This Theme aims to advise providers on assuring quality across the multiple and varied pathways open to students to enter higher education. The ways in which the prospective student and the provider connect with these activities will differ, so this guidance focuses on the guiding principles which underpin effective systems.
Expectations and Practices for Admissions, Recruitment and Widening Access
Expectation for standards
The value of qualifications awarded to students at the point of qualification and over time is in line with sector-recognised standards.
Expectation for quality
From admission through to completion, all students are provided with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.
Core practice for standards
The provider ensures that students who are awarded qualifications have the opportunity to achieve standards beyond the threshold level that are reasonably comparable with those achieved in other UK providers.
Core practices for quality
The provider has a reliable, fair and inclusive admissions system.
The provider actively engages students, individually and collectively, in the quality of their education experience
The provider has fair and transparent procedures for handling complaints and appeals which are accessible to all students.
- Policies and procedures for application, selection and admission to higher education courses are transparent and accessible.
- Higher education providers use fair, reliable and appropriate assessment methods that enable them to select students with the potential to complete the course successfully.
- Higher education providers reduce or remove unnecessary barriers for prospective students.
- Information provided to prospective students for recruitment and widening access purposes supports students in making informed decisions.
- All staff, representatives and partners engaged in the delivery of admissions, recruitment and widening access are appropriately trained and resourced.
- Providers continually develop widening access strategies and policies in line with local and national guidance.
- Schwartz Report, Fair admissions, 2004
- Postgraduate study advice, National Union of Students
- Information on the applicant experience, SPA
- Contextualising Admissions: Examining the Evidence Report, SPA, 2013
- Statement on making unconditional offers prior to qualification (PDF, 0.22MB), SPA, 2014
- Admissions policies guidance, SPA
- Applying to university, UCAS
- When to apply to university, UCAS
- UK higher education providers – advice on consumer protection law (PDF, 0.66MB), Competition and Markets Authority, 2015
- Information for Students: A guide to providing information to prospective undergraduate students (PDF, 0.02MB), HEFCE, 2017
- Widening participation in higher education: 2017, GOV.UK
- International Student Lifecycle Resource Bank, Advance HE, Higher Education Academy
- Higher Education Liaison Officers Association
- Qualifications can cross boundaries: A guide to comparing qualifications across the UK and Ireland (PDF, 0.92MB), QAA
- Access to HE
- Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
- Working to Widen Access (PDF, 0.97MB), Universities Scotland, 2017
- Blueprint for Fairness: Final report of the Commission on Widening Access, Scottish Government, 2016
- Equitable Admissions for Underrepresented Groups, ECU/AdvanceHE, 2012
- UK NARIC