Offers, firm and insurance

(89 Posts)
Isthiscorrect Fri 28-Feb-14 08:01:33

Ok I'm a little bit confused and need help to understand this.
Ds has 5 offers, very fortunate I know. Realistically he applied to one prestigious (not Oxbridge) uni not expecting to get accepted. However he did get accepted. The problem is because it's so respected everyone (not me and dh) expects him to automatically put that as his first choice. The issue, as we understand it from the uni website, student room etc, is it seems this uni doesn't offer the uni experience in the way most other unis do. Since before he even completed his UCAS he always wanted to go to uni B. But now he is swayed, partly by the opportunities uni A will offer and partly by the name on his CV.

The real problem though is uni B who gave him a lower offer than all the others, who all gave the same offer. So he has to put uni B as his insurance, which means, I think, the other uni will be his firm. However he is expected to achieve higher than even his firm. So if he does his best he doesn't get to go to the uni he wants?

I'm not sure I've explained this clearly but I really am struggling to articulate and feel I may have overlooked something obvious?

webwiz Fri 28-Feb-14 08:24:27

He doesn't have to put uni B as his insurance he can put it as his first. It just means he doesn't have a lower insurance choice. The insurance is just meant to be a back up choice there is no reason why he can't firm his lowest offer if that is where he wants to go.

senua Fri 28-Feb-14 09:29:06

Has he been to the Universities on visits, got his own vibe? Websites, TSR and other people's views only count for so much.

He can put anything as firm or insurance; they don't have to rank in order of asking-grades. It could be a dangerous game if he flops his grades, but if he gets ABB or better then it shouldn't be a problem (because of some Govt rules).

mysteryfairy Fri 28-Feb-14 09:35:46

My DS will have to insurance with a higher offer than his firm. He is doing maths which has very high entrance criteria across the board and his firm will not include STEP but looks like his insurance will. I have said to him to try and find out if any of the possible insurance unis are known to be a bit flexible about accepting people who just miss their grades and if so go for that one. I think it's the best you do in the circumstances.

titchy Fri 28-Feb-14 09:38:21

what webwiz said. No point firming the one he doesn't want if the offer is higher! There is no reason he can't just have one firm and no insurance - he can reject whoever he wants.

But senua makes a valid point about actually seeing for himself what the two have to offer.

Educatingme Fri 28-Feb-14 09:41:52

Its really hard to young people to make an informed choice about their Uni choices. Much of what they think they know, they revise and/or regret. You say he wanted Uni B since before UCAS- that means, pretty early on in his selection process.

I do think that he should ask himself very seriously if he is so sure he wants Uni B and what his evidence is. There's usually a reason why a Uni is better respected and harder to get into. A lot of what appears on a prospectus is not like that when you get there- in fact, some Unis are being told to revise their literature as it is misleading.

Do you feel comfortable sharing the subject and Uni choices with us?

mindgone Fri 28-Feb-14 11:20:06

Did uni B give him their standard offer, or a lower one because they were so impressed with his application?

Isthiscorrect Fri 28-Feb-14 11:33:01

Mindgone - lower because they were impressed. It would have been AAB but is now ABB. The others are all AAB he is predicted 3 A's because he asked the school not to predict 3 x A* as none of his choices required that level. He got 4 x A at AS, with UMS over 95 in all units. He didn't apply to Cambridge as his GCSES are not good enough.

I understand now he doesn't need two choices, he can just pick uni B. He has been to all the unis but none of the offer holders days. I'm trying to persuade him to go at Easter to revisit how he feels. He is now in such a muddle. Uni B, he loved the place, the lecturers we met, he had a feel for it, loved the modules BUT, it really doesn't have the prestige of the other although it is a Russell group uni. To be honest I never thought it would come to this. It is almost like you / they think from step to step, get the PS completed, send off the UCAS application, wait nervously for an offer and now it's make a decision time. Never saw it coming.

He should not allow vague notions of one place being 'prestigious' to sway him - if Uni B is in the Russell Group, it is certainly going to be seen as a 'good' university by potential employers. He liked it, he liked the course, he liked the lecturers. He will be there for 3 years - liking it is way more important than some theoretical judgement of 'prestige' or 'opportunities'.

If he was choosing between Oxbridge, and a uni that was formed very recently out of a polytechnic, then the idea of 'prestige' might carry a litle more weight, but even that would depend on the course - many newer unis offer far more interesting courses and have a lot of respect in their own areas.

I'd say that 'prestige' is an 'outside influence' on him, not based on reality, and he should not let it sway him from what he foudn when he actually visited.

mumeeee Fri 28-Feb-14 13:10:19

Prestigious doesn't mean it's the right one for your DS, Uni B sounds a good one and if he prefers that let him put that as he's firm offer. It's not always about choosing the best uni as others see it but the student choosing one that fits them best. x

FreshorangeforDd Fri 28-Feb-14 13:39:47

My Ds is actually in a very similar situation to yours. The longed for final offer eventually arrived, but I think he will choose his version of University B and have no insurance either. He was trying to go to both post offer days, but Uni B is already full, so I'm not sure what he will do now. It is a nice problem to have, but difficult for them none the less.

soorplooms Fri 28-Feb-14 13:46:58

Isthiscorrect, you have mentioned the institutions concerned in your earlier posts on the UCAS thread. There is no doubt that the prestigious (and very specialist) uni has a global reputation not shared by Uni B although the latter seems on the up and very much mentioned by mumsnetters this year. However it is really important that your DS goes to where he will be happy to study for three years so the best of luck with the decision.

mindgone Fri 28-Feb-14 14:24:06

We had something like this last year. DS had an AAB offer from Durham and a (lower than standard) ABB offer from Manchester. He firmed Manchester because he just loved it. In the end, he did a lot better and changed his mind about the course altogether! He is now having a gap year, and Manchester is his least favourite for this year's subject!

Educatingme Fri 28-Feb-14 14:26:43

Just a little caveat about having no insurance offer. At ABB level I seem to remember the latest figures from UCAS said that 40% of all predictions were wrong. I think the figure for AAB predictions was something eyewatering like 60% wrong. State schools overpredict more than feepaying schools.

Trying to find this on the website, as I heard it from Mary Curnock Cook in a presentation she did earlier this month. But we were all shock in the room, I didnt dream it.

So it's worth having an insurance offer if the grades are the right way round. Obviously you can't do that if the insurance offer is higher than the main offer, as with the OP, but fresh may be in a different position.

Educatingme Fri 28-Feb-14 14:38:48

Ah yes, now I see the two Unis concerned.

he would do well to think about the CV factor, it's not trivial. Three years go fast. DS1's peer group have graduated now and people are having trouble finding interesting jobs. Uni B has an OK reputation with employers, but Uni A has a very strong reputation.

Have a look around on unistats for the employment data.

creamteas Fri 28-Feb-14 17:23:47

He needs to go to and see the universities again and think about his choices.

For what it is worth, top employers all have different ideas of what are good universities. There is no definitive list. They are usually much more interested in the degree results and other skills gained.

Students get more from their time at university if they are at the right one for them.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 28-Feb-14 18:26:06

My DD had a similar dilemma in applying, whether to apply to a very specialist institution that would not offer the same student experience as larger institutions. Since I am part of a very specialist institution that offers, shall we say, a unique student experience, which I find amazing and inspiring but think is only for undergrads who want to immerse themselves in that uniqueness, my advice to most undergraduates would be that the specialist institutions will still be there for postgrad, and so they can still get that name and experience on the CV whilst having the benefit of a more conventional undergraduate experience with all the other social, sporting, cultural etc etc etc opportunities that will give them the opportunities to develop as individuals (if that is what they are looking for)

She also has the issue that her current top choice (but wobbling post offer day) has given the lowest offer but if she wants to go there I don't see that as a problem at all. She just won't have a lower insurance (but to complicate matters she does have an unconditional and a lowered offer if firmed as first choice so we need to explore whether those might equates to greater flexibility on accepting lower grades if she misses both their higher offer if they are made the insurance, and the lower offer if she firms it as first choice confused

Going around has definitely made her realise that the modules offered are important, she has definite interests of her own perhaps a little outside of the traditional focuses of study but definitely areas that will make her marketable to employers, and the extent to which different universities have responded to those trends is going to influence her choices. At the open day one of the lecturers had just been sent to study her area of interest in order to expand the departments focus but she realised she knew more than him, hence the wobble!

senua Fri 28-Feb-14 18:48:50

Definitely go for B!

I understand what you mean now with "doesn't offer the uni experience in the way most other unis do" and I totally agree. Yes, you go for the degree and are passionate about learning yadda yadda yadda but you also want to enjoy yourself. London is too expensive and accommodation is a problem. Students get swallowed up in the morass that is London, you want something more campus-y like B for the proper University experience. You also want the chance to meet lots of other, different students which a specialist place can't offer.

Offering lower grades is a current B tactic to snare the likes of your DS (i.e. the superclever ones) away from 'prestigious' places. A friend's DC is in a similar position to your DS (been offered by prestigious but prefers the feel of the other one), and has gone with their version of B.

Isn't saying that 'a prestigious Uni opens doors' the same as saying 'grammar schools get good results'. It's not so much the institution that does it, it's down to the student too. Tell him to have faith in himself.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 28-Feb-14 19:14:57

I do disagree with senua on London universities though. My DD is at a London university, has had no problems at all with finding reasonably priced, for London, accommodation 15 mins from uni with lots of fellow students in the area, or with "being swallowed up". It is more expensive but not that much more expensive, £550 per month v £400 at out of London unis DD2 is looking at and there is plenty of casual work, DDs flatmates from lower income families have coped just fine. In fact she now feels she would have found other towns too limited (but then they all seem to enjoy wherever they end up). I wouldn't let the fact of it being London put you off.

2rebecca Fri 28-Feb-14 21:43:11

I accepted my lowest offer because that was my favourite. My son has firmed a uni that gave him an unconditional for the same reason.

Isthiscorrect Sat 01-Mar-14 05:21:47

Thanks everyone. Ds is still wobbling, but he will be going to the offer holders day for both unis, although not until the Easter holidays.
Yesterday he printed all the modules for each course and is having a good look through those and at other things like how much of the grade the end of year exams are worth. Then I feel he should put it to one side until after the visits. The choice is so important I recognise that but it does seem all encompassing to the detriment of study at the moment.

HidingFromDD Sat 01-Mar-14 05:46:04

I think you need to check the dates there. I believe the acceptance has to e in by the end of March

Isthiscorrect Sat 01-Mar-14 06:36:10

Thanks hiding! I didn't know that. Ds led me to believe his careers teacher told them Easter holidays. I shall get onto it now. Ds is deep in an essay on Plato's Republic, wouldn't want to give hi. An excuse to break off ;-)

Kazzyv Sat 01-Mar-14 08:42:20

I thought you had to accept by end of April - have 7th May in my head ?

senua Sat 01-Mar-14 11:35:39

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