearing t-shirts that display a startling level of nipple definition, many hearts have been set a-flutter and the phrase “stellar superfluid” has taken on a whole new layer of meaning.