This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Dd's University offer(30 Posts)
Last week dd got an offer at a Russell group universty. It's her first choice. The course is very over subscribed so we knew it was a long shot. She was over the moon about the offer and the conditions are well within her reach.
Then yesterday she got an email saying that her offer is a 'contextual offer' which lower than a standard offer because our postcode is in a 'low participation neighbourhood' (deprived in other words).
It's knocked her a bit. She works really hard and was thrilled with her offer and now she's saying she only got in because of our postcode. She thinks the tutors and other students will know this and look down on her.
Anyone else experienced this? I wish they hadn't sent the email.
They won't care! Hell once she's there they'll be hard pushed to remember any offer they made.
She'd have got an offer regardless of your postcode - she just got a slightly lower one (it'll only be one grade less). They're certainly not more lenient when looking at applications.
Stop looking that gift horse in the mouth!
It didn't open the door, it simply helped prop it open a little bit, By the time she has finished her degree she will know that she has fully earned whatever she gets. No one will know how she got in unless she tells them, so she can relax about that.
Also, if your area is deprived then she is, basically, being rewarded for having worked bloody hard to beat the odds. The contextual offer merely acknowledges that it was probably harder for her to access the high level of resources she need to achieve well. Harder for her than any kid in a selective or private school. It's like a round of applause, a cheer of approval.
Other people won't know. Are they actually offering her a place based on lower grades? A contextual offer should mean that grades are the same but they understand that the student may not have been able to have as much extra curricular, opportunities for work experience etc. At least that's my understanding based on research on behalf of my genius council estate niece. I am surprised that students are made are aware of these offers though, I assumed it would all be done in the background.
What Blanched said.
It doesn't mean she doesn't deserve it at all. On the contrary.
But it will still be up to her how she performs there. I hope she does well.
I got into university to do an incredibly competitive degree partly because of my background (v deprived area) and partly because of a uni admin error.
I couldn't care less - I got in, sailed through Uni and I'm now very successful. Going to uni opened my eyes to the opportunities some kids have that I didn't - language lessons, sailing, polo playing, ski trips, class sizes of 20 etc, and it totally levelled the playing field for me.
Your daughter may not realise the gap that exists in terms of opportunity between her and some of her peers at this point. It's not a reflection on her ability or work ethic, it's a realistic acknowledgement that students in deprived areas don't access the high quality learning and extra curricular opportunities some of their peers do.
They wouldn't offer her a place if they didn't think she would be able to do the work, therefore they expect her to have the same capabilities as the other students.
I teach on an oversubscribed course and, honestly, pretty much all our best students have had to work that bit harder to get there. Her tutors are not going to look down on her at all, they have more maturity and life experience than that (and experience of privately schooled but not so bright students who never ask anything except "is it in the exam."). Her peers won't know unless she tells them her offer. She should be really proud of herself and it sounds like she could have got in on the standard offer anyway. Good luck to you both.
Presumably it is lower than their standard offer. Take it with both hands. No one on the course will be bothered.
I definitely got my place at uni because someone felt sorry for me. I couldn't give a toss though, I'm doing very fucking well indeed thank you!
No one will know or care about trivial issues like that, university is a clean slate and she will be judged on her and her alone. Socially, academically and so on it doesn't matter one tiny jot what her postcode is.
I agree with the "is it in the exam" along with "is there a register?" And "is there a handout?", that's question is a sign that someone is slightly missing the point of going to university!
We had a register in all of our lectures, if you missed one you had to write an essay or risk not being entered for the exam. Not sure if that's unique to clinical degrees or just my university!
I'm sure my DD got slightly lower offers due the school she went as it exists to try and create social mobility. I did actually point this out to her as she was thinking it was all just about her personal statement!
Friend's DS had a contextual offer for law from an RG university. The friend is a solicitor (and law graduate ) and his DW is also a graduate!
The DS was glad of the offer when his exam board messed up the marking of one of his A2 papers (left substantial part unmarked) so initially gave him a lower grade before it was remarked!
As everyone is saying, she'll have got the place on merit, and the offer is (usually just one grade) lower to help level out any high-achieving school vs lower-achieving school inequalities. She should take it that they really want her and don't want to risk her not getting the grades for reasons beyond her control. (Have heard some horror stories about teachers or lack of teachers from local sixth formers. Which is why my girls travel across town to a different school!)
Congratulations to her Hope she feels happier soon about firming them!
Be grateful. They wouldn't have offered it to her up they didn't think she would do well.
My DS is in the opposite position, two of his friends, same school, with lower predicted grades, have been offered over subscribed course at top RG for subject. We live in a leafier area, although one of those friends is staggeringly wealthy. No offer so far for DS.
I really hope your DD can accept the news for what it is - absolutely great news! None of her peers are going to know unless she chooses to tell them. And nothing to stop her exceeding the offer either if she carries on applying herself in the same way she has clearly done to date. Well done her!
No-one will know she had a contextual offer unless she tells them that. Students do sometimes ask each other what grades they go. If she does not achieve the standard offer for the course some may suspect a contextual offer but as all universities take some people with lower grades she can just shrug and say I guess my personal statement was amazing.
Tell her that no-one can make you feel inferior without her consent (comment attributed originally to Eleanor Roosevelt). The cards have been stacked against her and she is achieving well despite this. If someone who has been favoured all their life has no understanding of the difference it can make they should be pitied for their limitations.
Thanks so much everyone. I'll show her your responses, they will make her feel much better. I'm very proud of her.
Good, she's done well and success is habit forming. V best wishes to her.
Well done to your daughter! If it helps at all I was a free school meal school child - rough estate and loved uni and never looked back. She all go far. The privately educated students didn't fair any better than I did and though I did feel a bit poorer at times - I sailed through.
The uni shouldn't have made it obvious to her imo
Honestly, nobody will ask her about her offer. And it sounds like she may well beat the offer grades anyway.
Anyway, anyone who goes round asking their fellow students at uni what they got in their A-levels is labelled a twat anyway.
Once everyone is there, everyone's equal IME.
Well done to your DD!
Cambridge let me off the entrance exam in favour of an A level conditional offer many years ago, probably because my comp did not really prep for it. It's a bit different I know, but I was more relieved than insulted! It's also worth pointing out that Unis tend to give lower offers to the people they really want, and tougher ones to the ones they are not sure about. I'd take "contextual any" day. Stupid of them to send such an e-mail though. It might be to do with compliance with some Access policy. Not worth worrying about. The main thing is "well done" on getting a manageable offer from where she wants to go.
A couple of DD's friends have been given contexual offers for Bristol and they are very happy! Their offers are 1 grade below the normal offer.
OP your DD has been made an offer that acknowledges that she is experiencing more challenges than other applicants.
It will only be a grade lower than other standard offers (usually).
Many students holding contextual offers meet the standard offer grades anyway!
No peers need know ( unless she tells them).
Her tutors may know (her personal tutor certainly should). But they will not look down on her. If anything they will, in the first term, keep an eye out for her.
Tell her to picture herself with a PhD in years to come, sitting in a university as a lecturer in her subject, making offers to students. There are a lot of applications. Some of the students have gone to poorly performing schools where more than half of the students don't get five GCSEs at A-C. Their parents haven't been to university and don't have well paid jobs (so clearly there's no money for extra tuition.) Other students have gone to private schools all of their lives and virtually all children have achieved more than five GCSEs. There's clearly plenty of money in the family - you can tell by their interests. There would definitely have been the money for extra support throughout their lives if they'd needed it.
Would she ask all students to get the same grades? Or would she think that the poorer child had clearly had to work much harder to achieve the same grades as the richer child. It's very hard to get good GCSE results in particular if there are children messing around in the class. It's also hard to carry out coursework etc if they've got a lot of teachers off sick with stress (much more common in low-achieving schools.)
I used to teach A level students and wrote their references for university. I knew some admissions officers from local universities and all of them said the difference in applicants' backgrounds could be huge and yes, they did make slightly (a grade or so) better offers to students who'd been disadvantaged. They also said those students usually got the same grades as the others anyway. It's not that they think your daughter's going to get lower grades - they really want her and that's why they've made her a great offer.
Join the discussion
Please login first.