More than a third of students applying to university are setting their sights higher after using the new UCAS Hub, which brings together information and advice on all their options for life after school in one dynamic place.
It is a personalised, digital space for young people considering their post-18 choices, as well as anyone thinking about returning to education.
In a survey of those who have used the Hub so far, 39 per cent said they are now considering universities with higher entry requirements.
The Hub is designed for exploration and reflection – meant for students to return to time and time again while they make, what could be, their first life-defining decision. Most respondents agreed they would keep coming back as new features are added in the coming months and years.
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of students are now thinking of applying to universities or colleges they hadn’t previously considered, with 65 per cent saying the Hub has expanded their knowledge of the subjects on offer at undergraduate level.
60 per cent said the Hub has made them actively think about an option that they weren’t initially considering, whether that be a different university or college, a new subject or an apprenticeship. A quarter of students specifically said they would now think about applying for an apprenticeship instead of, or as well as, a degree.
Alternative careers are also being weighed up, with almost half of students saying the Hub has helped them to reflect on their future, for when they have completed their undergraduate course.
Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said: ‘A new day has dawned as personalised information and advice arrives for all students with the UCAS Hub.
‘We want to turn the research process on its head. Rather than having to seek out information and advice, then create an application, our new Hub will instead encourage students to reflect and define what’s important to them and their future, with relevant information and ideas being offered.
‘The Hub gives students the opportunity to explore everything in one place. We’re already seeing them taking the time to delve into all available pathways and discovering the exciting routes on offer. As an independent charity, we’re well placed to offer impartial advice for students, and the Hub will help them navigate the roads ahead.’
Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister, said: ‘Students now have a wealth of different and exciting paths they can take after 18, and the new UCAS Hub provides those applying for university access to the best information and guidance for their future.
‘The Hub is not just about helping students with their applications, it is about encouraging them to aim higher and think about what they really want to get out of their future career.’
Shaun Hiscox, current student at the University of South Wales and member of UCAS’ Student Advisory Group, said: ‘I think the Hub looks fantastic. The accessible design provides an effortless transition between different sections, and the colourful style removes a sense of formality that was felt before.
‘The step-by-step process is wonderful and will help applicants stay focused. The ability to select by area and local landmarks is attractive as someone may want to live in the city and study in a busier environment, as opposed to someone else, who’d like to study near a beach. The whole overhaul looks amazing!’
Jo Moore, Progression & Employability Adviser at Exeter College said: “My team will be encouraging students to use the UCAS Hub this cycle, as having all the information, personal statement help, and courses in one place is really useful.
‘It’s a brilliant system to which I look forward to seeing progress in the future. Good job UCAS!’