Apply again to 3 courses

Previously, candidates could apply to one course when applying again.

Under the new policy, candidates can apply to 3 courses when applying again.

Why we changed the policy

The policy where candidates can apply to only one course was inherited from UCAS Teacher Training.

We did not understand why the policy was designed this way.

We wanted to test our hypothesis that having only one course choice disheartened candidates and caused them to drop out of the application process.

Our user research found that:

  • candidates expected to have 3 course choices when applying again
  • both candidates and providers felt that the policy penalised candidates for not getting a place
  • candidates felt that having only one course choice signified that they had been considered unsuitable for teaching and that they were being discouraged from applying again

In reality, there are many reasons why someone’s first application does not work out. For example, candidates may not know what to expect at an interview and so do not prepare accordingly.

Impact on teacher training providers

We felt that changing the policy would not have a significant impact on teacher training providers.

Providers thought that any increased workload could be managed because the number of people who apply again is relatively low. Around 10% of all candidates who submit a first application apply again.

More applications may actually benefit providers, giving them more candidates to choose from.

What the new policy looks like

Application task list where candidates are prompted to add 3 courses
Candidates are prompted to add 3 courses from their task list.
Course review page where candidates are prompted to add 2 more courses after selecting a course
After selecting a course, candidates are prompted to add 2 more courses.
Course review page where candidates are prompted to add one more course after selecting 2 courses
After selecting 2 courses, candidates are prompted to add one more course.
Email candidates receive When their application ends, where they are encouraged to apply again and choose 3 courses
When their application ends, candidates are encouraged to apply again and choose 3 courses.

Outcome of the policy change so far

On 2 March 2022, 7 working days after launch:

  • 57.3% of candidates who applied again chose 3 course
  • 11.1% of candidates who applied again chose 2 courses
  • 31.6% of candidates who applied again chose one course

This brings the average number of course choices from 1 to 2.26 when candidates apply again.

Within 7 working days of introducing the policy, 9 candidates had received offers and many more were attending interviews.

However, in this same timeframe, we observed that candidates were more likely to be offered a place if they had chosen only one course.

This is possibly because providers sometimes encourage candidates to apply again if their application was rejected by default, so that the provider can then quickly offer the candidate a place.

The statistics will be more useful as time goes on. Providers normally have 40 working days to respond to applications, so we do not have a complete picture yet.

After more time, we expect to see an improved success rate for candidates who apply again with 3 course choices, compared to what we saw in the first 7 working days after introducing the policy.

Overall, we expect that candidates who apply again will be more likely to be offered a place than they were before we introduced the policy.