Troubling article in The Sunday Times today about the fall in applicants for HE courses. Universities across the country have been bracing themselves for a reduction in the number of students seeking a place in 2012, but it's been a bit like staring into a dark cave, with nobody knowing for sure exactly how the rise in fees will effect school leavers. This week UCAS will publish figures up to October 15th - which was the deadline for Oxbridge (received wisdom suggests that 10% of all applications are made by this date.)
Early returns from some London institutions suggest a dramatic fall. Goldsmiths suggests a 34% decrease and City University are looking at a 40% drop. St Mary's own speculative figures, taken from open day visitors, suggested that we were holding up (but of course there's nothing to suggest the old ratios between visitors to applicants or offers to undergraduate take up will sustain in the new world.)
I still think that Drama St Mary's have got it right by focusing on creating degrees that take the best of the Drama School and merge it with courses which, for want of a better word, explore and analyse creativity, through active problem solving. Very few of our graduates go onto academic careers, but many do get work in the theatre industry and nearly all of them leave with an understanding of the need to create opportunities for themselves, rather than waiting around to be recognised and discovered. We hope this dynamic approach to promoting a new breed of resourceful, self motivated practitioner will help us to avoid the coming storm. Let's see.