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University Admissions - I'm willing to answer any questions!

(302 Posts)
MrsBright Sat 18-Apr-15 08:53:58

I have worked in Uni Admissions at several different Unis, RG and non-RG, for over 20 years and am very happy to answer any general questions about UCAS/Offers/F&I Decisions/Clearing/Adjustment etc.

ginmakesitallok Sat 18-Apr-15 08:55:51

That's nice. Always good to see a helpful poster....

coffeewith1sugar Sat 18-Apr-15 11:18:35

Can I ask , if someone misses their offer say by one grade, and assuming there are a very few spare spaces left.
How would you treat a near miss? Would a near miss be treated differrent if say applicant was a insurance rather than firm and it was near miss? What process would you use to re assess the applicant ie what merits would be looked at more favourably? (in your experience ). Thanks in advance.

jeanne16 Sat 18-Apr-15 12:14:03

Do you genuinely read all the personal statements and school references or do you just read borderline ones?

MrsUltracrepidarian Sat 18-Apr-15 12:21:52

watching with interest grin - hope it doesn't end up as yet another Oxbridge thread as HE threads so often do - there are so many other unis out there...

eatyourveg Sat 18-Apr-15 13:17:13

I agree MrsUltracrepidarian, there never seem to be many non RG or middle ranked threads here. Very hard to know whats good and not good for vocational courses which are in the main at the non RG institutions

Eg ds3 is looking at a vocational course and the subject rankings are vastly different to the usual tables that apply in the papers so I am left wondering which way to advise, a top 10 in the subject table even if it means bottom quartile of the overall tables? In a course v institution case, I would normally go with course but have to say this time around I am in two minds.

So my question MrsBright is, in your opinion which makes for a wiser choice, course or institution or what weighting would you give to each?

OddBoots Sat 18-Apr-15 13:21:59

Is the type of school (private, grammar, comprehensive, high or low on performance tables or demographic of intake) any kind of factor at all in the offer they may get?

ragged Sat 18-Apr-15 16:53:50

Mistakes that ruin a UCAS application : do you have any to add to that or items you'd want to elaborate on?

Related to that, what are the most unhelpful misunderstandings that you find people have about their application?

SwedishEdith Sat 18-Apr-15 17:07:26

What, exactly, does an "unconditional offer" mean? As long as you turn up and sit the exam then you'll go to that university?

doglover Sat 18-Apr-15 18:16:06

How important is it to do 2 or more facilitating subjects at A level? My dd is a bright girl but won't achieve stellar A level grades; she's predicted a mix of A*,A, B and C grades at GCSE. She's keen to study English Lit, RE, Music and Sociology at AS. Would these subjects be acceptable with (probable) B grades at a decent uni?

Molio Sat 18-Apr-15 19:07:33

It would probably be helpful if Mrs Bright told us what sort of uni or unis she's worked for and whether she was in the general admissions team or in a particular department. There's a real problem with university admissions info in generalizing from the particular. Different unis have different admissions policies and different subjects even within the same uni can have different criteria for screening applications and offering. Almost nothing is universal; so buyer beware.

BackforGood Sat 18-Apr-15 19:11:35

So, are you coming back to start answering these?

ByTheSea Sat 18-Apr-15 19:29:32

Two questions on behalf of two people:

1. How does someone who has worked in admissions for several years and currently a supervisor in a further education college move into the university sector?

2. How important are extracurricular activities for a RG applicant who will likely grades at A-level and GCSE but has suffered several health problems throughout secondary and missed lots of school and therefore did not do DoE or other extracurricular activities. What can she do now to make her application desirable? With two years left, what are the most valuable things she can do?

circular Sat 18-Apr-15 22:48:58

Does having been offered a music scholarship (based on audition) go in a students favour if they droo a grade or two on their conditional offer?

coffeewith1sugar Sun 19-Apr-15 16:11:16

"Mrs Bright" lights on no one in?? Does anyone else feel this is a bit of a con thread?? Not very helpful

ragged Sun 19-Apr-15 17:30:43

Some good questions, too!! Anyone tried PM'ing the OP yet?

coffeewith1sugar Sun 19-Apr-15 18:19:48

raggedI've not tried PMing I'm shy blush
To be honest when I saw this thread, thought it might be too good to be true! Why would a admission person be willing to spill the beans, almost no questions barred sort of thing? I'm sure with some things they have to hold back and stay confidential about (not in a shifty way).

ragged Sun 19-Apr-15 18:23:15

okay, I'll be the PMing pest. Wish me luck!!!

coffeewith1sugar Sun 19-Apr-15 18:26:46

Ha ha good luck you brave soul!

JanineStHubbins Sun 19-Apr-15 18:27:31

I also work in Admissions, but I would never offer generalised advice. I can only speak to my particular department, my particular institutions, and my particular subject.

The UG market is so volatile at the moment, I would even be cautious about giving advice this year based on the last few years. As Molio said, nothing is universal.

UptheChimney Mon 20-Apr-15 03:06:48

And furthermore, there's a real difference between the clerical/admin question and where the actual decisions are made -- in individual departments by academics. Not admin staff.

Some of the questions asked so far are never decided by admin staff. Others (eg extra curricular stuff) have been discussed here ad nauseam.

You really can't generalise.

Also posters seem to think that there are secret rules or it's a sort of game -- really, it's not. If you asked these questions of academic staff (the ones who generally make the decisions) at Open days, visit days, interview days -- they'll give you as much of an answer as they can.

MrsBright Mon 20-Apr-15 07:22:42

Hallo! I'll try and answer as many questions as I can, but will have to do some tonight.

MrsBright Mon 20-Apr-15 07:32:04

coffeewith1sugar Near Misses : depends on the course, and on other people's A level results.

The process in simple terms is : those with the required results get immediately confirmed places (both original Firms and any Insurance offers who have been rejected by their Firm), near misses are ranked in order. If the course is in any way 'hard to fill' then most Unis will fill any remaining places from near misses, but only to a certain miss level (usually one grade below in one subject only). If the course or the Uni are 'competitive' then they may not take any near misses but swing any remaining places out to Adjustment (those with better grades than their Firm required).

Its impossible to predict this in advance - so please do not call the Uni and ask at this stage whether or not your child will get in with missed grades. No-one has a crystal ball and so can't predict the overall A level result profile for everyone holding a Firm Offer, or how many Insurance places will be taken up. All you can do is a) keep your fingers crossed that your child gets the grades and b) have a more realistic Insurance place lined up just in case.

MrsBright Mon 20-Apr-15 07:38:26

Jeanne16 Personal Statements :

Depends on the Uni and the course. If the course is 'hard to fill' (typically, obscure subject or unusual combo of subjects, or just unpopular) then for most Unis if they pass the academic requirements they get an offer, or are at least ranked for an offer, without the PS being read in depth or 'scored'. Most Uni will scan the reference and PS just to make sure their is nothing really silly in it (ie. appalling English or applied for Physics with a PS about Law).

But for top Unis and top subjects (ie. English, History, Engineering) and certainly all professional courses (Law, Medicine, Vet, Dentistry) the PS will very definitely be read in depth and is crucial in the decision process and ranking of applicants.

MrsBright Mon 20-Apr-15 07:43:33

eatyourveg Rankings & League Tables

Please ignore these. They will not tell you anything about the course, or more importantly if your child will enjoy doing it or being at that Uni.

They are 'marketing', nothing else. And some of the criteria (ie. research funding to that Dept or 'how many journal articles each Professor wrote last year') will have NO bearing on the 'quality' of the course or the Uni.

Go to Open Days, read all you can about the course and look objectively at the town/city the Uni is in (expense of digs and travel home?), but please, please, ignore League Tables.

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