July 14, 2020

Applications to UK universities increased during Covid-19 lockdown

Applications to UK universities increased during Covid-19 lockdown

The UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has reported a 1.6% increase in applications from 2019. Over 40% of all 18-year-olds in the UK have now applied to attend university.

While the full economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is a long way from being fully understood, in the short term, job vacancies are likely to be extremely scarce. 

Limited travel possibilities also make a traditional gap year less appealing or even achievable. While, students who delay applying to university until 2021 also risk having to compete with a new cohort who haven’t suffered the same education impacts, including abandoned exams and predicted grades. 

Carroll-Meehan of the University of Portsmouth says the “choice for many students will be to look for education options to improve future employment prospects, and hope they can ride out the recession with the safety net of a place in full time education.”

Speaking to graduates, who will face similar issues entering the labor market this year, Philip Oreopoulos in his IZA World of Labor commentary piece also advises young people to consider acquiring new skills or to stay on in school. He feels, “Now would be an excellent time to pursue a one- or two-year graduate program of interest that leads to higher earnings, a new career, or a chance to enter the labor market in better times.”

Oreopoulos concludes: “The pandemic presents opportunities to gain experience, help others, and mature in ways you never otherwise would have imagined. Stay patient, optimistic, and persistent and things will (hopefully) work out.”

Read more IZA World of Labor Covid-19 content.