A visit to UCAS

This month AccessHE Operations Officer, Guy, visited the UCAS offices in Cheltenham to attend a presentation of their new Application Management Service (AMS), which UCAS will be launching in 2018.

UCAS have been working with users, providers and specialist knowledge organisations to improve the new AMS and this workshop saw organisations with a focus on widening participation invited to come to look at progress made on the system, give feedback and explore some ideas aimed at further enhancing it.

Prior to the workshops, attendees had been given the opportunity to look at a demo of the postgraduate AMS to give a flavour of what UCAS is building towards for undergraduate applications. On the day, members of the UCAS development team demonstrated different elements of the new AMS, focussing especially on the applicant profile page.

In the breakout discussions that followed, tables gave feedback on topics such as whether applicants should be asked to provide particular information and the wording of the text explaining why certain background information, such as declarations of disabilities or care experience, is being collected. Groups also discussed personal statements and how this section can be best presented to avoid putting up barriers to learners who may lack sufficient support to complete one.

UCAS are planning on holding further feedback sessions before the launch of the new AMS, including one with a student panel. They are also keen to hear more feedback from organisations in the HE sector. Those wishing to give the postgraduate demo a try can do so here: https://demo-digital.ucasenvironments.com/search. This will give users an idea of what UCAS is looking to develop for undergraduate applications. You can register as if you are a learner and sign in to see the information. There is a feedback button in the demo that users can click on to give feedback on what they see.

The day proved to be a useful insight into the thought processes behind the new UCAS AMS. It was great to be given a chance to give feedback on a service which is a crucial part in the learner journey into HE. AccessHE would like to thank UCAS for the opportunity to attend this presentation.