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15th June 2023

Exeter widens access to undergraduate programmes, latest University report shows

The University has recently published its sixth Annual Admissions Statistical Report. The Report is a detailed review of applications and admissions to the University between 2019 and 2022, broken down by demographic and by college. It provides a useful barometer of how the University and its colleges are performing in their mission to attract students with high academic potential from all backgrounds, including historically underrepresented groups.

We are pleased that comparisons between the most recent report (which reflects admissions statistics for the academic years 2019-22) and the University’s first report (published in 2018 and covering academic years 2015-17) show that Exeter has made significant progress in terms of broadening the diversity of its UK-domiciled undergraduate intake and improving access for underrepresented groups.

Comparing the University’s first Admissions Statistical Report with its latest Report, the proportion of UK-domiciled undergraduate students at Exeter College:

  • who came from POLAR quintiles 1 and 2 (areas with low rates of progression to higher education) rose from 10.4% to 17.7%
  • who came from ACORN categories 4 and 5 (areas of socio-economic disadvantage) rose from 5.9% to 15.6%
  • who were educated at a state school rose from 49% to 62%
  • who identify as Black or Minority Ethnic (BME) rose from 12.7% to 26.5%
  • who are female rose from 50% to 57%

The statistics report indicates that we are making progress towards a more diverse undergraduate body, and reflects the success of Exeter College’s Access and Outreach initiatives led by Access and Outreach Lead Ellie Lee, and Schools Liaison Officer Evie Sutcliffe. The major goal of these initiatives is to increase the number of qualified applicants from areas of socioeconomic disadvantage and areas with low historic progression into higher education, as well as attracting a greater share of BAME applicants, and to support them on course. This involves a wide variety of engagements, not least through our “Exeter Plus” programme which provides transitional support to bridge the gap from school to University and on-course support to enable students to perform at their full potential.

Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions, Professor Conall Mac Niocaill, notes “The greater proportion of students studying at Exeter College from diverse backgrounds reflects not only the academic success of these students but also the work put in by a large number of colleagues on access and outreach events. The College is committed to ensuring that all applications are treated on their individual merits and to ensuring that barriers to application, and indeed success on course, are removed.”

Exeter College Rector, Professor Sir Rick Trainor, welcomed the findings of the latest report: “The recent statistics indicating further progress for Exeter in diversifying its undergraduate student body are very encouraging. Exeter College remains focused on widening access and providing a world-class education to the brightest and most promising minds, irrespective of background.”

Read the full report here.

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