Frequently Asked Questions for Schools/Colleges on 2013 Admissions
Alan Carlile, Head of Admissions, answers your questions about admissions to the University of Sheffield in 2013
There’s a lot of talk about “ABB+” in 2013 – what’s it all about?
For 2013, the government is allowing Universities to recruit as many students as they want who achieve ABB or above at A-level (or equivalent). At the same time they are imposing limits on the recruitment of students who achieve less than this.
So what exactly does the move to “ABB+” mean for applicants in 2013?
As Universities will have the flexibility to admit more students who achieve ABB+, more applicants with the potential to achieve these grades are likely to be made offers for 2013. However, these offers are more likely to be at grades of ABB or above.
Does it mean that most courses at Sheffield will now have entry requirements of ABB or higher?
Yes. In fact only a small number of courses at Sheffield had entry requirements below ABB in 2012. Some of these courses have now raised their entry requirements to ABB for 2013, but a small number will continue to have entry requirements of BBB.
How does it work for applicants who have a mix of combinations – for example one or two A-levels, plus BTEC?
At Sheffield we will continue to consider applications like this and students taking combinations of qualifications should not be deterred from applying. However – by way of background - applicants taking a mix of qualifications are not classified as ABB+ whatever their level of achievement. This means Universities will have to use up some of their limited “non ABB” places for such applications.
What about applicants who have done “Access to HE” courses at their local college?
The Access to HE Diploma is counted as equivalent to the achievement of ABB, but only when a student has passed and achieved 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.
How can I find out if an applicant is treated as “ABB” – where can I find the equivalences?
The equivalences to ABB are defined by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and can be found on their website at: www.hefce.ac.uk/data/year/2012/abbequivalences2013-14
Does all of this mean that Universities are no longer going to accept applicants with combinations of qualifications, or qualifications such as EU qualifications?
Not at all. Universities benefit from having students who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and who have studied different qualifications. However because of the introduction of ABB+ policy, there may be fewer places available for these students than in the past.
At Sheffield, we are committed to continuing to recruit students who have completed a wide range of different qualifications (including combinations).
So, thinking about the admissions process - if an applicant gets an offer of AAB from Sheffield but only achieves ABB in August - what will happen?
As Universities now have more freedom to recruit students achieving ABB or above at A level, there may well be more flexibility in August for an applicant who achieves slightly less than their AAB+ offer. Applicants should contact their 'Firm' choice in August for guidance if they just miss their grades.
And if an applicant gets an offer of ABB but only gets ABC, what will happen?
As the Government is restricting Universities' recruitment of students achieving below ABB, there may be slightly less flexibility for those applicants who achieve lower grades than an ABB offer (for example if they achieve ABC, BBB or below). However, it is getting harder to predict these sorts of matters. In 2012, a number of leading Universities still had unfilled places for students with qualifications below AAB, and this might be the case again with ABB+. The best advice for applicants is still to contact their 'Firm' choice in August for guidance if they just miss their grades.
If an applicant does better than expected at A-level – what should they do?
There will be places available at a range of Universities through Adjustment and Clearing in August 2013 for those applicants who want to consider new options. Applicants can find vacancies by visiting the UCAS website, University websites or by directly contacting the University that they are interested in.
Are there any changes for part-time degree applicants in 2013?
Part-time courses are not currently affected by the introduction of ABB+ policy.
Are there any changes to University fees and funding in 2013?
Fees and funding at the University have not changed for 2013. We will be charging tuition fees of £9,000 a year for UK/EU students taking full-time, undergraduate degrees. Students don't have to pay anything upfront to attend university. Loans and grants are available to cover tuition fees and living costs and repayments are only made once students have graduated and are earning over £21,000 a year.
More information about finance and funding can be found on our website at: www.shef.ac.uk/undergraduate/finance/fees/2013
Another thing that people are talking about is the “KIS” or “Key Information Set” – what is that all about?
The Key information Set (KIS) helps applicants to start comparing different courses and universities. It includes items of information which students have said they find most useful when making choices about which course to study. The KIS can be found via the Unistats website at: http://unistats.direct.gov.uk
We think it is very important that applicants get the best possible information before choosing a University and course, and the KIS – along with visits to Open Days and looking at University publications and websites – is one of the ways they can do this.
If after reading through the FAQs we still haven’t answered your questions
you could try Ask Sheffield, a wide-ranging source of information about the University of Sheffield:
or, for students who are in process of applying, they may find the answers they need by going to our Applicant Information Desk at: