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Another insurance choice query.

(54 Posts)
Eeeeeek330 Tue 14-Feb-17 18:13:43

Happily DD has an offer from her first choice university for a humanities subject, she has also has an offer from Glasgow. She is still waiting to hear from LSE, Edinburgh and Durham. She doesn't seem too concerned at present, however I am aware she hasn't visited any of them yet. She had planned to go on offer holder days if she got an offer. Most of these are before end of March, However, the deadline for universities to aim to reply by is 31 March, although they seem to have till 9th May as the real cut off. I would book travel to Glasgow's offer holders day, but as Edinburgh is the next day I am a bit reluctant. But the flights will be going up in price daily.
So, is it possible she wont hear back from these institutions till after the offer holders day?

And I am also wondering, though I think I know the answer to this, will she automatically be rejected for a course if the PS is declaring undying passion for 2 subjects which in combination that are not offered by the institution. She applied to Durham, thinking she could then send in a modified PS, but somehow this didn't happen.

EduCated Tue 14-Feb-17 19:14:21

On the PS it depends on the institution and course. Some don't take PS into account at all, basing offers purely on grades, others pay minimal attention, others lots. Not sure about Durham in particular.

Eeeeeek330 Fri 17-Feb-17 08:49:19

Having looked at the web-site it seems Durham do set quite a bit of store by the PS, so they will probably notice the PS is geared towards a slightly different subject .

Has anyone got any experience of how late LSE and Edinburgh are in sending out offers/rejections?

According to Edinburgh's admissions data for 2016 they received over 60 000 applications. They made around 23000 offers and only about 6000 were accepted. No wonder it takes so long.

mummymeister Fri 17-Feb-17 11:08:39

all I can say about choice of insurance is make sure it is completely realistic. at my DC's school they didn't discourage students from picking insurances that had the same grades or only one grade different from the main offer. huge numbers ended up going through clearing this year and the school is having major upset because of it from current year 12 and 13 parents. my DC was ok as had chosen an insurance 2 grades away from main offer (which only missed by one grade). I will make sure all my children do this from now on having seen what happened on results day. have a DC in year 12 predicted ABB so will be looking at an insurance of either BBB or BBC as the thought of going through clearing is just so awful.

don't try and second guess what Unis do because you wont be able to! You will find an equal number saying one thing and the same number saying the polar opposite. Everyones experience is different because it depends so much on the course applied for, number of applications, the cohort applying etc.

Needmoresleep Fri 17-Feb-17 12:14:18

LSE can be very late. Three years ago DS did not hear until mid March and this was by no means unusual.

They normally place a lot of weight on the PS.

It's impossible to predict what happens if you miss a grade for a popular course, firm or insurance. LSE does not enter clearing, so I have heard cases of them being flexible with existing applicants who don't quite meet their offer. But not something to count on.

boys3 Fri 17-Feb-17 14:25:59

LSE can be very late

Ditto for Durham. A few years back now but DS! did not get his Durham offer until just after the offer holder day bookings had closed. Not a huge deal as Durham was only going to be his insurance, and he had been to two open days there - and to be fair to Durham ime they do lay on a very good open day. May have been a different story of course if he had not previously visited.

Eeeeeek330 Sat 18-Feb-17 10:15:19

mummymeister- although she hasn't had the offers yet, I think DD thought her insurance could only be one grade less than firm choice. I don't think dd's school have offered much guidance. Why are parents so upset? That children weren't guided into making more realistic insurance choices? Children weren't getting predicted grades?
I think she was hoping to firm Edinburgh if she got an offer. (And chance to see it) I have seen on TSR they are making very low offers for subjects similar to hers, so it may turn out ok.

Needmoresleep LSE open day not till April, so if she does get an offer mid March there should be time to book offer day.

user7214743615 Sat 18-Feb-17 11:43:33

Given that student application numbers are down this year, I'm not sure I would advise most students to put an insurance at two grades below their firm - many courses will be taking one/two grades below published offers to fill places from Firm/Insurance before entering Clearing. The same was true last year (though with numbers down things will be a little easier this year) so large numbers of students entering Clearing suggests that predictions were way off and that little advice was given about which universities/courses are unlikely to take dropped grades.

Top universities (such as LSE mentioned above), top courses in any given subject, and very competitive subjects don't give much leeway, but relatively few ABB courses won't be allowing a grade or two dropped in August.

Hisstory Sat 18-Feb-17 12:20:48

This UCAS report on predicted grades (August 2016) shows that 54% of students in 2015 miss their predicted grades by TWO or more grades. The report is worth a quick read as there are certain factors that make it statistically more likely or less likely that a student will miss their predicted grades by two or more grades.

Although most students will still get into their firm choice plenty of them won't. sad In 2016, 64,900 applicants were placed through Clearing This is an increase of 500 (0.8 per cent) on the 2015 cycle, and the highest number ever placed through this route.

The current system involves too much guesswork, uncertainty, unfairness and stress.

Eeeeeek330 Sat 18-Feb-17 14:20:19

I am not sure of the fine details but my niece in Australia has just been through the process of applying for a university place. I think she did exams in Ocober, got results in November and applied to uni's in December. The universities had her results and several offered her a place in January. I am sure they have nowhere near the same number of applicants, but our system does seem very clunky.

atheistmantis Sat 18-Feb-17 15:25:45

DS has been encouraged to put AAA for his firm and AAB for his insurance. However, he really didn't like the AAA uni anywhere near as much as the AAB one so he's going AAB for firm and a lower one for his insurance - they have specified a number of UCAS points which he already has from his AS levels plus a B in one A level. He's put being happy over the quality of the uni for his insurance choice, though we are both happy with the quality of both his firm and insurance.

Hisstory Sat 18-Feb-17 17:41:30

Interestingly, over 21% of Australian first year university students drop out of their original course and of these over 15% drop out of university altogether. You would think applying to Universities after receiving your results would result in lower drop out rates. I guess there must be other factors at play.

The sooner the U.K. moves towards a system where students apply to university with achieved results the better.

Eeeeeek330 Sun 19-Feb-17 09:40:32

Atheist - it's good he's very clear about where he wants to be.

User......615- Last year one of my DDs friend missed her Oxford offer by a grade and still got a place. But obviously, despite demographic trends, there is no guarantee of this happening. In fact I would have thought it quite unlikely. Do Oxbridge make more offers than they have places on the assumption that some young people won't make their grades?

My friend's DS had an AAB offer from his first choice RG university. Recently they wrote and the offer has been dropped to BBB! Another of the universities he applied to has sent him chocolates, presumably in the hope he'd confirm. Yet another on his list rang to see if he'd confirm their offer.

Hisstory- wow that is a very high drop out rate. Maybe the entry requirements are lower and the first year extremely tough?

user7214743615 Sun 19-Feb-17 10:07:59

I think my post was clear the the very top institutions such as Oxbridge rarely take dropped grades. Demographic trends will have absolutely no impact on the very top courses, which are extremely over-subscribed. And of course Oxbridge know very well what fraction of offers are likely to be met and make offers accordingly.

stonecircle Sun 19-Feb-17 11:33:17

I thought the thing about Oxbridge was that they set more store by their own tests than grades? Certainly ds1's friend got into Oxford with at least one dropped grade.

user7214743615 Sun 19-Feb-17 12:05:39

Yes, Oxford do tend to stick with the choices that they've made by interview/pretest and thus do sometimes take a dropped grade. (Cambridge rather less so.)

But you certainly can't rely on Oxford taking a dropped grade, whereas lower ranked courses offering at ABB are really very likely indeed to take 1 or 2 dropped grades unless they are for very over-subscribed subjects/certain highly ranked universities.

I wouldn't encourage somebody to hold an ABB offer as a Firm and then drop as much as two grades for Insurance down to a BBC offer, unless they are really keen on the BBC course anyhow. The BBC course is itself likely to drop several grades further in Clearing. That could mean a student with ABB ability finding themselves on a course with lots of CCC students, so not necessarily the right pace and depth for them.

mummymeister Sun 19-Feb-17 12:45:38

eeek330 - I think that the school DC was in should have given more guidance and putting an insurance only 1 grade off isn't very sensible in my opinion. something which has be borne out by research. I showed this info to my DC before they filled in the UCAS forms and I am mightily glad that I did.

whatever is said about the lowering of student applications and the fact that this will lead institutions to take lower grades personally I just would not want my DC to risk this.

for Russell group its less likely so I suppose it depends on which course and which uni. but even so, the stress I saw those poor kids going through last year on results day really has stayed with me.

I agree that it is such a minefield the only sensible system is one where students apply after they have their grades. it is doable it just takes a bit of thought and planning. it would also be cheaper and a more efficient way of working.

user7214743615 Sun 19-Feb-17 13:28:04

* it would also be cheaper and a more efficient way of working.*

Can you provide evidence for it being cheaper and more efficient? This is a continuing discussion on MN but one that does not seem to take into account the facts that (i) students would still need to apply to multiple institutions and (ii) the admissions process would have to be crammed into a very short and stressful period.

Many RG (or, more accurately, high tariff) university courses are taking dropped grades. This is manifest if you look at how many are in Clearing and compare the grades offered in Clearing with the published grades.

Personally I would rather my DC risk it than put a considerably lower ranked university course as Insurance.

mummymeister Sun 19-Feb-17 17:44:58

User - I said that to do it would require a lot of thought and planning.

A levels in May, results last week of July (yes I realise we would need more markers to achieve this) , applications to Unis by first week of September ( or later if possible) offers out end of November, term starts January and we run uni years Jan to Jan or in the first year they have a shortened summer holiday to take account of the loss of teaching time from late Sept to early December.

have you had a child doing A levels yet and getting results User? only ask because if you haven't then you might think differently after you have.

everything is achievable and there would be no need to put 5 options down would there. you apply to the one you want with your grades and statement, if they take you that's it. if they don't you move on to the next one.

User006point5 Sun 19-Feb-17 18:10:09

I'm confused by all of this, and have no personal expertise. It seems there are lots of tactics at play.

DS has his offers in, and is now trying to decide on which to put first and second. How can he find which of his choices actually accepted students with lower grades last year than the grades they have offered him for his particular course? If he knew that, it might be worth the gamble of having two high choices, if one is actually likely to accept a missed grade. (He feels pretty confident that he'll hit his predicted targets, but I'm more cautious.)

Hisstory Sun 19-Feb-17 18:15:08

A levels in May, results last week of July (yes I realise we would need more markers to achieve this) , applications to Unis by first week of September ( or later if possible) offers out end of November, term starts January and we run uni years Jan to Jan or in the first year they have a shortened summer holiday to take account of the loss of teaching time from late Sept to early December.

I think it might be easier to have the terms as they are but for A level students to take their exams in Feb? (Or thereabouts). They could then still carry on with compulsory classes in their subjects until the normal end of term. This period would not be examined but they would have to complete it.
They could then apply with achieved grades. There would be no need for students to visit multiple open days and incur the associated expense.
The universities could look at the student cohort as a whole and pitch their course requirements appropriately. There would be no need to apply for multiple Universities. In countries such as Canada students are given unconditional offers before they have finished their final year based on their current exams but before they finish the academic year.

The biggest advantages to applying with achieved grades is that it would be so much fairer. I know a student studying chemistry at Warwick with ABB and a student studying Chemistry at Keele with (I think, I'm not 100% sure) AAA. The first students over confidence paid off. Good for him but that's not how University places should be awarded. Places should be awarded on merit in a transparent and fair way. No one will convince me that the current system is fair.

54% of students drop two or more grades from their predicted grades and yet predicted grades are the biggest factor in awarding students places. Thats clearly crazy.

user7214743615 Sun 19-Feb-17 20:49:03

There would be no need to apply for multiple Universities.

Of course there would.

The offers made by Oxbridge are the minimum expected for the course. They select from a large number of candidates who can achieve this minimum. The same is true for top courses at many other universities and subjects such as medicine, vet, are massively over-subscribed.

user7214743615 Sun 19-Feb-17 20:51:24

This period would not be examined but they would have to complete it.

So basically 1/4 of teaching time lost, because if only passes are required the students wouldn't actually study the material.

They could then apply with achieved grades. There would be no need for students to visit multiple open days and incur the associated expense.

Of course they would: they would still need to choose which places to apply to and (as above) they couldn't just apply to one place, as competitive courses choose from candidates who all have the base level of grades required.

(BTW selective courses also don't necessarily prefer higher grades over lower grades - medicine is a prime example where having higher than required grades does not give you a better chance of getting an offer.)

Hisstory Sun 19-Feb-17 20:53:26

There would be no need to apply for multiple Universities.

You might have to apply to more than one but as you would already know your results there would be no need to apply for as many as you do now - it would depend how it was done. It wouldn't be half as random as it is now.

user7214743615 Sun 19-Feb-17 20:54:17

we run uni years Jan to Jan or in the first year they have a shortened summer holiday to take account of the loss of teaching time from late Sept to early December.

It's not very practical to run university years completely differently to everybody else in the Northern Hemisphere unless you want to completely ban international students from coming and ban academic staff coming from abroad.

And shortening the summer "holiday". You do get that teaching is only one part of what a university does? The summer is NOT a holiday for academic staff - it is when we focus on research and collaborate with researchers all around the world. You can't just take this time away without severely damaging our universities.

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