Here’s an article that sheds light (though not much of it) on the opaque process of getting university admissions in UK;
Clearly different countries have different issues and they’re only going to get worse as the role of higher secondary formal examinations as the filter for access to top-quality higher education has almost broken down. Whether it’s the vast numbers in UK achieving A grades or the numbers of students in India scoring above 90% – a major rethink is needed.
How far might we be from a comprehensive all-around continuous competency based assessment regime that actually takes a balanced view of what a student can do and how they apply themselves?
On the issue of statements of purpose, anecdotally I’ve been told that they do still count for a lot in a large proportion of institutions. I’ve also been told that those who read them can tell the generic ones, bought and paid for and will always favour those which are clearly personally prepared by the student.