University Admissions are UNFAIR!

We all know about the divide between the old universities and the newer ones. I found this out through personal experience, I somehow ended doing my undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham, and I was shocked by the apparent snobbery between the 3 Universities in the city.

As I went to local primary, secondary schools and then on to a sixth form centre in the Black Country. As a working-class pupil, I had no idea about UCAS, no idea about personal statements, predicated grades, which courses to apply? Where to apply?

I would say this is, in at least part of the reason that working-class pupils are disadvantaged.

State-educated students with the *same grades* as their peers in the private sector are a third less likely to receive an offer from a leading university. (Boliver 2013)

State-educated students with the *same grades* as their peers in the private sector are a third less likely to receive an offer from a leading university. (Boliver 2013) Click To Tweet

‘Those of Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin are known to be strikingly under‐represented in Old universities (Robertson and Hillman 1997; Coffield and Vignoles 1997; Shiner and Modood 2002), and particularly in those that make up the Russell Group (Boliver 20042006; Zimdars, Sullivan and Heath 2009). This is despite the fact that members of these minority groups are more likely than their White counterparts to participate in higher education generally (Modood 1993; Coffield and Vignoles 1997).’

Let look at Race and the Russell Group admission and rates.

What are the trends you see?

Race Percentage of entrants to Russell Group
White 25
Black 6
Pakistani 12
Bangladeshi 12
Indian 18

Boliver 2013

The whole table.

boliver 3

Now let’s look at applications

boliver1

boliver2

Before the analysis of Boliver 2013, it is worth stating the structural racism within UCAS, in May 2018 said

‘We risk prospective black students losing all confidence in what is supposed to be a fair and equitable application process’

‘52 per cent of the UK applications flagged by UCAS’ verification service between 2013 and 2017 were from black students – despite black applicants making up around 9 per cent of all university applicants, according to new data released today.’

Let me reiterate; this is not percentage based on the proportions, 1 in 97 applications from black students checked and 1 in 2139. If you are black you were 22 times more likely to be check than if you were white.

Apart from that what do we think is the reason between race (and class) and their ultimate University destination. Boliver 2013 states that the reasons why those from lower social bands are disadvantaged is due to ‘barriers of some kind to application to Russell Group universities given application to university at all’.

Boliver 2013 states that the reasons why those from lower social bands are disadvantaged are due to barriers of some kind to application to Russell Group universities given application to university at all. Click To Tweet

What happens with regards to race?

“For those from Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, the unfairness seems to stem entirely from some form of differential treatment during the admissions process by Russell Group universities.”(Boliver, 2013. p358)

Click To Tweet

Did you go to a state school and/or do you currently teach in one? Will that make a difference? State school pupils are less likely to apply for a Russel group university until there are better qualified than their private school peers by as much as an extra A‐grade A‐level.

But Pran if people don’t apply what do we do?

Even when state school pupils do apply to Russell Group universities they need to be better qualified by B grade A-Level before they are as likely to receive an offer of admission.

Even when state school pupils do apply to Russell Group universities they need to be better qualified by B grade A-Level before they are as likely to receive an offer of admission. Click To Tweet

STATE SCHOOL PUPILS… HAVE TO BE BETTER QUALIFIED BY A B GRADE A-LEVEL BEFORE THEY ARE AS LIKELY TO RECEIVE AN OFFER OF ADMISSION.

Back to race:

“Black and Pakistani/Bangladeshi applicants to Russell Group universities seem to be similarly disadvantaged in comparison with White applicants when it comes to the likelihood of being offered a place at a Russell Group university.”(Ibid, p359)

Pran, come on you’re going to say this is due to bias and you can fix it by… Well, funny you should say that as the report says

“Then the findings of this paper lend support to the argument that a post-qualifications application system in which application choices and admissions decisions are made after rather than before applicants’ qualifications are known would probably be a good deal fairer than the system currently in place (Schwartz 2004; Sutton Trust 2009; Arulampalam, Naylor and Smith 2011)” (Ibid, p359)

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