Applications on the rise for 2020 admissions

Posted: 22 Nov 2019 - 10:07
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What does the 15 October application deadline tell us about applications for the 2020 cycle?

The first sign is that it promises to be another fascinating year of both applicant and university behaviour.

Applications are up. The 15 October deadline is for applications to Oxford, Cambridge, and medicine, dentistry, and veterinary studies. This rise isn’t a huge surprise considering the overall trend has been going in that direction for these courses for five years straight. Almost 69,000 people applied for courses with a 15 October deadline, up 4% on last year and a new record.

It’s the third straight year of there being more places on offer at medical schools across England. The government has made an extra 1,500 undergraduate medical school places available in recent years. This began with courses that started teaching in 2018 and is being introduced in a phased approach that will see a 25% increase in the total number places in England (to 7,500) by the time this year’s applicants start their courses in September. This, in turn, has seen five new medical schools created in Sunderland, Lancashire, Chelmsford, Lincoln, and Canterbury. More places, courses, and providers available equates to more known opportunities, for more people, and – unsurprisingly – more applicants.


/files/15-october-deadline">15 October deadline

15 October deadline



Widening participation efforts are slowly paying off. For the first time, more than 2,300 18 year olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (POLAR4 quintile 1) across the UK applied for an early deadline course. A not insignificant increase of 8%. Messages about the availability, suitability, and benefits of higher education (HE) are permeating across society.

Numbers of applicants from the most advantaged backgrounds have grown too, but only by 4%. There are 16,010 of them though, so they still outnumber their more disadvantaged counterparts – almost seven times over – at this stage of the cycle.

Applications outside of the UK have also risen, particularly from those outside of Europe. A 7% increase takes their total to 14,540. People want to come to the UK for everything our universities, colleges, and culture can offer. The number of EU applicants has fallen very slightly, by 140. In some ways, this number of applicants is surprisingly robust, against a political backdrop (both nationally and internationally) where uncertainly reigns.

We anticipate that the main application deadline of 15 January 2020 will follow the trend of the 15 October with an increase overall. Last year there were just over 560,000 applications by the 15 January deadline, and January 2020 could see as many as 600,000. With the domestic population statistically this year most likely to be fallow, an increase from international applicants will continue to drive the student applications.


Are you prepared for the 15 January application deadline? It’s your chance to start building a relationship with 600k students! 

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