Unconditional offers

(59 Posts)
stonecircle Thu 08-Jan-15 20:04:19

DS was lucky enough to get 5 offers and had pretty much decided on his firm (Exeter - AAA) and Royal Holloway (ABB). Sussex has now changed their AAB offer to unconditional - if he firms them. Which, whilst very flattering, has put the cat amongst the pigeons.

DS is predicted A*AA and we've just come back from parents' eve where, of course, the importance of working really hard from now until May was really emphasised. He's currently working at ABB and all 3 teachers said he has to up his game to reach his predictions - but they all said he was more than capable of doing this.

However, DS is a natural worrier and I'm wondering whether accepting the unconditional would be a wonderful way of taking the pressure off or whether I should encourage him to stick to his guns and go with his original choices. He's looking to me for advice and if I get it wrong it will be my fault!

He's not the sort of boy to take his foot off the pedal completely even with an unconditional. But he is the sort of boy who may not completely pull out all the stops to get his predicted grades. I'm already stressing the importance of maximising his A level grades in case he decides uni isn't for him or he needs good grades at a later stage.

He's booked himself on a Sussex offer day so he can rethink. I've told him to put it out of his mind until then and bask in the luxury of thinking he's got a guaranteed place if he wants to be cautious.

Any advice?

OP’s posts: |
Kez100 Thu 08-Jan-15 20:15:49

Let him decide.

In my opinion he should be working hard now for the course he wants to spend £36000 on in the city/town he wants to live for three years! And the top two of those should be his firm and insurance.

FannyFanakapan Thu 08-Jan-15 22:18:38

I think he should choose the course and uni that he mosts likes as his firm...and then have the unconditional as his insurance place.

DD has also received unconditional offers x3 (brain box), including sussex, and is similarly torn. However one of the unis have been canny and offered a bachelors unconditional, but dangled a masters if she gets the grades...so she wont slack now because she would rather be on the masters programme.

VegasIsBest Thu 08-Jan-15 22:29:48

Normally you'd have to accept the unconditional offer as your firm choice. So putting it as insurance isn't an option.

stonecircle Thu 08-Jan-15 23:18:27

Indeed - as I said above, it's only unconditional if he makes them his firm choice.

Kez - point taken, but I can't help feeling he doesn't know enough about any of the places to make a really informed choice. He was good about examining courses and weeded out some places, even though he liked the look of them, because the course wasn't quite what he wanted. But he has only visited his 5 choices once each, and Exeter wasn't even a proper open day.

My own thought is that if he wants to do a degree, he needs to maintain intensive, independent study and he can't bypass that at A2 and expect to pick it up again at university. So if he's going to put the effort in now, he may as well stick with his original choices. But oh, an unconditional is sooo tempting!

I don't know why they can't just relax their standard offer for a student they really wanted and offer say, BBC instead of AAB.

OP’s posts: |
53Dragon Thu 08-Jan-15 23:25:36

My advice is to treat him as an adult - talk through the options but make it clear to him that you will support his choice, whatever it may be. It's his future so he should decide.

thecheekofthem Thu 08-Jan-15 23:45:55

Can he accept but if he gets far better grades take a gap year to somewhere he'd prefer?


stonecircle Thu 08-Jan-15 23:52:09

53Dragon - you're right. I'm indulging in a little ego boosting tonight ('see what a strong applicant you must be' etc) but am very much saying it is his decision. He is going to a Sussex offer day, plus offer days for his original 2 choices so it will be his decision.

Interesting to see though that Sussex are still encouraging high grades by offering £3k to those accepting unconditional offers and getting AAA.

TheCheekofthem - that's a very interesting idea and one certainly worth considering!

OP’s posts: |
FannyFanakapan Fri 09-Jan-15 08:50:00

my DDs tutor has reinforced the idea of working hard through A2s by saying that if she decides after a couple of weeks that she has chosen the wrong course, she will need to have really strong grades to get into another course mid term.

jeanne16 Fri 09-Jan-15 17:36:16

Your son should choose the best Uni he can get into which from your list is Exeter. Whatever other people may say, this will give him the best chance of a graduate job at the end of the course.

Kez100 Fri 09-Jan-15 19:06:59

If I was going to spend the money it now costs I would, personally, make sure the top choices are visited properly and would be helping the student achieve that. Applicant Days? Are they still doing Open Days? Do they allow Campus Tours independently?

I can fully understand not going to all five but I think they should be sure it's the right choice before making it firm or insurance. University is a huge part of someones life - too important to pick from a brochure (in my opinion). Unless its a course you have to take what you get offers for - like often is the case with medicine or somewhere they have always aspired to going.

stonecircle Fri 09-Jan-15 19:28:23

Kez - ds went to a number of open days, including those for four of his choices. He couldn't get to Exeter on an open day but did visit independently with DH. He is booked on offer/applicant days for Exeter and Royal Holloway (his firm and insurance) but has now booked on the one for Sussex just for a second look.

I'm not sure what else can be done. When I was in the lower sixth I went on a three day visit to the university I ended up at. I'm not sure things like that are on offer these days.

OP’s posts: |
boys3 Fri 09-Jan-15 20:00:38

stone, as a starting point as dilemmas go, its a pretty good one to be facing smile

Your DS sounds sensible, booking the offer day seems evidence of that.

All I'd suggest is that he really closely compares the course details for both Exeter and Sussex, are there very different options or modules that only one offers etc, and ask himself which one he really wants to study.(I'm assuming its the same subject at both). It sounds like he's already done that and had placed Exeter (and RH) ahead of Sussex.

I guess the question he really needs to ask himself is what would now make him want to study that course at Sussex rather than Exeter, or indeed rather than RH. He does not have the worry and uncertainty of an A* to get with his Exeter offer and with his AS scores he'll know how much leeway, if any, he's got when it comes to the A2 exams.

Time is presumably also on his side - I'm sure last year it was early May before DS1 had to confirm his firm and insurance on UCAS - so not a decision he needs to rush into.

DS1 had an unconditional from what would have been his third choice last year, plus option to use it as insurance not just firm. In the end he decided his original top 2 choices were indeed still that and plumped to stick with them.

Kez100 Fri 09-Jan-15 20:04:52

I'm sure after these new visits he has planned that he will know more and be able to make an informed choice.

stonecircle Fri 09-Jan-15 23:05:21

Your DS sounds sensible, booking the offer day seems evidence of that

... nothing to do with mum hovering over him saying, "book an offer day, book an offer day, have you booked it yet?" grin

OP’s posts: |
LionsTeeth Fri 09-Jan-15 23:11:31

I was in the same position last year. I was sure that I wanted to go to southampton, with reading as my insurance. When reading offered me an unconditional I took it; I didn't expect myself to get high enough grades to get into southampton. So I put reading as firm and southampton as insurance. It took a lot of the pressure off, and when results day came, I got higher than I expected - Southampton accepted me on the insurance offer. I decided I wanted to go there and managed to change, but it was not easy and at one point I had no places. It was very stressful getting the change but it all worked out for me. I would say let your DS decide, that's what my parents did and I appreciated it greatly. Having an unconditional is great, but only if you're sure that that university is where you want to go. smile Good luck to your DS.

stonecircle Sat 10-Jan-15 14:00:11

That's interesting to hear Lionsteeth. DS has an offer from Southampton (AAB) and it was always very high on his list. When I asked what criteria he'd used to to weed it out of his top two he said he didn't like the look of the accommodation much. A pretty lame reason imo as he obviously wouldn't have seen all of it! But I suppose he's got to decide somehow. What's your opinion of the student accommodation at Southampton?

OP’s posts: |
Whyjustwhyagain Sat 10-Jan-15 22:07:33

The Gken Eyre campus accommodation at Southampton is lovely. My DS is in his 4th year at Soton, and after the first year in halls, has always managed to live within a 15 min walk of his lectures (unlike DS2 at a different uni who has a ~30 minute bus journey now he's in 2nd year private accommodation!

LionsTeeth Sat 10-Jan-15 23:35:31

I love it. I am in one of the smaller halls. It was built in 1915 and is just beautiful. We have a courtyard and lots of greenery, and back onto the common. I'm also catered, the food is good and it's lovely to go and eat with everyone. Not too mention not having to cook myself! They've just built two new big accommodation blocks which are very modern and look great too - would be worth checking those out on the southampton uni accommodation page maybe smile

LionsTeeth Sat 10-Jan-15 23:37:26

As why says, all of the accommodation is fairly close to the uni, and there's a lot of student housing near too, which from what I've seen in our search so far is very nice and affordable smile

luposa Sat 10-Jan-15 23:42:00

Sussex and Exeter are pretty much on a par, so i'd take the unconditional.

stonecircle Sun 11-Jan-15 19:57:19

Is that right luposa? I thought Exeter was perceived as better?

OP’s posts: |
luposa Tue 13-Jan-15 18:59:40

I don't think there's much in it. They're both in the 'respectable institutions' bracket.

MoreBeta Tue 13-Jan-15 19:07:25

DW and me both agree. Take Exeter. Sussex will still be there and snap him up in clearing if he just misses the grades and to be frank Exeter will take him too.

Don't allow him to be pressured and quite frankly I would not suggest goes on the Sussex offer day either.. A lot of unis are doing this now and both me and DW worked in HE until pretty recently. We do not agree with this practice of unconditional offers.

Go for the best choice. He can always have a gap year and reapply if he misses his grades.

ajandjjmum Tue 13-Jan-15 19:10:03

I too thought Exeter was more highly regarded.

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