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UCAS - school forcing applicants to select all five choices at submission

(48 Posts)
Bobochic Wed 21-Sep-16 13:48:40

I have come across a school (in the UK) that won't allow UCAS applicants to hold back some choices when submitting their UCAS form. This is the first time I have come across this. Can anyone tell me whether this is common practice?

Squirrills Wed 21-Sep-16 13:51:33

Never heard of it. I don't see the school has any say in the matter, their role is purely to do the reference. If it were my DC I would tell him to tell school he was only applying to 3 (or whatever). They can then add further choices on UCAS at a later date.

RhodaBull Wed 21-Sep-16 14:22:56

Ds heard this today at his college. I checked on UCAS and you can definitely hold back, but I suppose some schools think it is easier administratively (grrrr). A bit identifying for the Oxbridge crew if an application is received on October 15th somewhere else.

ChoudeBruxelles Wed 21-Sep-16 14:25:20

You can do what you like. You don't have to apply at school

blameitonme Wed 21-Sep-16 14:40:14

Could anyone advise on the pros and cons of putting all 5 choices at once please?

Bobochic Wed 21-Sep-16 14:42:54

The applicant I'm advising would like to apply now with three choices. If he gets two/three offers before Christmas from those choices he will add two more ambitious choices. If he gets one/no offers he will add two more accessible choices.

titchy Wed 21-Sep-16 14:59:40

The school has no choice or control over the matter. Student applies with three. UCAS send form to school for reference. School says to student 'what about your other two choices?' Student says 'Oh I'm only applying to these three.' School uploads reference. Students sits and twiddles thumbs for a bit, then adds two more choices. School has played no part in the adding of the two further choices.

Bobochic Wed 21-Sep-16 15:07:09

^titchy* - I know the process but this school refuses to give a reference if all 5 choices aren't made.

melibu84 Wed 21-Sep-16 15:14:08

I think i understand why they're doing this, his chances are vastly improved if all choices are selected. It is a pain, but there are so many universities in the UK, I can't imagine he will have any problems picking 5.

Bobochic Wed 21-Sep-16 15:17:41

He intends to use all five choices eventually, though. He just wants to see how many offers he gets for his first three choices before playing his hand in the other two.

TBH, with this particular applicant, it would be a good idea for complex reasons of family politics.

littlemissneela Wed 21-Sep-16 15:20:13

Can he not put on the ambitious choices on now, and then see how he goes at results time. If they are indeed too ambitious, can he then not go through clearing for the less ambitious places?

Bobochic Wed 21-Sep-16 15:24:56

School is going to veto the ambitious choices now and it's going to cause a massive row (divorced parents, father a troublemaker). The peaceful course of action is three middling choices now and a wait-and-see scenario. TBH I don't think this applicant will get offers from Warwick or King's but it will take getting a refusal from Bath and Exeter for Dad to understand!

goodbyestranger Wed 21-Sep-16 15:46:04

I can't see the issue with sticking down five choices now. I think you're over-complicating this which doesn't make much sense not least because you're relying on timely responses from the three 'middling' unis who may well not respond in timely fashion. How can the DC go wrong on any front with one ambitious, three middling, one safe, if he's on shaky ground as it is? Surely that will pacify all comers?

homebythesea Wed 21-Sep-16 15:47:17

The problem with waiting to see if the ambitious choices should be approached at a later date is that later in the process, because offers will have already been made to those that applied earlier, the universities may be required to cast a harsher eye on those late applications in order to keep within their offer/places ratio. Therefore the chances of getting an offer may be lower if the application is later. With the obvious caveat that it all really depends on the particular uni and course. The absolute key thing is to apply according to predicted grades plus or minus a grade here or there to try to achieve an aspirational offer and one that is absolutely solid.

FWIW having done this with my DS last year I think it's really not worth the hassle and time to faff around playing strategic games and thus potentially taking the focus off the main aim which is to get the grades. Pick 5 and apply for 5 in one go and then you can forget about it.

titchy Wed 21-Sep-16 15:50:36

I'm sure this kid will make his final two by the January deadline so no concern there. However Exeter tend to offer after the Jan deadline, not sure about Bath, so that strategy probably wouldn't work.

homebythesea Wed 21-Sep-16 15:50:53

rhodabull at my DS school all applications went in around the Oxbridge deadline whether they included Ocvridge or not purely to get the applications out of the way so they could concentrate on their studies, so not necessarily a detriment to work to that deadline. It also meant DS had all offers very quickly which was a good motivator

goodbyestranger Wed 21-Sep-16 15:58:10

homebythesea not all courses at all unis offer very quickly! This could be a fatal flaw in the cunning plan.

Squirrills Wed 21-Sep-16 16:02:09

Some unis are notoriously slow to give a decision, especially in borderline candidates, and he may not have heard from the three before the January deadline.
I still think he can dig his heels in and say he is not putting five down because he only wants to apply to these three.
It seem the family are putting a lot of added pressure on this youngster which I am sure he could do without.

Leopard12 Wed 21-Sep-16 16:18:24

He should tell the school this plan to see their views and if they'll make an exception, if they insist do what pp said 1 (or 2) aspirational choices mixed with some more likely choices, he can always try clearing if he gets no offers or doesn't meet offers

homebythesea Wed 21-Sep-16 16:45:08

goodbyestranger I know he was lucky in that regard, but it was a relief not to have the application hanging around like a bad smell for any longer than it needed to be!

BizzyFizzy Wed 21-Sep-16 16:59:52

It's not that much of a gamble that he can't show his whole hand up front. If he chooses an appropriate range of courses, he should get something.

He would also be wise to take the school's advice.

I have had three DCs go through the system already, and they have all received five offers.

BizzyFizzy Wed 21-Sep-16 17:00:28

...and some universities don't respond until very late, eg March.

goodbyestranger Wed 21-Sep-16 17:01:32

Absolutely agree with that homebythesea - I'm all for getting the thing off and away too. I think turning it into a chess game is overthinking it by some way. Some rejections go to the brink as well as offers. I'm a great believer in keeping things simple.

Lalsy Wed 21-Sep-16 17:19:03

I think the school should let him do what he wants. I can see it keeps things simple and people won't forget if they do all five at once, and they can advise him of that. But it is his choice and it sounds like he has good reason and is organised enough to set himself a deadline and do it.

My ds has only been to two open days, and we have got internet problems at the moment and he is playing loads of football matches so is a bit behind with research. He may well want to add in a couple later, maybe if he has been to see them, see how his grades are going, or had a chance to talk to more people - school say in the bumph it is completely fine to do that. Other people may have had illness, done much better in their AS than they though, not been sure until now what they wanted to do, loads of things. Universities have to treat all applicants equally, whenever they apply. In fact, OP, thank you - I will remind ds of that option tonight! Good luck to this lad, hope it works out for him.

hellsbells99 Wed 21-Sep-16 17:36:51

DD2 only applied for 3 initially as she needed to apply by the early deadline and couldn't make her mind up on the last 2 - she added them 3/4 weeks later.

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