MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSION COMMITTEE
HELD ON TUESDAY 30 JANUARY 2007
Present: Mr D Robb (Chair), Dr P Baker, Dr M Barahona, Dr J Bradley,
Dr L Craig, Dr M Deonarain, Mrs L Green, Mr B Harris,
Dr S Lucyszyn, Dr E McCoy, Prof G Parry, Dr S Skinner, Ms M Thody,
Dr A Thomas-Betts, Ms R Ellis (Secretary)
In attendance: Mr M Heneghan (for Dr Bates), Mrs J Jackman, Dr G Moore,
Ms L Richardson, Mrs S Stone
Apologies: Dr J Bates, Prof D Craig, Dr E Greenhalgh, Prof J Laycock,
Dr O Matar, Prof R Rawlings
1. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2006 were approved.
2. Matters Arising
2.1 Item 3.3 Report of the Working Party on the Schwartz Report
It was noted that no decision had yet been communicated regarding
funding of the training of new Admissions Tutors. The Chair agreed DAR
to follow this up with the Chair of the Recruitment and Admission RR
2.2 Item 3.6 Cambridge Pre-University Qualification
The Chair reported that a meeting had taken place with
representatives of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) where
feedback had been given on the individual subject syllabi. There had
been broad agreement from staff who were consulted that the
qualification would be acceptable for entry to the College and this had
been communicated to CIE.
2.3 Item 4 Statistical Reports
The Committee received a summary of the entry qualifications of the
2006 intake. It was noted that the A level points scores continued to
rise year on year and that, for those who entered with non-A level
qualifications, a high proportion had taken the International
Baccalaureate. The Secretary was asked to investigate whether the
number of students entering with Scottish qualifications had changed RE
following the introduction of the new tuition fee structure.
A small number of applicants were being accepted each year from
access and foundation courses and it was noted that the majority had
taken foundation courses validated by other HE institutions such as
Warwick, UCL and, in the case of those accepted for Medicine,
Thames Valley University.
Jan Jackman, as part of her new role as Assistant Registrar with
responsibility for Qualification Equivalency, was intending to begin JJ
work on an information listing for use by selectors which would cover
non-standard and overseas qualifications offered for entry to
undergraduate courses. It was agreed that it would be helpful if this
listing could include information on individual foundation/access
courses of which the College had experience.
Mrs Jackman was asked to comment on the acceptability of
qualifications from the countries which had just entered the European
Union. Whilst Romanian school leaving qualifications would be
acceptable, providing high scores had been obtained, there was
concern about the level of Bulgarian school leaving qualifications. It
was likely that they were equivalent in standard to Scottish Highers,
which were not acceptable as stand-alone qualifications for entry to
the College. Bulgarian students should therefore be advised to
consider taking A level equivalent qualifications or a recognised
foundation course before making an application to College.
3. Imperial Outreach
4. Study Support Bursaries: progress report
The Committee received a report from the Director of Access/Head of
Outreach, Melanie Thody, setting out the activities currently being
undertaken by Imperial Outreach and listing the staff and their specific
responsibilities. The Outreach booklet for 2007 was also circulated
As Director of Access, Ms Thody also had responsibility for ensuring
the effective administration of the Study Support Bursaries which were
introduced as part of the Access Agreement in October 2006, and
presented a progress report prepared by the Student Support Officer.
It was noted that, whilst the take-up for the Bursaries was higher than
expected for the lowest income band, it was much lower than
expected for the income bands above £17.5k. Whilst the Bursaries
have been and continue to be widely publicised, it is clear that not all
eligible students are applying. However, it was noted that applications
were still being received and processed for the 2006 intake.
A number of changes for 2007 entry were outlined in the paper,
including changes in the income bands, and the removal of the UCAS
deadline requirement for eligibility which had been replaced with the
requirement that the College was the applicant’s firm choice.
An updated leaflet was currently being prepared and it was hoped that
this would be published by the end of February.
5. Summary of Direct Entry students admitted from 2003 to 2006
As part of the Committee’s brief is to monitor the progress of students
admitted directly into Year 2 (and exceptionally Year 3), a report was
presented showing the progress of such students admitted since
October 2003. It was noted that there did not appear to be significant
problems and that the majority of such students achieved good
6. Summary of students approved for entry as ‘Special Cases’ in
2005 and 2006
The Committee considered a monitoring report for students admitted
as ‘special cases’. It was noted that the majority of these students
were admitted without an acceptable English Language qualification
and it was agreed that it would be helpful to have further detail on
such students to illustrate the basis on which the student had been
approved for entry. The Secretary agreed to amend and recirculate RE
7. UCAS deadlines and the concept of a ‘’gathered field’.
The Chair summarized the main areas which the Delivery Partnership
Steering Group was discussing, and outlined the areas which may be
contentious from the College’s viewpoint.
It was noted that the decision had already been taken to reduce the
UCAS choices from 6 to 5 and that this would take effect from 2008
The concept of a ‘gathered field’ of applications, with all decisions
being delayed until after the application deadline or beyond, was still
under discussion and the College had the opportunity to have input
via the Russell Group Admissions Group. The Committee were in
agreement that the concept of a ‘gathered field’ would put the College
at a distinct disadvantage if Oxford and Cambridge were permitted to
retain the 15 October deadline and were allowed to publish their
decisions at a much earlier stage. It was clear that such a system
would lead to informal offers being made with all of the associated
problems which this could cause.
The Committee did not support any move towards the removal of
predicted grades or towards the requirement to routinely provide
feedback to unsuccessful candidates. In addition to the resource
implications, standardized feedback was not generally thought to be
helpful to candidates and individual feedback could be challenged and
may lead to litigation. It was agreed that where sufficient information
was published regarding selection criteria, there should be no
necessity to give detailed feedback on decisions.
8. Any other business
(a) The Committee noted the papers which had been distributed since
the last meeting
(b) Registry restructuring
Lorna Richardson outlined the new Registry structure which would
come into effect within the next month.
The admissions function would be absorbed into three Faculty facing
teams, each of which would provide a ‘cradle to grave’ service for their
Faculty. Ruth Ellis, who was to take on the role of Assistant Registrar
(Medicine), would retain the roles of UAC Secretary and UCAS
Correspondent for the College and as such would remain as the main
point of contact for undergraduate admissions issues which crossed
Ms Richardson reported that, in addition to the Faculty facing teams, a
Student Services team would be set up to deal with generic,
student/applicant facing areas including enquiries, and to facilitate this
the Registry was undergoing refurbishment to create a student ‘hub’
which will also be used by other student-facing sections, such as
Accommodation and the International Office.
Concern was expressed regarding the placement of particular staff
within the Faculty teams and the consequent loss of knowledge and
expertise regarding individual courses and Departments which had
been built up within Admissions Teams.
The Chair thanked the staff in Admissions for all of their invaluable
help over the years and asked that staff in academic Departments be
patient and understanding during the next few months whilst Registry
staff were being trained in new areas and the changes were being
(c) Singapore Integrated Programme
Following the College’s agreement to consider applicants undertaking
the Singapore Integrated Programme without the normal GCSE/O
level requirements providing an acceptable English Language
qualification was obtained, an email had been received from the
Ministry of Education in Singapore requesting that the English
Language requirement be waived for these applicants.
It was reported that Oxford and Cambridge, UCL, Kings and LSE had
already agreed to waive the requirement and it was possible that, by
retaining the requirement the College may lose a number of good
applicants. However, it was generally agreed that we should be even-
handed and should not grant a dispensation to one group of
applicants which was not available to other applicants regardless of
their academic background.
It was agreed that this issue would be referred to the Recruitment and DAR
Admission Policy Committee.
9. Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the Undergraduate Admission Committee will
take place on Tuesday 22 May 2007 at 3.00 p.m. in Room 5, Seminar
and Learning Centre, Sherfield Building.