10. Undergraduate Admissions
1. This section provides a set of guidance notes for all those involved in undergraduate selection. It outlines policies relating to undergraduate selection as well as procedures for dealing with applications.
2. The AQH section will be reviewed at the end of each undergraduate admissions cycle and updated to reflect policy and/or procedural developments.
3. The Undergraduate Admissions Office is part of the Academic Quality & Records Office (AQRO) and is located on the first floor of the Cledwyn Building.
Undergraduate Admissions Office, AQRO,
Aberystwyth University, Penglais Campus
Ceredigion. SY23 3DD
Generic contact details:
Tel: 01970 622021 E-mail: email@example.com
4. The Undergraduate Admissions Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday-Thursday and 9am – 4pm on Friday (excluding public holidays and university closed days). Enquiries can be made in person, over the phone or via email. The office does not have dedicated social media platforms.
10.2 General Principles
1. Aberystwyth University, in conformity with the general intention of its Charter, confirms its commitment to a comprehensive policy of equal consideration for all applicants to the University.
2. No applicant for a place whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level should receive less favourable treatment on grounds such as sex, age, ethnic origin, disability, religion, marital/parental status, or any comparable grounds.
3. The University aims to provide opportunities for prospective students who are capable of benefiting from, and successfully completing, a degree or other scheme irrespective of their background.
4. The University is committed to the five core principles of fair admissions as defined in the Schwartz Report (2014): An admissions system based on transparency, selection based on the applicants achievements & potential, adopting assessments methods that are reliable & valid, minimising barriers to entry, and professional in every respect & underpinned by structures and processes.
5. All applications received by the appropriate UCAS deadlines of the year of entry are guaranteed to be given consideration. Applications received beyond this date will be considered at the discretion of the University.
10.3 Strategic Approach and Internal Structures
1. Undergraduate enrolment targets are approved by the University Executive in consultation with Institute Directors.
2. Annual undergraduate applications targets are developed by the Planning & Governance Department. These targets are set as part of the contract between the University Executive and Academic Institutes, and are reported to the Recruitment and Marketing Committee.
3. The Recruitment and Marketing Committee, which reports to the Academic Board, is responsible for developing, reviewing and revising recruitment and marketing strategies, as well as for the associated policies and procedures.
10.4 Application Routes
1. The vast majority of undergraduate applications are received online via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details in regard to the ‘UCAS Apply’ online application process are available at www.ucas.com/apply
2. Whilst it is recommended that applicants apply via UCAS wherever possible, a direct application route is also available (NB: This route should only be used by applicants a) applying solely to Aberystwyth University, not multiple higher education providers or b) applicants applying for any provision with a non-standard start date).
10.5 The Undergraduate Application Process
1. Designated staff in the Undergraduate Admissions Office have authority to make offers on behalf of academic departments for the majority of undergraduate courses. (NB: Applications for foundation courses and courses in fine art are sent directly to the relevant admissions tutor for their review).
2. Offers will be made subject to receiving a complete application and in accordance with the admissions criteria defined by each academic Institute / Department in the annual offer making strategy.
3. Any application falling outside of standard criteria will be forwarded to the admissions tutor(s) within the relevant academic Institute(s) / Department(s) for their review and decision.
4. All decisions will be processed by the Undergraduate Admission Office and communicated to applicants.
5. The University has a defined set of responsibilities for all admissions officers who are based in academic departments (see Appendix A).
10.6 Entry Requirements
1. The University operates an inclusive admissions policy which values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their individual merits, and offers can vary.
2. Institute Directors, in consultation with the Undergraduate Admissions Office, will be invited each autumn to submit details of their undergraduate entry requirements for the next application cycle. This information will be collated by the Undergraduate Admissions Office in the form of an offer making strategy, presented to the Recruitment and Marketing Committee and forwarded to the University Executive for their approval.
3. Approved offer levels will be published on the University’s website, UCAS.com and in the undergraduate prospectus.
4. Admissions Tutors will be informed by the Undergraduate Admissions Office in regard to external curriculum changes and/or qualification reform which could affect future offer making.
5. Enquiries relating to the University’s entry requirements should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Undergraduate applicants are generally required to demonstrate current or prior study at Level Three (e.g. A level or equivalent).
2. The University accepts a range of non-UK qualifications for admission onto undergraduate programmes. Qualification equivalences are set by the Head of Undergraduate Admissions in consultation with the International Office and academic admissions tutors.
3. Enquiries relating to the University’s accepted undergraduate qualifications should be directed to email@example.com
10.8 Contextual Admissions and Special Circumstances
1. Contextual admissions is a term used to describe additional information (beyond that contained in a standard undergraduate application) which provides a context with which to account for an applicant’s social or educational background.
2. For applicants applying for undergraduate courses in the 2018/19 application cycle, the University will make a contextual offer (1 grade or equivalent below the standard offer) for applicants from 40 Welsh Pathway Schools and 1105 lower two quintile schools in England & Wales as measured by school performance average point score per A level student (data sourced from UCAS). Applicants who are care leavers will also receive the same contextual offer.
3. It is the responsibility of an applicant to inform the University of any circumstances that may have unduly affected their previous or current study. This information should be submitted to the Undergraduate Admissions Office at the point of application or at the earliest opportunity if the special circumstance arise post-application.
4. Special circumstances will be considered at the discretion of the relevant admissions tutor (NB: If such circumstances have already been taken into account by the relevant examination board, further allowances will not be considered.)
5. The University’s Student Support Services offers pre and post-application information, advice and guidance to students. Further information is available here
10.9 Credit for Prior Learning
1. Applicants wishing to claim credit for prior learning are advised to review our rules and regulations in respect of credit transfer.
2. Claims will be considered by the relevant admissions tutor or subject expert who will determine the amount of credit to be awarded.
10.10 Criminal Convictions
1. The University aims to provide opportunities for prospective students who are capable of benefiting from, and successfully completing, a degree or other scheme irrespective of their background. The University also recognises that it has a duty of care in respect of students, staff and visitors.
2. Where an applicant declares information pertaining to a relevant and unspent criminal conviction, this application will be considered in accordance with the University’s Student Applications & Criminal Convictions policy.
Relevant offences include one or more of the following:
• Any kind of violence
• Sexual offences
• Drug dealing or drug trafficking
• Offences involving firearms, arson and/or terrorism
3. The period of time it takes for a criminal conviction to become ‘spent’ is defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. A conviction is considered ‘unspent’ until this defined period has passed.
10.11 Offer making
1. The Undergraduate Admissions Office aims to process standard undergraduate applications within two weeks of receiving them. Non-standard applications which are required to be sent to academic departments may require a longer turnaround. The processing of International applications which are not complete or missing evidence may extend beyond the typical turnaround times.
2. Undergraduate offers will usually be communicated to applicants in the form of a grade offer (e.g. BBB for A level, DMM for BTEC). Where an applicant has a mix of qualifications, offers will typically be made in accordance with a UCAS tariff equivalence.
3. Applicants will be informed in regard to their offer status online (for UCAS applicants) and/or by email.
4. Applicants who are made an offer of study will receive an offer pack in the post and correspondence relating to opportunities to visit. Further correspondence (e.g. details of accommodation options) will be sent to the applicant during the summer.
10.12 English Language Requirements
1. International and EU applicants will need to show evidence of a sufficient knowledge of English. This must be proved before an applicant commences a course.
2. Applicants who have not achieved the required level before submitting their application will have a condition included with their formal offer. This will state the necessary English language requirements that need to be achieved before commencing undergraduate study.
3. Details of English language qualifications currently accepted for undergraduate study are available here.
10.13 Student Visas
1. Aberystwyth University is a registered ‘sponsor’ under the Tier 4 Point-Based Immigration system (PBS). This gives us the ability to recruit and sponsor students who are nationals of countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). The Home Office places responsibilities on students and universities to ensure immigration laws are followed.
2. Applicants from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland will typically require a study type visa before they can enrol and study on a course at the University.
3. Applicants applying for a Tier 4 visa will require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University. Prior to issuing a CAS, the University will undertake a checklist which includes:
- Evidence of how the academic decision has been made
- A copy of the offer letter outlining full course title and course dates
- A copy of academic qualifications reviewed in reaching an offer decision
- Evidence of valid English language proficiency
- A copy of the applicant’s valid passport
- Financial evidence checks
- Confirmation that the applicant has supplied a financial deposit to the University
- Receipt of an Academic Technology Approved Scheme (ATAS) certificate (if applicable)
Following completion of the CAS checklist, a draft CAS will be issued by the University.
4. When an applicant confirms the draft as correct, a CAS will be assigned and the Home Office will then issue a CAS number to the University. This number will be forwarded to the applicant. (NB: A Tier 4 application cannot be made more than three months before the start date of a course).
Enquiries relating to the University’s Visa, Immigration and Compliance policies should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. The University does not typically require applicants to be interviewed as part of the undergraduate admissions process.
2. At a department’s discretion, applicants with non-standard qualifications or mature applicants who do not meet standard entry requirements may be invited by to take part in an interview. Applicants should be informed by an admissions tutor or department administrator as to the nature of the interview and other arrangements (e.g. location, date).
3. Academic departments have the discretion to recommend reduced offers (typically one grade or equivalent) for applicants who attend an applicant visiting day and engage with academic staff (e.g. through an informal discussion). The Undergraduate Admissions Office has responsibility for processing any such reduced offers.
10.15 Aberystwyth University Mauritius (AUM)
1. Applicants wishing to apply for courses at the University’s Mauritius campus are required to complete either an online UCAS application or specific AUM application form.
2. Applications to undergraduate schemes offered at AUM are processed by the Undergraduate Admissions Office in accordance with Section 9.5.
3. Details of the application process and courses available at AUM are available here
10.16 Franchised Courses
1. The University works in partnership with a number of colleges to offer franchised undergraduate courses.
2. A franchise is a process by which the University agrees to authorise a delivery organisation to deliver (and sometimes assess) part or all of one (or more) of its own approved programmes.
3. Typically, applications for franchised programmes will be processed in accordance with Sections 9.5.
4. Enquiries relating to the University’s current franchise arrangements should be directed to email@example.com
10.17 Admission to the University
1. The University will only guarantee acceptance of an undergraduate applicant if the terms of an offer are met in full.
2. Where an applicant has not met the terms of their offer, their application will be reviewed and a decision made as to whether or not to confirm the place.
3. All students will be required as a condition of enrolment to abide by and submit to the procedures of the University’s Rules, Regulations and Information for Students.
10.18 Consumer Law
1. All higher education providers in the UK have obligations in regard to consumer law. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has produced compliance advice for providers which all admissions tutors should familiarise themselves with - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/428549/HE_providers_-_advice_on_consumer_protection_law.pdf
2. Information provided to applicants, including at the offer stage, should be accurate and not include false or misleading information.
3. Enquiries relating to the University’s consumer protection responsibilities should be directed to the Director of the Academic Quality and Records Office.
10.19 Data Protection and Freedom of Information
1. Personal information about applicants should not be divulged to any third party.
2. Under the Data Protection Act and in certain circumstances, the Freedom of Information Act, individuals, both within and outside of the University, have a right to access to their own personal data as held by AU.
3. Access to the Aberystwyth Student Records and Admissions System (AStRA) is strictly controlled and only accessible to staff with approved authorisation.
4. Enquiries relating to the University’s data protection policies should be directed to Data Protection Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
10.20 Feedback and Complaints
1. In the event an applicant wishes to make a formal complaint in regard to an aspect of the undergraduate admissions service, the applicant should write to:
Director of Academic Quality & Records Office (AQRO)
The Director of AQRO will contact the applicant within five working days of receiving the complaint.
In the event that an applicant is not satisfied with the initial reply received, they should contact the relevant Pro-Vice Chancellor:
Pro Vice Chancellor (Student Experience & International)
The Pro Vice Chancellor will try to deal with the complaint within five working days.
NB: Decision made on academic grounds are final and there are no grounds for appeal.
10.21 Responsibilities of Admissions Tutors
1. The designated admissions tutor(s) within each academic department is responsible to the Institute Director for the management of admissions to that department.
2. Departments may have more than one admissions tutor. In these cases, there will be one member of staff appointed to co-ordinate the operation of selection and to liaise with the Admissions Office.
3. In respect of the processing of undergraduate applications, admissions tutors have the following overall responsibilities:
(i) The admissions tutor will give responsible advice and will consult with the Admissions Office, as necessary.
(ii) The admissions tutor will work within the University’s and UCAS deadlines to ensure prompt and efficient decision-making.
(iii) The admissions tutor will liaise with tutors in other Institutes/ Departments in the case of Joint Honours applicants and applicants to inter-departmental degree schemes to make decisions jointly.
(iv) The admissions tutor will take the entire portfolio of evidence into account, as presented by the UCAS form, and will request further evidence as necessary. It is not the case at Aberystwyth that decisions are made solely on the basis of predicted level grades. The admissions tutor will also ensure that mature age students are given every opportunity to discuss their individual case.
(v) The admissions tutor will liaise with the Admissions Office in all cases where there are implications for other areas within the institution e.g. in cases of student support, disability, financial status, discipline, etc.
(vi) The admissions tutor will support the implementation of the University’s admissions policies, and will be responsible for implementing and maintaining the Institute / Department's stated policy criteria on admissions.
(vii) The admissions tutor will not communicate with an applicant who has declined our offer or with an applicant whose record has been cancelled.
(viii) The admissions tutor will adhere to the Code of Practice in the use of the networked Aberystwyth Admissions System (AStRA).
(ix) Neither the University nor the Institute / Department can take responsibility for advice given over the phone. Misunderstandings can often arise. It is therefore the responsibility of the admissions tutor to ensure that advice proffered is not misleading. Important advice e.g. with regards to eligibility for consideration, should be followed up in writing.
(x) The admissions tutor will draw the institution's attention (through the Admissions Office) to any serious inconsistencies between the personal statement and the reference and will be vigilant concerning false statements, omissions or misrepresentations in the application form.
(xi) The admissions tutor should ask his/her department to inform the Admissions Office of any prolonged period of absence e.g. through illness. The Institute Director or Head of Department should then inform the Admissions Office of the replacement.
(xii) The admissions tutor should be in office for an entire admissions cycle to ensure continuity between offer making and decisions concerning acceptance. It is essential that the admissions tutor should be present during Confirmation and Clearing.
(xiii) The admissions tutor is responsible to the Institute Director and Head of Department (where applicable) for ensuring best practice in admission. The admissions tutor will be mindful of the University’s need to recruit students who have the potential to progress and succeed at the University.