Does the university application process disadvantage state school pupils?

The Sutton Trust have published a report which suggests that the university application process in the UK further disadvantages students from families with low and middle incomes, as pupils from independent schools are more likely to stand out with their personal statements.

The research was based on a study of personal statements of 300 pupils with identical grades applying to the same department at a leading university.

The report revealed that applications from independent schools had personal statements that were well written and contained prestigious work placements, or expensive pastimes.

“State schools, by contrast, appear to receive less help and often struggled to draw on suitable work and life experience.”

Kudos Inspire helps students to build a high quality application as it encourages them to record their experiences and achievements. Kudos Inspire also shows students their strong skills, based on their answers. From these, students who may lack work experience can show where they have used these skills in school or at home to help build up their profile, to use in their personal statement.

Kudos Inspire encourages all students to record their skills and achievements to help them build a statement full of examples and evidence supporting their skills.

To read our blog post about personal statements and to find out how Kudos Inspire can be used to help with students’ UCAS applications, please click here.

The report found that although students in the study all had the same A-level grades, 70% of those who were from independent schools went on to a leading university but just 50% of applicants from comprehensive and 6th form colleges did so.

The gap between higher education participation rates of people living in the most advantaged and most disadvantaged areas has narrowed. However, there is still a significant gap. This is shown as 20% of young people are still seven times more likely to attend the most selective universities than the 40% most disadvantaged.

Alan Milburn has considered this topic recently and believes that, “Social mobility is about ensuring that every person regardless of their background, their circumstances, or their social class, has an equal opportunity to get on in life.”

Kudos Inspire supports social mobility as this, along with all CASCAiD programs, is impartial, meaning that students from all backgrounds are able to research all career and educational paths.

To read our article on higher education and social mobility, please click here.

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