Two identical offers... what to do?

(37 Posts)
daughterofliz Wed 04-Feb-15 21:24:44

DS1 has applied to 3 unis, 2 that he really likes and 1 that he is less keen on and just put down as a safety net really. He thinks there is absolutely nothing to choose between the 2 he likes better and was going to decide his preference based on the offers they sent.

He has had exactly the same offer from the 2 that he likes (conditional, but easily achievable by him), and an unconditional offer from the one he doesn't like as much. This means he can't sensibly firmly accept one of the ones he likes and keep the other as his insurance choice - if he doesn't get in to one, he doesn't get in to the other. As far as we can work out, his only way forward is to choose between these two, firmly accept one of them and completely discard the other one and provisionally accept the unconditional offer just in case, even though he doesn't really want to go to that one. This is going to be hard as likes them both so much and literally cannot work out which one he prefers.

I would rather not name the unis or the course as it's quite identifying, but does anyone see any other way round this situation? DH thinks he should approach one of them and ask if they can amend their offer slightly but I just don't think they are likely to do that, and it wouldn't reflect well on him if he suggested it.

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SecretSquirrels Wed 04-Feb-15 21:28:40

They will probably host offer holder days. It's worth going to all three and looking again with a keener eye now that he has the offers. He may well find that one comes out on top.
Is the unconditional offer still valid as insurance? Most unconditionals are only valid if firmed.

SconeRhymesWithPhone Wed 04-Feb-15 21:32:06

Could he accept the two conditional ones even though they are the same, since one university might take near misses and the other might not. Even if the offers are the same, what happens in August with a particular set of results might be different in each institution. Not sure I'm explaining this very well, do you see what I mean?

daughterofliz Wed 04-Feb-15 21:33:30

I'll have to check that out but was going by what it was like when I was applying myself - not that I got any unconditional offers myself, but there were dire warnings only to provisionally accept them unless you were very sure about it, as it would be hard to wriggle out of having firmly accepted one!

He has signed up for a post-offer day at one of his favourites and is waiting to hear when it is at the other one. I don't think he thinks it is worth going to one at the third place but I'll suggest he should at least consider it.

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SconeRhymesWithPhone Wed 04-Feb-15 21:33:44

You might even be able to find out, for both places, whether they went into Clearing for that course in the last few admissions cycles and therefore what his chances might be in each if he didn't quite make the conditions of his offer.

daughterofliz Wed 04-Feb-15 21:35:16

Yes, Scone I did wonder about that. DH and DS were not sure if there was any point in doing it that way but the more people confirm that it's doable, the more they might consider it!

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daughterofliz Wed 04-Feb-15 21:36:08

Your first post, I mean. We're both typing so fast we're cross posting!

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SconeRhymesWithPhone Wed 04-Feb-15 21:38:47

I know! I think holding two offers the same is quite usual, especially if you really don't like the third option. Does he have two more still to hear from?

SunTree Wed 04-Feb-15 21:39:21

May. I just ask...how do you find out if a course goes into clearing? I've been trying to do this very thing with no success.

SconeRhymesWithPhone Wed 04-Feb-15 21:41:49

Sun, I'm not sure, but do the newspapers still publish clearing places? I remember there being a special clearing supplement until quite recently, possibly still now. If so, I'd imagine that online searches for the relevant august editions would tell you the pattern of whether a course was in clearing or not.

daughterofliz Wed 04-Feb-15 21:42:22

Scone, he only applied to 3. Unusual subject, not many places you can do it, some of them further away than he wanted to go.

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VegasIsBest Wed 04-Feb-15 21:42:45

He should firm the university he likes best after the open days. You've said the conditional offer is achievable so hopefully he'll get his first choice and all's great.

He can have an insurance choice with the same grades. Universities are sometimes flexible at confirmation so it's useful to have the insurance back up.

Higheredserf Wed 04-Feb-15 21:55:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

daughterofliz Wed 04-Feb-15 22:12:02

Maybe I'll tell you when it's all resolved. Someone could be lurking from one of those unis and thinking, "Uh-oh, he's a ditherer and gets his mum to do his thinking for him..."

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Higheredserf Wed 04-Feb-15 23:03:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlueStringPudding Thu 05-Feb-15 00:24:48

DD2 in similar situation with 2 offers for A*AA, one for AAB and awaiting one more which if she gets it will almost certainly be for A*AA too. We were hoping and expecting one of the A*AA offers to have been an AAA offer, but alas not.

She is thinking of putting down firm and insurance choices both with A*AA offers and then hoping that she either gets the grades or one of them will be flexible if she doesn't. Otherwise she'd need to take her chances in clearing.

DD1 got into her first choice last year on a competitive course at a popular university despite initially missing her offer by one grade, but she was lucky and of course it may be different for DD2.

So difficult to know whether to go for the universities she prefers or to play it safe by putting the AAB as reserve and then perhaps seeing if she can go through adjustment?

eatyourveg Thu 05-Feb-15 08:28:25

I would check out if either of the courses have appeared in clearing in the last few years too. I have the lists going back as far as 2009 though last years seems to have been put somewhere else but should turn up if I really make an effort to search my box files. pm me if you want to know if your ds's course is there.

uilen Thu 05-Feb-15 08:57:47

You can't predict clearing for this year from last year. You also can't tell what grades were actually accepted in clearing - some courses were taking lower grades than they claimed, while others weren't actually taking students with the advertised grades. I can name you STEM courses that listed ABB or AAB in clearing to get students to contact them but were actually mainly taking AAA equivalent e.g. A*AB. I can also name you "top" courses which apparently went into clearing but only took a handful of students with good grades even though they stayed in clearing for a long time. Such courses were clearly full enough but would make space for strong students. Without insider knowledge I don't think you can read much into the publicly available information about clearing.

Clearing is not entirely relevant to the question at hand either: universities will often accept lower grades from people who firmed them than they offer in clearing, as they know students who really wanted to go there all along are likely to do better.

The best strategy, as stated above, is to put as firm and insurance the places which you actually prefer.

IKnewYou Thu 05-Feb-15 10:02:08

I think you can firm and insure two Unis the the same grades. It's not a great plan but I don't think its that unusual. Does your DS like the third choice? Would he be happy to go there? What does he want to do? Would he prefer to take a year out or a 'chance' with clearing? How stressed does he get. Some of my DC have been happy to aim for the highest possible Uni's whilst DD2 doesn't want to take any risk.
Its hard to know what will happen this year with the removal of student caps.

I so, so wish they could apply after their results were published.

BlueStringPudding Thu 05-Feb-15 11:55:02

As DD1 went through this last year, I did take a look at the Clearing Lists to see if DD2s courses were in there, and am pretty sure that one of the Universities that has offered her A*AA was in there (with AAA I think). It is a newish course for that university too, so that may help her.

Just realised we're still waiting for the potential AAB offer (apparently a small course), so she may not get a choice at the end of the day anyway. eatyourveg, have PM'd you - thanks.

uilen - thanks for that insight. My gut feel is that's the right approach so that's reassuring.

daughterofliz Thu 05-Feb-15 15:23:28

eatyourveg, I have PMed you too.

Interested that people are saying AAB offer or whatever, do some unis still specify exact grades? These ones have come in the form of a number of points which DS thinks would be equivalent to BBB plus the AS-level he has already passed. They do not seem to mind how exactly the points are made up. It's academic (no pun intended) in his case as his predicted grades are higher than that.

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uilen Thu 05-Feb-15 15:48:28

At the higher end (say ABB and above) exact grades are usually specified, not points, and restrictions on subjects will often be made. E.g. in an AAB offer for physics it might be specified that the As must be in both maths and physics.

Some universities will reject if the grades are not met, even if the equivalent points are obtained - e.g. AAA and A*AB and A*A*C attract the same points but a lot of universities would reject the last one, because of the low third grade.

If the offers are really BBB equivalent I would suspect they might go lower in clearing.

SunTree Sat 07-Feb-15 00:38:38

If a student applies and gets rejected because of a C grade, retakes an a level, or indeed takes a new a level, and comes back the next year to reapply without the C, but hopefully with a B or an A instead, will the previous sighting of a C be held against her?!

senua Sat 07-Feb-15 09:35:34

He has had exactly the same offer from the 2 that he likes (conditional, but easily achievable by him)

If the grades are 'easily achievable' then what's your worry? Go to Offer Holders, decide which is CF and CI and ditch the third course.
Tell him to believe in himself.

bruffin Sat 07-Feb-15 15:41:43

Last year ds had an A* AA offer but ds didnt make the grade so is doing some retakes and applied again this year for the same course and has an AAB offer although the advertised standard offer is still A*AA.
Suntree
He got a A,C,D last year and this year has 5 full offers of AAA, AAB, AAB ABB and undconditional. I would say he has a very good personal statement and has used this year well for experience in his chosen subject. I was worried his D would be held against him, but it doesnt seem to have affected him too much.

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