Two universities drop entrance requirements

Surrey joins Birmingham in lowering grade requirements to reflect impact of pandemic on education

The University of Surrey has lowered grade requirements for next year in response to the damage inflicted on education by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There will be a reduction of one grade in the entry requirements for the majority of undergraduate courses starting in September 2021.

“We are taking this action now to relieve the pressure and anxiety facing this year’s applicants, as they experience ongoing disruption and uncertainty surrounding exams and assessment of their learning,” said Lizzie Burrows, director of recruitment and admissions at the University of Surrey.

“By taking this step, we can provide one additional element of certainty and reassurance that these students will be protected from unfair disadvantage as a result of the impact of the pandemic.”

The university said that current applicants would be notified of the amended requirements over the next few days.

By taking this step, we can provide one additional element of certainty and reassurance that these students will be protected from unfair disadvantage – Lizzie Burrows, University of Surrey

The move comes a week after the University of Birmingham announced it would reduce entrance requirements by one grade across most programmes in order to ensure that the cohort taking exams this year were not disadvantaged compared with those who did so before Covid, or those who will do so after the pandemic.

“We recognise the need to adapt our admissions approach for this year given the extraordinary disruption affecting these students and their schools and the fact that many are likely to experience more than a year of interrupted learning by the time they sit their exams next summer,” said Professor Sir David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham.

“Reducing the entry requirements for almost all of our programmes by one grade will, we hope, alleviate some of the anxieties and ensure that anyone who chooses to apply to study at the University of Birmingham is given the best opportunity to succeed in that ambition.”

In its statement, the University of Birmingham said it “also recognises the wider need to review university admissions nationally in order to develop a more effective admissions system that puts the needs of students front and centre.”

At both universities, externally regulated programmes – such as medicine, veterinary medicine, and foundation year courses – will not see their entrance requirements changed.

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