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UCAS: The Rise of Unconditional Offers, What Should You Do?

After all the hard work of carefully researching your university choices, writing your personal statement and completing your UCAS application, you hopefully will have started to receive offers from your chosen universities. Congratulations!

However, when it comes to deciding on which offers to accept this can be tricky and is something you should take time to get right. This has become even more of a dilemma with the continued rise of unconditional offers, in particular, “conditional unconditional” offers. This is when a university will offer you a conditional offer however if you then make that university your firm (first) choice they will make the conditional offer, unconditional. This may seem very tempting but stop and think before you accept. The following are some top tips on navigating these types of unconditional offers:

  • If this university was your original first choice university then great! Otherwise, stop and think. If they hadn’t offered you a “conditional unconditional” would you be considering them as an option at all? Be honest with yourself and take the time to reflect on your original university research and why certain universities appealed to you more than others. Remember to consider important factors that matter to you such as the specific modules taught on the course, how you will be taught and assessed, student life, campus or city base, accommodation options. If you need to visit the university again or have more questions to help you make your decision then arrange for this to take place.
  • Ask yourself the question, do they really want you? Due to the recent changes in how universities recruit students, unconditional or “conditional unconditional” offers could be viewed as a recruitment tactic to ensure they don’t have empty spaces on their courses. Take this into consideration when deciding on the university that is right for you. Is this offer in your best interest?
  • Very recently some universities (The University of Nottingham for example) have decided to stop making unconditional offers to students’ altogether. This is partly due to the fact that universities were finding that once an unconditional offer had been made and accepted, students didn’t make their expected grades when they started university. They were therefore not as prepared for the challenges of higher level study and didn’t make as smooth a transition to university as those who had conditional offers. In fact, in 2018 UCAS reported that 67% of those that held an unconditional offer as their first choice missed their predicted grades by 2 or more grades
  • If you decide to accept an unconditional offer as your firm choice then logically it follows that this will help take the pressure off your final year of study. It is so important to continue to work hard, strive to achieve the best results possible and what has been predicted for you. Use the offer as an incentive to prove you are deserving of the offer!

Your grades at level 3 will be taken into consideration when applying for graduate schemes/jobs, postgraduate study and also whilst at university if applying for a competitive placement year. Employers will place huge importance on these grades.

Remember, this is an exciting next step and overall you should be immensely proud of receiving offers from your chosen universities. Focus on this success, give yourself time to consider your offers and be confident that your choices are the right ones for you and you are making them for the right reasons. If you are struggling with making your offer decisions you can come and see an impartial careers adviser at the college who will help guide you. Good Luck!

By Katie Whale

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