Most degree-course places are being filled quickly, except for the usual slower pattern in the sciences and engineering, but 'there are undoubtedly signs of the recession having an effect', according to David Warner, pro vice- chancellor of the University of Central England, formerly Birmingham Polytechnic.
'Quantity surveying and estate management have been hit, and courses involving building, construction and the built environment. Computing and computing-related courses have also been hard-hit by the recession.'
He advised students not to be put off these courses: 'The economy is very unpredictable so people should not assume that because things are bad now it will be the same when they graduate.'
Mr Warner's advice for candidates who still do not have places is: do not panic. 'The situation is changing all the time. There may be nothing on Monday but something on Thursday because of people moving between universities and (former) polytechnics, or changing their minds about going into higher education. Places fill up then become half empty. By and large there are enough places for all those who want them.'
Ian Pickering, the academic registrar of Hull University, also advised prospective students to keep ringing institutions. 'The phones have eased off considerably so they should be able to get through now,' he said. Hull is over target in arts and social sciences and the sciences are rapidly coming up to required numbers.
At Bristol University, places in the arts, humanities and medicine are almost full, with only one or two vacancies left. There are still places in the hard sciences and engineering. Don Carleton, the information officer, said: 'We are all fishing in a diminished pool for science people.'
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