STUDENTS will have a better chance of getting into university under a more flexible admission system agreed yesterday. They will be allowed to change preferences for universities and courses after the release of their A-level exam results in July. At present, applicants to the Joint University Programmes Admissions System cannot change their minds after May of the year in which they seek entry. The last hurdle to the proposal was cleared yesterday when the senate of the Chinese University supported it. The joint system's management board is likely to work out details of the change this month and it should be in place next year. Some universities said the time allowed for students to change their minds should be short to minimise 'under-the-table deals'. Hong Kong University said institutions should be invited to declare formally they would not make private deals. In July this year, a Form Seven student withdrew from the scheme after she realised her exam results could secure her a better course than the ones she had applied for. The student eventually gained admission to the School of Business and Management of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which was criticised for breaching the admission system. Deputy registrar of the Chinese University Lee Shu-wing said: 'Had students been allowed to change their choice after the release of the exam results, the controversy would not have taken place.' He said the senate believed it was difficult for students to choose courses and universities based entirely on their interests. 'For example, if a student opting for a science course fails his mathematics exam but has good marks in other subjects, he will not have a chance to have tertiary education if he is not allowed to change his choice after the release of the results,' Mr Lee said. But the proposal has provoked concern about the quality of student in-take at the younger universities, as many applicants with better results are likely to opt for the older institutions like Hong Kong University and Chinese University. The chairman of City University's student union, Stephen Chu Siu-sun, said: 'From the students' point of view, it is good to have more flexibility. 'But there is a perception problem. Many of the students or their parents still consider the older universities better.'