Declining admissions and standards

Heslington East will be the last straw for York’s declining admissions.

The University is losing out in admissions. While, due to a change in UCAS admissions policy, there was an expected drop in admissions of 7% nationally, York has suffered severely with a drop of 14.5% – over double that figure. Furthermore, ten departments have seen falls of over 20%, with the highest being 44% in Educational Studies. As current students, this will no doubt affect the status of our degree once we leave university, but there is a bigger problem.

Everybody loves to hate Heslington East. But now, the proposed increase in student numbers, combined with the dramatic decrease in admissions can only have one result. More students who apply to York will gain entry. Having previously been a pretty standard university for Oxford rejects, York will become filled with all of those who couldn’t gain entry into other lesser regarded universities.

Obviously it is very easy to blame the change in the UCAS application process. But that just doesn’t explain the higher drop in admissions at York. We can also blame the academic departments involved in the drop, but again, this will not alter that fact that Hes East will fill the University with people who previously would not have got in. We can level blame at the parties involved all day, throwing around arguments against Hes East, but ultimately we must look at the winners and losers.

The winners in the long term will be all those who gain access once Hes East is open. The losers will surely be us. We are the students who have gained access to the University when it was considered one of the greats, when it rated highly in the good University guides of the Guardian and the Times. We have embarked on a qualification here, only to be told once we arrive that in a few years’ time the University’s status will devalue to such an extent, that we might as well have taken up our insurance offers. Well I’m sorry, but that doesn’t seem entirely fair.

In a time when banks are accused of advertising to gain new customers while simultaneously ignoring their existing clients, I start to feel the same about our situation here. That the University feel they can sacrifice the quality of students simply in order to line their pockets from an influx of more tuition fees is absolutely disgraceful. A university that only this year was rated within the top 100 in the world, and probably one of the youngest on the list, should not now get above its own station. We are a small univerisity, we offer excellence in particular subjects, we are in no position to imitate big city universities yet.

In trying to expand the size of the University, it is naive to think that you will instantly get the same calibre of students filling the University whilst admissions are already in decline. If the Vice-Chancellor is willing to let our University, still in its first flush of youth, drop before it has had a chance to peak, it is betrayal to all who both study and work here, and some serious questions need to be asked about his motives in doing so.


  1. When you say “Oxford rejects”, don’t you really mean puffed up, over-privileged and second rate (i.e. the ‘elite’). Admit it, what your really worried about is the diluting of the university’s gene pool with riff-raff. I would like to inform you that not everyone at this university wanted to go to Oxbridge. After all, who wants to go to a university that prides itself on the selection of the ‘elite’, apart from provincial, jumped up, toffee-nosed types like your good self.

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  2. 24 Jun ’08 at 10:30 am

    Non-Oxbridge reject

    “Admit it, what your really worried about…”

    Shouldn’t that be “What YOU’RE really worried about…”?

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  3. Oops, sorry grammar police officer.

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  4. I think you mean “Officer of the Grammar Police”… haha

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  5. 24 Jun ’08 at 4:11 pm

    Heslington East Fan

    We moan about accommodation being rubbish, yet also moan when they build us some more.

    We moan about the lack of a student venue, yet moan when they’re going to build us one.

    We moan about lack of sports facilities, yet moan when they’re building us a swimming pool.

    We moan about the pitfalls of being a small university unable to compete in terms of sports and student nightlife, yet moan when expansion might just bring more possibilities in these areas

    We moan about york not being diverse, yet now we even moan about riff raff invading our campus with their low grades and lack of ability.

    Can nouse EVER be happy? And maybe this applies to the student body as a whole. We just love to complain, yet we’re not sure why.

    We havn’t even seen the entry requirements for the new departments yet, so let’s not judge. And the first department to benefit will be Law. Hardly mickey mouse is it?…

    The staff in charge of this university are not monkeys. They’re not going to put their reputation on the line with this project. It’s time to sit back for a minute and realise students don’t know a thing about campus development – and maybe the developers do.

    I realise most of the anti hes-east hate is just bitterness and graduating before we personally can take advantage, but the project should be a real positive move for both the university and the city of york itself.

    Have a bit of insight, realise most of your claims are unfounded, and at least give the project a chance. I think if you come back in 10 years time you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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  6. Nobody with proper insight into the situation seems to have concerns about Heslington East, from what I’ve seen. It will boost our ratings, boost our intake and boost our selection of courses. We will have better facilities and venues.

    And I, for one, put down York as my first choice when Cambridge was one of my other selections. Because whilst many people at York aren’t Oxford rejects, 100% of the people that go to Oxford university are.

    To be a successful reporter you must embody the public opinion when writing. The Sun does this by writing in the style of an idiot that knows very little, which the majority of us are… try to hide any pretention better, my good sir ;)

    “Everybody loves to hate Heslington East” – in the YUSU Senate I have never heard a complaint about it, only concerns about whether it will have this or that; a student venue, a swimming pool, a snooker hall, carbon neutrality…

    “We are the students who have gained access to the University when it was considered one of the greats, when it rated highly in the good University guides of the Guardian and the Times.” – we are undervalued by both guides. Heslington East will increase the ratings because of the way in which the universities are ranked. Ergo we will come out of an institution that is brilliant at teaching with a degree that is worth more in years to come.

    Plus in ten years we can say “I remember when that used to be a field” and point at the swimming pool and young people will think we’re old. It’ll be fun ;)

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