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What does it mean to have an unconditional offer from Oxbridge?

(35 Posts)
Fiona2011231 Fri 28-Nov-14 23:17:25

May I ask this question?

When I read an annual report by a wealthy independent school, I noticed the part about their Oxbridge result. There is one student who got an Unconditional offer there.

What does it mean? Does it mean this candidate is so excellent that he will be accepted in any case?

And how do the universities know he/she is excellent before the exams?

My sincere thanks,

lougle Fri 28-Nov-14 23:21:57

It means they want the candidate so much that they are willing to accept them based on the academic achievements at the point of interview and the interview performance.

Most of these students aren't the sort who will slack off as a result if an unconditional offer, though.

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Fri 28-Nov-14 23:24:26

Perhaps that student has already taken some A levels and has already met the required grades for that course.

DH got an offer based on his getting 2 Bs as he already had an A and had surpassed what was expected. This was pretty much regarded as unconditional (though his school would not have put that in print)... I think he got 3 more As. A long time ago and probably completely different system now.

TweeAintMee Fri 28-Nov-14 23:26:29

An unconditional offer means that there are independent of the outcome of A Levels i.e. the candidate is not required to make any specific grades in order to have a place.

TweeAintMee Fri 28-Nov-14 23:27:46

Sorry - just seen second bit of question. This is based on the interview and any previous academic record including any specific exams sat at interview etc.

AlpacaLypse Fri 28-Nov-14 23:31:39

Unconditional offer is just that (and rather rare) I only know two people who got them for Oxbridge, both for Classics.

Both were studying A level Latin and Greek.

However, this was thirty years ago at a point when the Classics dons were in a tailspin of fear about completely losing their departments if they didn't get some State educated students in pronto, and our school was one of the few that actually offered A level Classical Greek.

Oyster2 Fri 28-Nov-14 23:32:58

I'm pretty sure this means that the candidate applied post A levels so would already have the results required. Some universities are making unconditional offers pre A level but Oxbridge are not doing this at the moment as far as I know and, given the level of competition, are very unlikely to in the future.

Fiona2011231 Fri 28-Nov-14 23:34:45

Thank you for your clear replies.

To Oyster2: Can you elaborate? How can a candidate apply post A-levels? Is it too late?

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Fri 28-Nov-14 23:38:24

Could it be that the student has deferred a year? Or has taken their A levels early and then taking a gap year?

YonicScrewdriver Fri 28-Nov-14 23:41:15

It may mean that the grades required were essentially just a passing grade.

SingingBear Fri 28-Nov-14 23:42:18

I had two friends from school who had unconditional offers - pre-, not post- A level results. Well, "unconditional" was that they must get 2 Es at A level. In both cases they were both so musical and gifted in their particular instruments that Oxbridge wanted them regardless of what A level grades they got, because they wanted the musical talent. I would imagine this happens for sport as well as music. (And both friends did happen to get top grades too)

TweeAintMee Sat 29-Nov-14 00:00:08

Fiona - there is no requirement to apply before A levels. If a candidate does then their offers will usually be conditional on the outcome. If they apply post A level with known results then their offers do not need to be conditional.

titchy Sat 29-Nov-14 00:30:02

Fiona- of course you don't have to apply before A levels - there'd be no mature students if that were the case, and if you missed your slot you missed it forever! You apply whenever you want. In the example of the OP this will be an offer made to a candidate who already had A levels (or IB or whatever). Neither Oxford not cambridge make unconditional offer before results, though a few do occasionally at the moment.

catkind Sat 29-Nov-14 00:45:49

I think some colleges and some subjects do it more than others. My college used to regularly offer them for maths. And yes, based on your application and interview.

catkind Sat 29-Nov-14 00:50:30

It would be very cheeky for a school to boast of an "unconditional" offer made post A-level results. I'd assume it's the real thing, it's not that uncommon.

ilovevenice Sat 29-Nov-14 02:24:53

When I left school (1989) Oxford made unconditional offers (EE which was the minimum needed for any university at that time) to pretty much all successful candidates. I'm not sure about Cambridge. A girl from my school actually failed to make the EE offer, getting an A in English and two Ns in Physics and Chemistry. They wanted her so much that she did History and Law in a year and they kept her place open... It's completely different now though.

HocusUcas Sat 29-Nov-14 04:31:12

As pps (e.g. Twee) have said , today , this probably means the candidate applied post A level with their results already recorded. So they have left school and are going though UCAS or whatever with A Level / IB / Pre U grades already given . Some people apply the year directly after their A level year having their results "in the bag" . In this case the University would see their results and if they accepted them , they would give them an unconditional offer because the candidate has already achieved those grades. Not sure if I have helped here.

HocusUcas Sat 29-Nov-14 04:36:14

But I think I have simply said less concisely what Oyster2 said (with which I agree smile )

PeaStalks Sat 29-Nov-14 10:17:15

I think Cambridge sometimes do this for candidates who come in the top few in the Maths Olympiad.

TheWordFactory Sat 29-Nov-14 10:34:46

Sometimes Oxbridge just really really want them!

Great GCSEs, AS, aptitude tests and impressive interview. Perhaps there is also the suspicion that the particular candidate might go elsewhere (Ivy).

More common at other universities these days.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sat 29-Nov-14 10:43:33

In the old days cambridge gave EE offers to people who had passed the entrance exam. I had an EE offer in 1985. I never met anyone there who didn't have 3 As minimum. You had to have EE at A level to matriculate, which was the basic entrance requirement for the university - 3 O levels at C or above and 2 A levels at E or above. It was also the requirement for state funding. EE offers were also the norm for conservatoires, art college and possibly drama school (if state funded). These days I don't think you even have to have 2Es, because no state funding, so unconditional offers are truly unconditional. Conservatoires still offer EE, I know. I don't think many other places offer that because they can offer true unconditional places now (some do, but not many).

TheWordFactory Sat 29-Nov-14 10:50:07

Yes, I remember my EE offer. Me and my Mum didn't know what it meant. We thought it was some special academic abbreviation grin.

In the end we called the university ( from the phone box at the recgrin ).

Bartlebee Sat 29-Nov-14 10:51:26

I had an unconditional (EE) offer from Exeter.

PiratePanda Sat 29-Nov-14 18:37:36

When I did admissions at Cambridge I only once made an unconditional (two E) offer to an extraordinarily outstanding candidate for a rather obscure subject. He still got 4 A's (this was pre-A*).

PiratePanda Sat 29-Nov-14 18:38:48

FYI this was in the mid 2000s so it still happens. Not back in the dark ages grin

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