Unconditional offer - advice please

(38 Posts)
Helpuschoose Tue 12-Apr-16 22:22:33

DD has offers which are all high and all very similar. Except for one uni which revised their offer to unconditional. This uni would not be her first choice. Now after some course work resulting in an unexpectedly low (disastrously low!) mark, her predicted grades are looking unlikely and therefore so are her chances of meeting her offers including the uni she was intending to put as her firm offer. The unconditional offer is therefore looking very tempting if only to avoid playing Russian roulette with the grade boundaries in August!
I have two questions.

1. Is there any point in her contacting her intended first choice uni and coming clean and seeing if they want her enough to revise down their offer? The poor coursework mark is not in the subject she wants to study. This uni has given unconditional offers to students but unfortunately not in DD's subject.

2. If she has a miracle performance in the exams can she go through adjustment if she has accepted the unconditional offer in May? I'm assuming not but we are new to all this!

Any advice gratefully received.

senua Tue 12-Apr-16 23:46:49

an unexpectedly low (disastrously low!) mark

Is this a definite? Any chance of a re-mark or a re-grade on moderation?

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 01:07:17

If you want some reassurance then read THIS Telegraph article Feb 2016. Predicted grades are getting more and more inaccurate year by year.

1 - There is probably no point contacting them but there are plenty of Unis accepting students who miss their grades - even top Unis. Have you checked UNISTATS for the average UCAS points that students from previous years had attained. Sometimes it shows that the average is less than the so called required grades.

2 if you accept an unconditional you can't enter adjustment. However, in practice you could get the unconditional university to release you on results day and then go through clearing to a better university. This would be risky and stressful though as the unconditional Uni might be slow to release you as contractually your DD is, in theory, meant to go there. Potentially, they might keep your DD in limbo for several days.

Alternatively, if your DD did better than expected she could ask to be released from her unconditional university, take a gap year and apply next year with achieved grades.

Coconutty Wed 13-Apr-16 07:27:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Helpuschoose Wed 13-Apr-16 09:06:10

Grade boundaries are very high on the coursework and her mark is average so she's lost a lot of UMS points. No chance at all of re-doing it. It just means what should have been a pretty safe A becomes a B unless she performs at a stellar level in the A2 exam which is a lot of pressure. And if not she has to notch up an A in a subject she's predicted ( a high ) B in. So it's all statistically possible but a bit high risk. It's a very oversubscribed subject so unis unlikely to take 'near misses' on results day. I suppose it's the old 'bird in the hand' calculation. Unconditional offer is from a perfectly good uni. It's just not where she saw herself going to! The risk is if she turns down the unconditional and then misses her offer on results day she might end up somewhere geographically that's not at all where she would be happy or on a course that's a compromise.

chemenger Wed 13-Apr-16 09:31:58

Be slightly careful with Unistats average grades. These may reflect contextual offers where adjustments are made for students coming from less traditional backgrounds (low performing schools, first in family to go to university, etc). Some subjects have a higher proportion of such applicants than others. Or they may just reflect that the university had to relax its requirements that year to fill the course, which may not happen every year.
I assume the unconditional is only if she firms? Otherwise she could just make it her insurance and go for the one she wants.

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 09:41:56

Maybe it's worth a call to the Uni then.

It's a nerve wracking situation. Can you imagine the relief is she were to take the unconditional .....but then the dissapointment if she ended up with high enough grades for her preferred course.
Are you definitely sure that the preferred course is over subscribed?
What do think she would prefer?

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 09:44:14

The UNISTATS average grades also include 4th Alevels etc so should be taken as a rough guide rather than a absolute. Also they are 'historical' information and Uni application process is changing so rapidly .......

Helpuschoose Wed 13-Apr-16 09:50:03

Thank you for all your advice. Yes unconditional is only if she firms. She will go and look round that uni again. If she decides she could imagine herself there quite happily then maybe that solves the issue. If she just can't see it then I guess she will go with firming her first choice and we will ride the results day roller-coster. She says that when she looked round first choice uni the admissions tutor said that they over-offered by 3 to 1. But I wasn't there so that could have got lost in translation!

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 18:20:42

Over offering by three to one doesn't sound like an over subscribed course considering that most students get offers from all five of their university choices.
Perhaps your DD could investigate further. She could call and ask for the numbers (applicants/acceptances/number of students firming/ number of students insuring etc)

Can you find out if the course was in clearing last year?

For what it's worth you can find out the % of applicants receiving an offer from WHICH UNIVERSITY - Example here I expect the information is on UNISTATS somewhere too blush Another source of information is 'freedom of information' requests. You can search for the Uni and browse the requests HERE at What Do You Know. It's usually only useful for very popular courses such as medicine or popular universities such as Oxford.

shockthemonkey Wed 13-Apr-16 18:34:44

Jokes, that's interesting that "most students get offers from all five of their choices".

It sounds crazy actually. If most of my students (French-educated kids) got all five offers I would have to ask if I was being sufficiently ambitious for them. We have a few who get all five, but when you're making choices for students that consist of two "reaches", two "matches" and one "catch", for instance, you would not necessarily expect to get five offers (though would be very happy to do so).

I should maybe clarify that French students often tell me they're only going to the UK if they get a really good university (because of the cost mostly).

shockthemonkey Wed 13-Apr-16 18:50:42

sorry, that should read, "when you're helping students to make choices that consist of..."! and I hope that post does not come across as rude as it re-reads. I am honestly curious about the actual statistics (how many students get all five offers, how many get four etc) and your thoughts about this!

Needmoresleep Wed 13-Apr-16 19:03:44

shock, I've heard courses referred to as either "recruiting" or "selecting". Only a few Universities in each subject will be selecting. Some of those are very oversubscribed. The suggestion to see if a course was in clearing last year was a good one. As is talking directly to the preferred University. In many instances Universities would prefer to take someone who really wanted to be on their course, even if they have dropped a grade, rather than to go out to clearing.

I also suspect you are working with a relatively small subset of French students, the sort for whom Ivies or Grande Ecoles are the alternatives. There will be other French students who see, say, a degree at Bournemouth University in something vocational such as digital marketing or finance, as a good option. Not a bad choice employment wise, but get the grades and you should expect a place.

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 19:49:58

The info about the number of students getting five offers is in the Ucas end of cycle report for 2015. - I'm on my phone so I can't open it but I think it's a third of all applicants but over half of AAA predicted students. Probably best to double check the actual figures though. It wouldn't be the first time I've got confused blush

I can't remember if it takes into account the many student that don't apply for five unis. Only one of my four kids applied for five.

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 19:58:16

I've copy and pasted the following fun facts from A recent INDEPENDANT ARTICLE. (February 2016, the info is direct from the Ucas end of year report... I think). If these stats don't show that something wrong with the current system I don't know what would

UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS IN NUMBERS
**63% of all candidates predicted to get at least an A and two B grades at A-levels
**One in five actually achieve those grades

**52% of candidates accepted on predicted grades miss them by one grade or two
**44% of students being admitted with three B grade passes or lower, compared with 20 per cent in 2011

I'm on my phone so I'm not sure how this post will look .

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Apr-16 20:01:54

"most students get offers from all five of their university choices"

Gosh, do they? I must know some real thickos then!

whatwouldrondo Wed 13-Apr-16 20:04:08

shock The issue here is that the government lifted the student quotas so that universities could recruit as many students as they want, it was initially with grades over AAB then ABB which on top of fee hikes and other factors changed the environment from one where there were more bright candidates than places at highly ranked universities to one where there were more places than bright applicants and universities just under the very top tier of UCL (who were particularly predatory) etc. were reporting that they had a shortfall in students. It is now very hard to pitch your aspirational/achievable/ insurance choices because as with the OP you don't know whether a course that quotes eg AAA actually has all AAA students turning up at the start of term as opposed to including some who missed their offers and some who they recruited via Clearing with much lower offers. We thought we had got it about right, and prior to the changes DD may well not have got all 5 offers but then not only did she get 5 offers but the two at her insurance choices were unconditional. As it happens any university that would have been more aspirational either didn't do the course options she wanted and in the case of Oxbridge she was sure she would not do well in that system. And on the course she is on, where the department tops the research tables and we know students who pre the changes had to resit to get in when they missed a grade by a couple of UMS, she has met students who dropped a grade and got a B and even one with a C.

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 20:18:17

Bertrand
"most students get offers from all five of their university choices"

Gosh, do they? I must know some real thickos then!

Nothing to do with being thick but more to do with confidence. One of my overly cautious DC refused to look at anywhere above their predicted grades so it was no surprise that they got offers from all of them (and all but one was unconditional.) A more confident student would have aimed higher. Fortunately, my DC ended up being eligible to use adjustment so got to a higher tariff Uni in the end.

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Apr-16 20:20:31

Seriously- do we know what % get 5 offers? Off to google I go.......

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 20:30:39

It's in the Ucas end of year report 2015- I'll have a look when I'm back on my iPad.

You have to remember that the majority of students don't go to higher tariff universities. It might not feel like that when you hang out on Mumsnet threads but it's true! grin

Helpuschoose Wed 13-Apr-16 20:37:23

A few posters on here have referred to putting unconditional offers as their insurance offer. This has left me even more confused! I assume by that what people mean is that they turn down the unconditional offer but put the Uni that made the unconditional offer as insurance on the basis they are more likely to take a student who has not achieved predicted grades? I thought that once a student accepted an unconditional offer then regardless of the actual grades in the final exams, the student had to attend the uni that had given the unconditional offer. Unless the student asked to be released and started all over again. Am I right? Is it correct to say you can not keep an unconditional offer as an insurance offer?

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 13-Apr-16 20:50:44

I'm not sure if I'm over simplifying this as I've just been through the process myself, but can she not accept the conditional offer as her firm choice (whichever one she's holding out hope for), accept the unconditional offer as her insurance choice and try her best to bring her overall grade up? If all the conditional offers are similar then getting a lower than expected grade will likely mean she didn't meet the requirements of any of them. And if the course is in high demand, the unis revising their offer is fairly unlikely.

JokesLOL Wed 13-Apr-16 20:52:30

Most unconditional offers every to being a conditional offer if they are put down as an insurance choice however there are some Unis such as Royal Holloway who allow SOME of their unconditional offers to remain as unconditional even if they are put down as an insurance choice.

The information should be on your DDs offer letter on UCAS

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 13-Apr-16 20:55:30

X posted smile

Your insurance acceptance can be any of your offers. She'd only end up going to the insurance choice if she doesn't meet the conditions of her firmed choice. However, accepting an unconditional offer as her insurance means she'd be expected to start at that uni if she doesn't meet the conditions of her firmed choice. If, however, she put one of the other conditional offers as her insurance and didn't make the grades for that either, I think she'd be going through clearing.

LIZS Wed 13-Apr-16 20:59:25

That's interesting Jokes. Ds has an unconditional from RHC if he firms it, but that is communicated only on an email not via UCAS yet. If he gambled on it as his insurance might it still become unconditional then? confused

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