Admitted applicants to tertiary education not using the offer
Every year, a significant proportion of applicants with offers of admission to tertiary education choose to not accept or use the offer. Among the 105,320 applicants who received admission offers through Samordna opptak (The Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service), only 60,048 accepted the offer and began studying in the fall of 2018. As many as 43 per cent of applicants with offers of admission did not accept or use the offer. This applicant behaviour has consequences for universities and colleges. For instance, to make sure that all the seats in various study programmes are practically filled, institutions offer more admissions than available seats (UNIT, 2020).
This report studies applicants who choose to not accept or use the offer to tertiary educational institutions in Norway. To “not accept the offer” implies rejecting the admission offer, and “not using the offer” means to accept the offer but not attend the study. The purpose of the report is to investigate applicants’ common characteristics that can potentially create a better understanding of their behaviour. The report examines personal characteristics of the applicants and features of their application.
There is little difference between men and women in the proportion who do not accept/use their offer. We find that men more often than women are inclined to accept the offer without attending. Regarding age, we find the highest proportion of applicants who did not accept/use the offer among 19-year-olds, with 48 per cent in 2018. Conversely, we find that applicants aged 20 and 21 are the most likely to accept and use the offer of admission.
Study programmes of shorter duration have the largest proportion of applicants who do not accept/use the offer. Conversely, applicants to professional studies and five-year master’s programmes are more inclined to accept and use the offer. The proportion who do not accept/use the offer also coincides with the priority of the application. In 2018, among the applicants with offers of admission on their 1st priority, only 34 per cent did not accept/use the offer. In comparison, half of all applicants with offers of admission on 2nd priority did not accept/use the offer.
One in four applicants who did not accept/use the offer in 2018 had completed at least 60 ECTS credits at tertiary education prior to admission. 33 per cent of the applicants who did not accept/use the offer were registered as students in tertiary education the year before. Additionally, we find that nearly four out of ten applicants who did not accept/use the offer also applied the previous year.
As many as 40 per cent of the applicants who did not accept/use the offer in Samordna opptak in 2018 were registered in education the same academic year. Another key finding is that half of the applicants who did not accept/use the offer also applied through Samordna opptak the year after. In the subsequent admission, they are more likely to not accept/use the offer compared to other applicants.
We also look at employment among applicants. 71 per cent of the applicants who did not accept/use the offer in 2018 were registered as employed in November the same year. It is also clear that the employment rate is highest among those who did not accept/use the offer and who were not in any other type of education.
Throughout the report, we also look at admission in 2013 for comparison. We find that the patterns in 2013 largely correspond with those identified in 2018. A more comprehensive discussion of the findings is presented in a concluding chapter.