Different communicators need not apply: Why the pre-admissions experience matters for non-hearing and non-verbal learners applying to university
We reviewed the admissions and contact information on the websites of 100 universities which feature in The Guardian’s Best UK Universities 2022 rankings to assess the standard of inclusive communication options universities offer at pre-admission stage. We found many universities have a ‘telephone only’ approach to admissions processes, which is likely to be a disadvantage to people who do not hear or speak to communicate.
Out of the 100 university websites we reviewed:
- 40 per cent only give a telephone number for prospective students to contact them on.
- Only 48 per cent give an email address in addition to a phone number for prospective students to contact them on.
- Just 2 out of 100 offered a British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting service on their website.
- Out of the 58 clearing sites we reviewed, 76 per cent offered no other means of getting information other than by telephone.
This discussion paper explains why the above matters for students who have disabilities which impact how they communicate and the impact a student’s experience at the start of their university journey can have on their progression outcomes after they graduate. We also offer some practical suggestions for what universities can do to improve communications when someone is thinking of applying to university.
We would love to hear what you think. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and join in the conversation using the hashtag #DifferentCommunicators on social media.