Applications for places at Sheffield University rose sharply this year by 16 per cent – well above the national average.
Seven young people battled for each place available, with 35,200 applications being submitted – the largest figure since 2010.
This year’s year group will be much bigger than in 2012 – 5,300 freshers will arrive this month, compared with 4,600 last year.
At Sheffield Hallam 36,500 applications were received for over 9,000 available undergraduate places.
The University of Sheffield was able to expand its year group this year after rules were changed to allow extra recruitment of students with top quality A-level passes.
It meant that undergraduates were taken on during the clearing process, which is not usually the case.
Targets for undergraduate admissions of both home students and international students for the new academic year were exceeded.
The university’s head of recruitment and admissions Gavin Douglas said: “It has been an extremely positive recruitment year for the university.
“The Government reform means we are no longer capped in the number of students we can accept, and here at the university we’re embracing our new future.
“We’ve had the flexibility to increase capacity in some of our most popular departments and recruit more very high quality students, including in clearing.”
Tracey Lancaster, Hallam’s director of corporate affairs, said: “We received more than 36,500 applications and we remain one of the most popular universities in the UK by this measure. We offer students a university experience that combines academic rigour with professional practice.”