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Uni Degree Gap: 20% of Students Miss Out on their Desired Degree Subjects

3 Min Read
July 31, 2023

As you navigate through the exciting journey of choosing your academic path, it's crucial to be aware of the challenges that lie ahead. One significant concern many students face is the Uni Degree Gap, in which a staggering 20% of students miss out on the opportunity to choose their desired degree subjects. Let’s explore this issue in depth, shedding light on its causes and implications, and providing valuable insight to help you make informed decisions about your future education.

Big News about Uni Degrees from the BBC

A recent study highlighted the importance of "early engagement" in career information and guidance for young people. Surprisingly, only one in three students become aware of the possibility of attending university during their primary school years. The study by UCAS also revealed a disparity, with students from advantaged backgrounds being 1.4 times more likely to consider university during primary school compared to their less privileged peers.

Furthermore, the study found that disadvantaged students were significantly less likely to have the relevant subjects needed to pursue a degree in more specific fields, such as medicine. In fact, students with parents or carers who are medical practitioners were eight times more likely to choose medicine or dentistry as their field of study.

The influence of parents or carers on students' choice of degree course was also noteworthy, with one in four students relying on them for guidance. Many students tended to follow similar academic and career paths as their parents or carers.

Interestingly, the study revealed that more than a quarter of students would have made different GCSE or National 5 choices if they had known the requirements of their desired degree course. 32% of students also expressed the desire to choose a different post-16 option if given the chance.

This study underscores the importance of early career exploration, equitable access to relevant subjects, and informed decision-making for high school students aspiring to pursue higher education.


Here is a bit of advice so that we as a whole academic ecosystem can improve the readiness of students to take on their future career:Enable Access for


In order to empower high school students to make informed decisions about their future, it is crucial for educational institutions to provide a comprehensive platform that offers equal access to a wide range of career information and advice. This platform should serve as a valuable resource to guide students in selecting degree courses, exploring apprenticeship opportunities, and ultimately choosing fulfilling careers that align with their interests and goals.

Explore and Get Guidance from Mentors

It is crucial for high school students to take the time to delve into their passions and aspirations and determine their future career path as soon as they can. This process involves soul-searching and identifying their true interests and strengths. However, it doesn't stop there. Seeking guidance from mentors who can provide valuable insights and advice becomes equally essential in making well-informed decisions about their professional journey.

In the formative years of high school, students find themselves at a significant crossroads where they are expected to make decisions that will shape their future. It is natural for young minds to seek inspiration and direction from various sources, such as their parents, teachers, and society at large. While their parents' career choices may have served as a blueprint or source of influence, it is imperative for students to expand their horizons and not solely rely on familiar paths.

It's important to remember that your journey towards a university degree is not limited to a single path. While the challenges of securing admission into your desired degree subjects may seem daunting, it's crucial to approach this process with resilience, flexibility, and an open mind.