Admissions statement for 2021 entrants
Current advice for prospective students applying to the University of Gloucestershire via UCAS
Directors update January 2021
With the news that exams have been cancelled for GCSE and A-levels in 2021, and changes to BTEC and other vocational assessments, we appreciate that this causes additional uncertainties for applicants and offer holders.
Our applicants are very important to us. The University of Gloucestershire has always been flexible on entry criteria and we consider it essential in these current times as we all navigate our way through the pandemic
Competition for Places
At UoG we appreciate that applying for university is a first-time experience for most students and the challenges associated with COVID19 have added uncertainty to the process. There is also an incorrect perception that fewer places will be available in 2021 across the UK as a result of the changes to A level, BTEC and other grades last year in August 2020. This is not the case and we encourage you to keep an open mind and be positive and confident in your choice to apply to us.
We are not expecting competition for our degrees to be different from previous years and want to reassure you that we welcome and consider each and every application we receive – last year we received around 9,000 applications for around 2,200 places, an application increase of 12% on last year. The vast majority of our UK applicants receive offers from us or an invitation to an interview, even for our highly popular courses.
Don’t forget that you can apply to up to 5 university/course choices via UCAS – so we all have more applications than places initially. At UoG some of our applicants apply to more than one course with us, and we are happy to receive multiple choices.
We will continue to welcome applications before and after the new 29th Jan 2021 UCAS initial deadline
Offers and entry requirements
We will continue to be flexible and welcoming with all applications we receive and we have not increased our entry requirements this year compared to last. Some of our courses are highly popular (such as Physiotherapy, Primary Teaching and Paramedic Science), but in all cases our mindset is to find reasons to make you an offer or send you an interview invite, not to reject you. The average overall UCAS tariff on entry at UoG is around 115-120 UCAS points (around CCC-BBB at A level is typical), but we accept a range of grades across the UCAS tariff.
We’ll continue to welcome additional qualifications such as EPQ and Welsh Baccalaureate alongside A levels, BTEC, PreU and Cambridge Technical. We also accept a mix of A levels and vocational/technical qualifications and will embrace the new T levels from 2022. We welcome Access to HE course applicants and our students come from over 50 countries worldwide – so our admissions team are experienced in making offers to a wide range of international qualifications. We also welcome applications from students from all ages, for example c20% of our students in 2020 were aged over 21 on entry.
We’ll be regularly looking at the impact of COVID19 on study across the UK and beyond. Where relevant, we may revise our typical requirements to ensure they remain fair for all applicants, for example as a result of the cancellation of A levels and other exams in the UK. Any changes for this reason would be positive – we may remove or lower academic requirements, but we will not add or increase requirements.
Interviews – online for 2021 entry
Due to the current situation with COVID19 across the UK, we are planning for our interviews to be online during December 2020-March 2021. If we are able to revert to face-to-face interviews, we will do so based on Government guidance at the time.
We have published guidance and tips on what to expect for your interview. We will be running online interviews for courses that normally include a conditional offer (ie you have to achieve a particular grade to be assured of a place) such as Nursing, Paramedic Science, Physiotherapy, Teaching and Social Work. We also interview/audition for courses such as Creative Arts, Media, Design, Architecture where an unconditional or conditional offer may form part of the process. We have published guidance on what to expect, what we look for, and how to make the most of an online interview.
At UoG we will allow you to take these interviews in school/college or at home, whatever is most convenient or allowed at the time. Consider informing your school or college if you’ll be taking part in online interviews during January-April, as they may need to provide space, time out of lessons and rooms for you and other students to take part. If you are unable to attend School/College in person, you can of course login to your interview from home. Please contact us if this presents a challenge, for example with technology issues.
We recommend getting together with a few friends to practise your online digital presence, check your background, screen, camera and tech. You will need access to a PC, laptop with a camera, mic and the session will normally be via Microsoft Teams, which is available free.
While there will not be a dress code for these on-screen interviews, consider your audience and how you come across in a relaxed and professional way, relevant to the industry or career you would like to work in! Our interview guidance pages will be regularly updated to reflect current Coronavirus restrictions.
If current Government restrictions allow, there will also still be small scale campus visit opportunities during the process to allow you to get a feel for our campuses in Cheltenham and Gloucester. These will be published on our campus visit pages when available and we look forward to welcoming you. We also have larger open days planned in the summer of 2021 with the first one on 22nd May.
We plan to continue our fair and transparent unconditional offer policy in 2021. You may receive an unconditional offer as a result of your GCSE (or equivalent) grades, reference, exam/assessment predictions, personal statement and other relevant evidence. For courses which require an interview or audition, such as arts, design and media, the outcome of the interview/audition will form part of the selection process and may include a conditional or unconditional offer. Students who already have their grades may receive an unconditional offer in the normal way, including those who require an interview first.
In all cases we expect you to continue working hard for your coursework and assessments in the usual way if you receive an unconditional offer. This is part of the trust we place in our students and in making a commitment to them with an unconditional offer. We also offer an Academic Merit Scholarship for 2021 entry, which is a grades-based award, designed to reward academic achievement based on your exams, assessments or teacher assessed grades.
You should not feel pressured into making an early decision and can wait to hear from all your chosen universities before deciding which courses to accept as your firm and insurance choice. You will receive a date by which to reply to all your offers from UCAS (10 June 2021 for most UK applicants). Our first-year accommodation application deadline is in July, so you have plenty of time to make a decision. We have university-managed accommodation in Cheltenham and Gloucester, on or close to campus, with a first-year guarantee scheme in place.
Practical assessments and experience
If you are studying an A level in a science, we will not require a pass in the separate Science Practical Endorsement for 2021. This is a direct result of the challenges some schools/colleges are facing with practical assessments. We also appreciate that some BTEC and other vocational courses may have practical sessions and assessments delayed or cancelled this year. We will take this into account when making offers and confirming places. At UoG we will continue to teach our students practical and/or lab skills for those relevant courses so are confident you will be able to catch up.
Disruption for schools, colleges and examinations
Most students applying in 2021 will have experienced considerable disruption to their education through the move to online learning and closure of some schools/colleges during 2020-2021 across the UK and beyond. As in any year, we will also be mindful of these challenges when assessing final results, should overall performance be lower than normal. We are continually monitoring the situation in other countries for our international applicants too and will provide support and resoources to help you prepare and settle in, including via our myglos app.
We appreciate you may also experience specific circumstances (related or unrelated to COVID19) which may affect your ability to perform academically. We have a policy on mitigating and extenuating circumstances which is available online if you need it.
If you have results and qualifications from 2020
If you achieved your final qualifications last year and meet our typical offer for your chosen degree (after any relevant interview if this applies) then we will be able to consider and accept those results as normal. If your grades are not as you hoped, we may be able to offer you a foundation year or invite you to an informal interview to assess your motivation and competence.
Resitting qualifications from 2020
We welcome applications if you are resitting some or all of your qualifications from 2020. We know that the circumstances for any awards in 2020 may not reflect your ability, and as such, you will not be penalised for any lower results in 2020. We will accept the results of any resit exams taken this year, as long as you receive the results by the end of the 2021 cycle, which is normally August 2021.
UCAS Personal statements and references, including work experience
Due to COVID-19, we appreciate that some applicants will have struggled to find work experience to support their application.
Universities including Gloucestershire will think flexibly about work experience and not penalise you for limitations to this. However, we would encourage you to think about what you can do, rather than what you have missed. Have you read up on your course or vocation so you can demonstrate that on your application? Have you accessed any virtual opportunities such as webinars and experiences that provide an insight?
If you have been volunteering or working, talk about your transferable skills. You may want to reflect on how you have adapted to the situation in your personal statement and any interviews you go along to.
It will be particularly important in your Personal Statement to talk about the relevance of relatable skills. What do you know, why do you want to do the course and what difference do you want to make? If there are particular skills you know will be needed for your course, such as group work, develop any skills you might need to strengthen such as confidence communicating to others. It’s also worth remembering that everyone is in the same situation as you. Don’t forget that in general we are finding reasons to make you an offer or invite you to an interview, not finding reasons to reject you
We also encourage your teachers/advisers to briefly add or link to any COVID19 context on the UCAS reference, eg how your school/college has adapted to the challenges and what the typical arrangements are for learning.
And finally – stay positive!
As always, please keep in touch with us with any queries, questions and we look forward to your application. At Gloucestershire we are committed to supporting our students to be the best they can be, before, during and after their time with us.