In light of the “uncertainties” surrounding this year’s results, Worcester College said it has accepted all UK offer-holders, irrespective of their grades.
A statement on the college website said: “Many members of our college community and beyond have expressed their concern for the potential impact of yesterday’s A-level results on this year’s incoming students.
“At Worcester we made offers in 2020 to our most diverse cohort ever, and in response to the uncertainties surrounding this year’s assessment, we have confirmed the places of all our UK offer-holders, irrespective of their A-level results.”
The college was praised for the move after some 280,000 A-level entries were downgraded from teacher assessments.
Controversy over the exam system, which used computerised “standardisation” this year in the wake of the pandemic, spiralled when ministers bolted on an appeal route using mock results.
One Twitter user said: “This is an absolutely outstanding move by Worcester College. Demonstrates real vision and leadership when so many other institutions are shutting out bright, capable students because an algorithm told them to.”
Another wrote: “Definitely the right response to the absolute mess that exam results have been this year.”
A third said: “This is incredible! So wonderful to see an Oxbridge college putting students first and fighting for the diversity of its students. Let’s hope for a domino effect!”
It comes after Oxford University applicants who successfully appeal their A-level results were told they may have to wait a year before they can start their degree courses.
Some students who achieve the top grades after challenging their results could have their places at Oxford deferred until autumn 2021 if the institution reaches maximum capacity.
The university has said it would not be possible to meet “ongoing social-distancing restrictions” and other challenges presented by Covid-19 if it went above its maximum intake of students.
The move comes after Universities Minister Michelle Donelan told universities to hold places for applicants challenging A-level grades until they receive the outcome of their appeal.
A University of Oxford spokesman said: “We intend to take every student who meets their offer grades as well as those where we consider there are mitigating circumstances for them missing their grade.
“As we do every year when grades are re-marked, some students may be offered a deferred place.
“Once we reach our maximum intake of undergraduates in 2020, we will have to defer entry to 2021 for any additional candidates who appeal successfully and whose place is then confirmed.”
He added: “Our primary concern must be the health and safety of our students, staff and community and it will not otherwise be possible for us to meet ongoing social-distancing restrictions and other challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.”