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University entry will be ‘more competitive’ than ever thanks to inflated grades and lack of courses

ENTRY to universities will be “more competitive” than ever thanks to inflated grades and a lack of courses, according to the official applications body.

With days until A-level results, UCAS said students going through clearing are likely to find it tougher to get on to the courses they want.

Entry to universities will be 'more competitive' than ever thanks to inflated grades, pictured students at Manchester University's Oxford Road campus

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Entry to universities will be ‘more competitive’ than ever thanks to inflated grades, pictured students at Manchester University’s Oxford Road campusCredit: Alamy

Applications chief Clare ­Marchant warned that “for those most selective courses at the most selective institutions, it is likely to be more competitive”.

There will be around 90,000 students aiming to join different courses, with many trying to switch after doing better than expected thanks to teacher-graded A-levels.

Ms Marchant believes a record number of students will still take up places through clearing, but she warned there will be “hotspots” where it could be much more competitive this year.

She urged students receiving grades on Tuesday to make a decision about courses “in a matter of days” rather than waiting weeks as she expects the system to be “active”.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) think tank, also believes there could be less choice in clearing at Russell Group universities this year due to the introduction of teacher-assessed grades.

He said: “There is a lot of competition at the hardest-to-reach institutions.

“Some uber-selective universities that cannot easily expand need to be careful they do not over-recruit and will behave accordingly.

Some top universities are said to be considering their own entrance exams.

Applications chief Clare ­Marchant warned that 'for those most selective courses at the most selective institutions, it is likely to be more competitive'

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Applications chief Clare ­Marchant warned that ‘for those most selective courses at the most selective institutions, it is likely to be more competitive’
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