Are unconditional offers from Uni ever a good thing?

(88 Posts)
LegoAndLolDolls Mon 11-Jan-21 11:41:00

Not that this applies to us yet as my eldest is in the first year of A levels and pretty adamant he doesnt want to go to uni. I'm not going to push him either way as the desision was easy after my A levels, back in the day before fees.

I remember my friend being really chuffed when her dd was offered a unconditional place, as it was kind of sold that she was so talented that they desperately wanted her. Two years later she didnt have any more points than one year of a degree and had got into such a mess ( unis lack of direction and input with her modules and letting her start modules only to be told they clashed and stopping them etc). She left near the end of year two with one years worth of points and two years of debt. If she want to carry on to get a degree she has to totally restart at another uni.

So, are unconditional offers always just a ploy to get bums on seats?

OP’s posts: |
GCAcademic Mon 11-Jan-21 11:43:01

So, are unconditional offers always just a ploy to get bums on seats?

Pretty much, yes.

Pipandmum Mon 11-Jan-21 11:45:10

Unconditional offers are not given to the brightest students - you aren't going to get one from top unis - so it's nothing to boast about. One student i know who got ine stopped studying, just about scraped through his A levels, and like your example dropped out after a year and a half (was actually told to leave as he was failing).

SnuggyBuggy Mon 11-Jan-21 11:50:08

I thought you only got an unconditional offer if you already had your A levels, for example a mature student or someone that's done a gap year without a deferred place. Seems daft to give them to someone still at sixth form college.

SueEllenMishke Mon 11-Jan-21 11:52:02

Blanket unconditional offers are unethical and in some cases could be perceived as bribery.

LegoAndLolDolls Mon 11-Jan-21 11:53:17

Is this a new thing too? Not sure it happened twenty years ago and I graduated from a ex polytechnic uni. I get I'm to Brunnel but realised just before I started the degree was too maths heavy to realistically for me to pass. Even the uni I swooped to wanted certain grades, and it wasnt a top uni.

But I when I hear of kids getting unconditional offers, it's always with a positive spin. My friends dd uni sounds unbelievably shit and univested in its students

OP’s posts: |
LegoAndLolDolls Mon 11-Jan-21 11:55:26

I think they are pretty common @SnuggyBuggy for sixth formers.

At least in my circles

OP’s posts: |

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SueEllenMishke Mon 11-Jan-21 11:56:01

SnuggyBuggy

I thought you only got an unconditional offer if you already had your A levels, for example a mature student or someone that's done a gap year without a deferred place. Seems daft to give them to someone still at sixth form college.


Not anymore.
Some universities have taken to making blanket unconditional offers but they often have conditions attached - such as a tight deadline which puts pressure on young people make a decision quickly.

Accepting an unconditional offer means you not eligible for clearing or adjustment so if the applicant ends up doing better than expected it is a more complicated process to change course or university.

SnuggyBuggy Mon 11-Jan-21 12:09:38

Sounds dodgy to me. Makes me wonder if they just want the fees and don't care if the student drops out

Wbeezer Mon 11-Jan-21 12:13:27

Apart from in Scotland where they are standard but our exam system is designed differently.

Tier10 Mon 11-Jan-21 12:20:37

I disagree that top uni don’t give unconditional offers, my friend’s son got one for Sussex. I know it’s not an absolutely top uni but it’s in the top 15.

My own DS got one from Portsmouth but he turned it down as the course requirements were well below his predicted grades.

IHaveBrilloHair Mon 11-Jan-21 12:20:45

Dd's bf got one from Glasgow but he had his highers by then, and stayed at school an extra year to do advanced highers so totally different really.
He's currently in his third year of a masters and doing brilliantly.

choirmumoftwo Mon 11-Jan-21 12:22:24

DD received an unconditional but it was her first choice university and course so she wasn't compromising in any way by accepting it. She subsequently met the grade requirement anyway and earned a scholarship. Win win for her.

MrsMiaWallis Mon 11-Jan-21 12:22:51

Birmingham gave them out a few years ago.

Tbh the teens I know who got one did really well.

They don't tend to give them so much now (russell group anyway)

GCAcademic Mon 11-Jan-21 12:30:50

Conditional unconditional offers have been banned until next September to stabilise the university sector. However, the government has said that this will only be temporary. In my view, that is wrong; as PP has said, they are unethical and not far off bribery.

I disagree that top uni don’t give unconditional offers, my friend’s son got one for Sussex. I know it’s not an absolutely top uni but it’s in the top 15.

The top ten universities don't do it, would be a more accurate way of putting it. Birmingham is another university just outside the top 10 which relies heavily on unconditional offers to boost their recruitment. Universities who have previously relied on making unconditional offers for their recruitment strategy are now lowering their entry requirements and calling this "inclusivity". As the OP suggests, this will have the effect of many students struggling with the course requirements, so it is anything but.

Covidcovid Mon 11-Jan-21 12:32:55

dd got 4 unconditionals from middling unis. Then spent a lot of Year 13 in hospital so bombed her a-levels. I was so grateful for those unconditional offers!

PlanDeRaccordement Mon 11-Jan-21 12:33:06

I disagree that top uni don’t give unconditional offers, my friend’s son got one for Sussex. I know it’s not an absolutely top uni but it’s in the top 15.

Sussex is 160th globally, and 21st in U.K.
It’s ranking is even worse for all courses except social sciences. So,
I would not consider that a “top” uni, but a “good” uni for social sciences and mediocre to not good for other courses.

Scarby9 Mon 11-Jan-21 12:34:53

In my day (early 80s) it was real kudos to get an unconditional offer and they rwally were a sign that you were the brightest and the best and the university really wanted you. Certainly that was the case among my classmates (not me).

It enabled them to ease off on the academic work a bit and take on more extracurricular, relevant work experiences etc.

kwiksavenofrillsusername Mon 11-Jan-21 12:43:16

When I did my UCAS application I put down an extremely shit uni as a backup as I had little confidence. They sent me an unconditional offer almost instantly. I think there was some sort of deal that if you secured your place you got a free laptop too. I don’t think they do those deals anymore. So yeah, bums on seats basically.

Put it this way, the uni was so shit they now advertise on TV.

GCAcademic Mon 11-Jan-21 12:46:54

They sent me an unconditional offer almost instantly. I think there was some sort of deal that if you secured your place you got a free laptop too. I don’t think they do those deals anymore. So yeah, bums on seats basically.

Universities have temporarily been banned from making these deals, but it's all set to resume again after September 2021 (the Universities minister made it clear she has no intention of stopping the practice long term).

heydoggee Mon 11-Jan-21 13:00:20

Pipandmum

Unconditional offers are not given to the brightest students - you aren't going to get one from top unis - so it's nothing to boast about. One student i know who got ine stopped studying, just about scraped through his A levels, and like your example dropped out after a year and a half (was actually told to leave as he was failing).


Nonsense. DH had an unconditional offer from Oxford, as did many of his friends.

GCAcademic Mon 11-Jan-21 13:04:30

Oxford is a different situation. They have always given out unconditional offers and are able to do so as they have an entrance examination for most courses that is more reliable for their purposes than A levels are. They're not doing it to get bums on seats.

Beamur Mon 11-Jan-21 13:05:32

I had an unconditional offer from a Welsh uni to do what was quite a niche subject back in the 1990's. I didn't take it, but have wondered how differently things might be if I had! It's become an incredibly popular subject now with high entrance requirements.

unbotheredbutbewildered Mon 11-Jan-21 13:06:31

From when I went to uni (less than ten years ago) none of the top universities did this (Oxbridge, Russel Group). The universities that did often didn't get the brightest students and were traditionally low in rankings.

If they're doing it, it usually means they're struggling to get bums on seats. Then again, if this is a top pick and the student is unlikely to secure a place at a better university and has to have a degree for the career they want then why not?

On a separate note - if your DS doesn't want to go to uni, it's good that you've said you won't force him. smile Only a few jobs actually require degrees these days tbh - law, medicine, banking etc. Some big law firms don't even want a degree - they'll take you as an apprentice and train you up that way.

A degree isn't the be all and end all. smile

titchy Mon 11-Jan-21 13:06:44

* Nonsense. DH had an unconditional offer from Oxford, as did many of his friends.*

I suspect OP is talking about the current climate of unconditionals (temporarily banned as GC says) - not debating the old 'practice of 'unconditionals because offers depended on entry exams' of years ago - HE has changed considerably since then.

Or was that a stealth 'my dh went to Oxford' boast wink

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