Students should apply to university after results and 'start degree in January'

University admissions systems should be revised so students start in January to minimize mental health issues, a senior director has suggested.

Using predicted grades to secure university offerings can put “tremendous pressure” on students in their final year of high school, according to Samantha Price, director of Benenden School in Kent.

Price, President of the Girls ’Schools Association (GSA), calls for the introduction of a post-qualification application system – and the reduction of the traditional nine-semester degree to eight semesters.

Students could use the fall semester to secure work experience with the help of their ex-school and focus on building skills in areas like financial literacy before starting their studies in January, she said.

In her first few comments when she took up her post, Ms. Price said, “I don’t think our current grading system is any more good, and I don’t think our college application system is doing its job.

“I don’t think it’s fair across industries, and I don’t think it’s fair to the mental health of young people either.”

In June, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs that he would like to introduce a system of making university offers to students after Summer Results Day without the need for legislation.

The Department for Education (DfE) recently held a consultation on moving to a Post-Qualifications Admissions (PQA) system in England due to concerns about the accuracy of the predicted grades.

One possibility under consideration would be for students to apply as usual during the semester, but university offers would only be made after the results date.

The other option would be for students to apply to the university in the summer after graduating from high school and receive offers from institutions – and the start of studies could be postponed to later than September or October.

The new GSA President supports a system whereby students only apply to the university after receiving their results and are in contact with the school during the application process.

She added, “I think there is actually a lot of community work that young people would really benefit from getting involved in, and that really helps with mental health issues too.”

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