‘Buyer’s market’ helps pupils to secure university places despite missing grades

Highgate pupil Riaz Razaq, 18, is going to Durham to study geography after getting three As

Highgate pupil Riaz Razaq, 18, is going to Durham to study geography after getting three As - Credit: Archant

There were more university places on offer than ever before this year – which may explain why many pupils were celebrating despite missing out on their target grades.

Camden School for Girls sixth-former Segun Kogbodoke sadly missed out on his predicted three As and

Camden School for Girls sixth-former Segun Kogbodoke sadly missed out on his predicted three As and got three Bs in his A-levels. But the 18-year-old is over-the-moon as his first choice university Loughborough has given him an unconditional offer. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

For pupils like Riaz Razaq at Highgate School, in Highgate Village, disappointment swiftly gave way to elation, as university courses relaxed their demands.

He needed at least one A* to get into Durham University, where he hoped to study geography.

Despite earning an impressive three As in Russian, French and geography, Riaz had fallen just short – yet the university was ultimately more than happy to accept him.

“I could not believe it when they let me in,” he said.


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“That was a bit of a shock – but it’s brilliant.

“I needed an A* but I was not very hopeful, and when I saw three As, I was not too surprised.”

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Riaz, of South View Road, Hornsey, describes geography as “not just a subject, but a passion”.

He eventually wants to “do something environmental, to do with climate change”, and thanks to Durham’s easing of its requirements, he will soon take the first steps towards this dream career.

He perhaps profited from what commentators have claimed is a “buyer’s market” for students this year.

With universities having plenty of places to fill, combined with a slight fall in the number of 18-year-olds in the system, there is said to be increased competition to attract students.

Segun Kogbodoku, who attended Camden School for Girls’ mixed sixth form in Camden Town, was predicted three As, but gained three Bs – in maths, chemistry and economics.

However, he was all smiles as he kept his place to study chemical engineering at first choice Loughborough University.

Segun, of Sussex Way, Holloway, felt that the scrapping of modular exams in January played a part in his lower-than-expected marks.

There are now fewer opportunities to re-sit papers.

He said: “The changes definitely contributed. I think it’s a bad idea. It just stresses out the students.

“But I’ve still got into my first choice. I just love chemistry, and chemical engineering covers so many different areas. Plus, the pay is good!”

La Swap pupil Jessica Hosie missed out on the grades she needed for Cambridge University, but her college, Murray Edwards, has accepted her to study theology.

Jessica needed an A* and two As, but scored two A*s and a B.

It took a nervous phone call to the college before she was told the happy news.

“I’ve been up since 4am,” she said.

“I’m going to celebrate by having a nice long sleep.

“My college has been really supportive about it, and I’m just so happy to go there now.”

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