4.1 The University is committed to ensuring that selection policies and processes are transparent and are followed fairly, courteously, consistently and promptly; that information concerning applicants remains confidential in line with the University’s Data Protection Policy and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules.
4.2 The University will ensure all admissions decisions are made by those equipped to make the required judgements.
4.3 Selection principles
4.3.1 Entry requirements will be transparent and consistently used for all applicants when considering ability, aptitude, skills, qualifications and prior learning or experience (acquired in the workplace or elsewhere) that indicates their potential to succeed on the course and will be published in prospectuses, leaflets or through the University website.
4.3.2 Selection criteria for courses leading to the University’s own awards will be determined on an annual basis and published in course specifications on the University website. The University reserves the right to review and alter criteria where appropriate and in line with the University’s policies and procedures.
4.3.3 Selection criteria for other courses will be set with regard to guidance and policies issued by the University or by professional/regulatory bodies and will be published in prospectuses, leaflets or through the University website.
4.4 Admissions processes
4.4.1 Opportunity will be given on application forms, at any interviews or other selection activities, for applicants to draw attention to relevant qualifications, experience and other information that might support their application.
4.4.2 Where courses are full and/or waiting lists are held, or when courses have to be closed for any reason, applicants will be informed immediately with the offer of alternative courses wherever possible.
4.4.3 Every reasonable adjustment will be made to support applicants who have disclosed a physical or sensory disability or specific learning need. On the application form, at any interview or during other selection activity, applicants will be encouraged to disclose any disabilities or specific learning needs, in order for us to discuss their needs and put adjustments in place prior to arrival.
4.4.4 Applicants with a criminal conviction will receive clear information on the procedure which will be followed, in accordance with the Staffordshire University Applicants with Criminal Convictions Policy.
4.4.5 For certain courses, particularly in teaching, health, social work and other courses involving work with children, applicants must declare relevant criminal conviction(s), including spent sentences and cautions (see Staffordshire University Applicants with Criminal Convictions policy). Such applicants may be required to undergo a criminal records bureau (DBS) check, the outcome of which will inform the final admissions decision.
4.4.6 For applicants to a course where a reference is required and there has been a significant break since schooling, a personal reference from a professional or employer (not friend or family) may be requested rather than a school reference.
4.4.7 Applicants under 16 years old are admitted only after consultation with parents or guardians and with school or local education authority representatives as appropriate.
4.4.8 The University will carry out checks on documents supplied by applicants to establish authenticity in order to guard against fraudulent applications. Where an application is processed through UCAS, if the UCAS Similarity Detection Service highlights a “non-original” personal statement, the applicant may be rejected, however the University will, in these circumstances, provide the applicant with an opportunity to explain the similarity and provide a ‘new’ personal statement. This will allow the University to continue to consider applications where there may be a valid explanation. Any applicant subsequently accepted as a student should be aware that this record will remain on the student file and could be taken into account, if found guilty of any subsequent academic offence.
4.5 Interviewing and assessment
4.5.1 Applicants will receive clear information on requirements for interviews, auditions, portfolios or any form of assessment applied during the application process. Interviews, auditions and assessments will be conducted and evaluated in a standardised manner for the course.
4.5.2 Decisions and the reasons for the decisions, are recorded in writing to facilitate feedback to unsuccessful applicants.
4.5.3 For certain courses, initial assessment for Basic Skills attainment (numeracy, literacy, ESOL) may be carried out as part of the admissions process. The offer of a place on the course may then be informed by the outcome of those assessments.
4.5.4 Where diagnostic assessment on needs in literacy and numeracy takes place, which is carried out during the induction process, this is not part of the admissions process and will not compromise an applicant’s enrolment on a course. The purpose of these tests is to ensure that appropriate support is provided after an applicant has been admitted.
4.5.5 There will be a clear structure for each interview, or other selection method, and these will be conducted against pre-determined criteria.
4.5.6 Where an applicant is perceived as unsuitable for a particular course then, wherever possible, s/he will be referred to other appropriate courses.
4.6 AP(E)L and Advanced Standing
4.6.1 AP(E)L. Applicants can use the process of the Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning to access Higher Education courses leading to the University’s own awards. The process is based on a portfolio of evidence to show the equivalence of the normal entrance requirement of a specific course.
4.6.2 Advanced Standing is when the applicant enters a Staffordshire University validated course later than the stage, level or year than the normal entry point for the course. Applicants can enter a course with a previous qualification or other certified learning, where this learning is mapped to the Staffordshire University course and it has been established that the learning outcomes, content, currency, academic credit and level of award are appropriate and relevant. Advanced Standing can be awarded for a full level or part level and this denotes the point of entry to the course.
4.7 Making offers
4.7.1 Offers will be made as promptly as possible. Clear information will be provided to the successful applicant on:
- any conditions attached to the offer
- what the applicant has to do next and by when
- when further information e.g. regarding joining instructions, will be provided.
- any arrangements for enrolment, registration and induction
- any orientation or induction for international students before the start of the course
4.7.2 Where a request for deferral of entry to the following year has been made, the University’s ‘Procedure for deferral of a place offered’ will be implemented.
4.7.3 Clear information should be given to applicants who do not meet the required entry criteria specified in the offer regarding their options and what action to take.
4.7.4 Prompt and clear feedback is given to applicants who have not been offered a place, when requested, and advice about alternatives and future options will be given, as appropriate.
4.7.5 Where offers have been made on the basis of fraudulent information, the University reserves the right to withdraw the offer or withdraw the student if enrolled.
4.8 English Language Requirements
4.8.1 As all teaching, learning and assessment at the University is through the medium of English, all applicants will be required to demonstrate that they meet the required level of English language competency for their desired course of study.
4.8.2 Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to have a recognised English language qualification, such as IELTS (International English Testing System), or equivalent at the appropriate level for the course of study for which they wish to be considered. The equivalent qualifications are outlined on the University website.
4.8.3 Each course will state an overall IELTS score (or equivalent) together with any individual element requirements, as and where appropriate.
4.8.4 Where an applicant’s English language competency is below that necessary for their intended course of study, they will be required to successfully undertake a pre-sessional English language course prior to being enrolled on their course.
4.9 Visa requirements including Student visa
4.9.1 Applicants who are not UK, EU or EEA citizens wishing to gain admission to the University must meet and possess the appropriate leave to remain in the UK and satisfy immigration requirements in force at the time of entry onto the course. The University will not normally accept students whose decision by the Home Office is pending.
4.9.2 Students seeking sponsorship through UK Visas and Immigration will be required to meet the requirements as set out by the Home Office in addition to University requirements.
4.9.3 Students who are not UK nationals and who are not holding a Student visa will be required to demonstrate that they have appropriate leave to remain in the UK.