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 and replying to your offers this can be a bit tricky and is something you should take time to get right. The following are some handy hints for how and when to reply to your offers.
- Don’t rush your decision! Take some time to remind yourself of your university choices. Look again at the course in detail and if necessary attend another open day or applicant day to confirm your decisions. This is important as it could be where you are studying and living for at least the next 3 years of your life! Ensure you have visited the universities you are going to choose as your first and insurance choice and that you would be happy to go to either of them.
- You only need to reply to your offers once you have received decisions from all of your chosen universities. Any offers that have been made to you whilst you are still waiting for other universities to reply are yours and you will not lose these offers.
- Once you have received a decision (successful or not) from all of your chosen universities, you will then have to choose which offer(s) you want to accept by a certain date. The date you have to reply by will be shown on the Welcome page of UCAS Track – how much time you have depends on the time of year, varying from 1 to 5 weeks. The later in the year you receive your decisions the less time you will have to reply as you can see in the table below. Make sure you reply to your offers by your deadline date in Track – if you don’t, your UCAS offers will be ‘declined by default’ and you will lose your offers.
- There are two main types of reply you can make: firm acceptance (this is your first choice) and insurance acceptance (this is a back-up choice to a conditional firm acceptance). You can only choose an insurance choice if your first choice is a conditional offer. If you accept an unconditional offer as your firm choice you are not able to have an insurance choice. This is because an unconditional offer is a definite place at that university without any conditions attached. Typically an insurance choice is a university who has made a lower offer than your first choice university. You do not have to have an insurance choice however the majority of applicants who have more than 1 offer choose an Insurance choice as a safety net. You must then decline all other offers.
- Once you have accepted an offer, both firm and insurance, you and the university have entered a contract situation bound by the rules of UCAS. Therefore, ensure you would be happy to go to either your firm or insurance university as if you do not meet the conditions of your first choice you may still be accepted by your insurance choice.
This is an exciting next step in your education: focus on the success of receiving offers, give yourself time to consider them and be confident in your choices. Go for it!
by Katie Whale, Leicester College Careers Team
If you’re still getting your UCAS application done, you better hurry the deadline is Monday 15 January 2018.