The University of St Andrews has recorded an 11.1% rise in applications – the highest of any university in Scotland and one of the highest in the UK, according to statistics released by Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
Over 12,000 prospective students have so far applied to begin study at the Fife university in 2006.
St Andrews is one of the few UK universities to have bucked an emerging national trend of a decline in university applications. Nationally, UCAS has reported a 3.4% fall in the numbers of students applying to enter university.
In Scotland, UCAS says overall university applications are up by 1.6%, although the number of young Scots applying to university is down.
The biggest single rise in UK applications to St Andrews however is from Scottish students, an increase of 12% on 2005.
Applications to St Andrews from English domiciled students meanwhile have grown by 9%, the smallest increase in the past three years, suggesting that cross border tuition fee flight to Scottish universities like St Andrews is not evident.
Overseas applications to St Andrews have grown by 24%.
University of St Andrews Vice Principal Stephen Magee said : “Despite disappointing national trends, we are very encouraged to have recorded an 11% rise in all applications and demonstrated that our application base remains resolutely robust.
“Our biggest single rise in UK applications is from students living in Scotland. More Scots than ever before are now aware that in Fife we have one of Europe’s finest universities and more Scots than ever before are applying to study here.
“The advent of tuition fees in England may or may not be a factor in the overall decline in UK applications noted by UCAS.
“In St Andrews however we cannot see any significant evidence of fee flight to Scotland. Applications to study at St Andrews have grown successively for the past three years and this year’s increase of 9% in applications from English domiciled students is the smallest recorded in that period.”
The UCAS statistics show that there are now 11 applicants for every available place at St Andrews, making it one of the most competitive to enter of all UK universities. The university also boasts the lowest drop out rate in Scotland and the third lowest in the UK behind Oxbridge. The last set of RAE results confirmed St Andrews as one of the country’s most research intensive universities.
It remains the most international of Scotland’s higher education institutions with students from over 100 countries studying in St Andrews and new markets developing in Europe, Asia, the States and the Far East.
“In addition to overseas recruitment, we have promoted the university aggressively in domestic markets recently and that is reflected in the very encouraging growth in applications from Scottish students,” continued Magee.
“We make no secret or apology of our desire to attract only the brightest and most academically potent students to St Andrews.
“We make every effort to ensure the widest possible access to students of potential from wherever and of whatever background.
“These figures would suggest that applicants are not discouraged by the intense competition for places here and that the promise of the highest possible quality of education has an enduring appeal.”
Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of the University of St Andrews. Contact : Niall Scott, tel 01334 462244, mobile 07711 223062University news