At this time of year university admissions procedures are in the news a great deal. It seems as though every day a new controversy hits the national newspapers showing that the brightest students will be excluded and that thousands of young people will miss out on a university place. So what do admissions tutors actually do?
Most academic departments have their own admissions tutor. He or she will work with the head of department to drive admissions strategy. The main way of controlling the number of students is to set the limits at which each degree course is full and to set the qualifications required for applicants to be accepted. This year many departments have been raising their entrance requirements in order to limit the numbers of applicants.
Admissions tutors also work with central marketing teams to find the best ways of promoting their department to potential applicants. This usually involves running open days for potential students and their parents to see your university and keeping information updated in the prospectus.
The other key part of the job is to handle applications. This can be done in many different ways. Often, these days, most applications are handled centrally by an admissions team of administrators based at faculty level with only a few applications being monitored by the departmental admissions tutors. Between them, the tutor and the team decide who to accept, who to reject, who to interview or who to make a conditional offer to.
The admissions tutor has to keep abreast of his or her university’s policies on student numbers and of the national situation. It is also important to understand the value of a range of different qualifications. In this country most applicants have A or AS levels, but an increasing number offer a wide range of other qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, Diplomas or the Access course.
So, this is a very important, strategic role within the department. If you have a permanent lectureship chances are you will be asked to take on a role such as this at some point in your university career. As well as being very rewarding, it will also look great on your CV!