Leeds University is aiming to recruit more candidates who have chosen it as their first choice to avoid a repeat of the “unprecedented” shortfall in students it faced last year.
Its vice chancellor Professor Michael Arthur also told the YEP that the university would be more geared up for attracting students through clearing when A-level results are announced next week.
Last summer the institution was left with more than 500 unfilled places after being hit by changes to the way universities could recruit and a drop in the number of top performing A-level students.
The reforms meant universities could take on an unlimited number of students who achieved two As and a B or better at A-level but had their numbers cut for candidates who performed less well.
The reforms were meant to ensure that top universities did not need to turn away talented students. However an unexpected slump in A-level grades last year meant there were 8,000 fewer AAB students than had been predicted.
Prof Arthur said this left Leeds struggling to attract the numbers of top students it had done in previous years – particularly those who had chosen Leeds as their insurance offer through UCAS. He said: “In the past insurance offers have made something like 10 to 15 per cent of our students. Last year it fell to three per cent.”
He said this was because the shortage of top students meant other elite universities were rejecting less candidates than they had done in previous years. Prof Arthur said: “We have been trying to get more people to the campus.
“We know that if we can get people to ‘touch and feel’ the university, get a sense of our quality and the friendliness of the city then they are twice as likely to choose us.”