Universities forced to tell students which sixth form subjects will give them best chance of degree place

Universities Minister David Willetts is keen to introduce 'student charters'

Reform: Universities Minister David Willetts is keen to introduce 'student charters'

Universities are to be forced to tell prospective students which subjects they should take to give them the best chance of a degree place under government reforms, it was reported today.

The forthcoming Higher Education White Paper, expected as early as next week, will address concerns that many school-leavers are ill-informed about the options they should take to secure places at the best universities.

According to The Daily Telegraph, proposals will include requiring admissions tutors to tell pupils which sixth-form courses will give them the best chances of a place on particular degrees.

It could lead to fewer students studying what are perceived to be 'softer' subjects like media studies, art and design, dance and photography.

There are concerns that youngsters at state comprehensives are directed towards what are perceived to be easier subjects that then effectively prevent them getting places at top universities, whereas grammar and private schools tend to encourage students to pursue more academic subjects like maths, science, English and history.

The reforms are also expected to deal with issues arising from the highly controversial increase in tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year, and Universities Minister David Willetts is keen to introduce 'student charters' setting out what undergraduates can expect to receive in terms of tuition, lectures and facilities.

Admissions rules are also likely to be changed, with the possibility of the best universities being allowed to recruit as many of the brightest students as they want and former polytechnics charging lower fees also seeing a relaxation of controls on their numbers.

Proposals will include requiring admissions tutors to tell pupils which courses will give them the best chances of a place

Proposals will include requiring admissions tutors to tell pupils which courses will give them the best chances of a place

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: 'Ensuring students have the right information to make informed decisions when selecting their course and preferred university are key themes that will be discussed in the Governments Higher Education White paper, due to be published shortly.

'The Government's reforms will place students at the heart of the system, looking at the information and guidance available to prospective students on what universities and courses will offer them.'