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Unconditional offers - truly unconditional?

(77 Posts)
ExcitementBubble Thu 21-Dec-17 12:54:42

My son has unexpectedly been given an unconditional offer from his second choice uni if he makes it his firm choice. He’s still waiting to hear from his first choice. He’s very happy though as he’s had a few educational set-backs and this would give him some certainty for a change.

My question is - is this truly unconditional? If he fails altogether will they still honour it?

He’s taking a BTec so a lot of the modules are in the bag so it’s an unlikely scenario but I would love to know....

OP’s posts: |
user1469682920 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:39:12

Yes, once he has firmed I believe the offer this is a binding contract and will be honoured even if he fails the exams or even doesn't take them at all. Or at least this is the case for the Uni we have been looking at - I cannot be certain this is the case for all. The best thing would be to ask the Uni themselves but I believe it is.

TabbyTigger Thu 21-Dec-17 13:50:07

I think it is truly unconditional - once firmed, it comes up on track as officially going there and you don’t put an insurance.

I think it in essence means you’ve to to get 3Es if you’re doing A levels (as in, you have got to get the A levels you applied saying you were going to get) but I have no clue with btecs.

SallyOMalley Thu 21-Dec-17 13:50:58

Where I work, if an applicant meets certain academic criteria, we make their offer unconditional if they make us their firm choice.

There are no additional conditions attached to this if an applicant's results fall below a certain level or if they fail. We carefully look at the academic record before we make the offer, and so I guess it's a (tiny) risk the university is prepared to make.

We've had several applicants and their parents ask us the same question, so do speak to the university to put your mind at rest. And congrats to your son - he's done very well indeed if he's been made an unconditional offer.

ExcitementBubble Thu 21-Dec-17 14:04:33

Thanks all, he is over the moon since the aforementioned setback involved him having to leave school after AS's and start again at college so his confidence took a beating. Plus he's a year behind his friends most of whom started at Uni this year.

All we need now is an unconditional from his first choice and we'd be in the ideal situation...

OP’s posts: |
NotSupposedtobeHere Fri 22-Dec-17 08:50:40

It’s only Unconditional if he makes them his first (and only) choice.

Capelin Fri 22-Dec-17 08:56:57

It’s unconditional yes, but remember that in future he’ll have to put these results on his CV to get a job. So he should still do the best he can! Lots of companies are interested in A levels and equivalent even if you have a uni degree.

ExcitementBubble Fri 22-Dec-17 09:30:19

Yes thanks he's not intending to stop trying (and as I said before a lot of the modules are already completed) but I just wanted to know if we could truly relax..

We're going to go to another open day and if he still likes it (and assuming previous first choice doesn't also offer an unconditional) he's going to go for it. It's a well-regarded post-92 uni with a decent reputation in the field in a nice city.

The other uni had better facilities in his field and has an improving reputation but is not currently as well regarded overall so it wasn't an entirely clear choice in any case.

OP’s posts: |
dorislessingscat Thu 28-Dec-17 13:40:36

There is an oversupply of university places and and undersupply of of students. There will be a lot more unconditional offers handed out this year as universities scramble to fill courses.

BubblesBuddy Thu 28-Dec-17 15:41:48

Last year 51,600 unconditional offers were made. This is double the number of just a few years ago and it is demonstrating a desperate need to get bums on seats. Universities are financial institutions and they need students not half empty courses. He should wait for his first choice offer. Only 2% of unconditional offer students get 2 unconditional offers (so low odds). Don’t rush the decision and really consider why this university wasn’t his preferred choice. Was it a close decision or not? Unconditional offers are not what they used to be so don’t get over excited. Some people say they are handed out like confetti! In the end, employers won’t be bothered about this as it’s a marketing tool.

NotSupposedtobeHere Thu 28-Dec-17 16:25:30

There are various reasons for Unconditional offers. The most common reason is that the applicant already has A Level or equivalent qualifications - as they're applying after a gap year, or the like.

Rarely are they handed out like confetti.

user1469682920 Thu 28-Dec-17 16:45:26

Much is being made of the increase in unconditionals but they still only make up 5% of offers I don't think that is 'huge' numbers

BubblesBuddy Thu 28-Dec-17 17:01:02

There are several articles in newspapers that used the word “confetti”. I did say “some people” to indicate this was an opinion on the increase in the number of unconditional offers which, only a few years ago was circa 3,000. The large jump, by people who have investigated the phenomenon, is widely regarded to be down to the need to fill undergrad courses when there are fewer applicants.

The DS of the OP has yet to finish his BTec course. Reading around the subject of unconditional offers does give largely identical views on why this is happening and how the offers from universities are changing. One article said 1:12 applicants gets one. Some universities dish out very very few, others give loads. You can guess which end of the market gives out loads. The main advice is not to accept immediately without further research.

TabbyTigger Thu 28-Dec-17 23:56:02

I thought it very much depended on the course/University - DS found last year that his friends who were predicted AAA and above and had strong GCSEs received unconditionals last year from most subjects at Birmingham, Nottingham, and Lancaster, and a few at Sussex. He also found lots of friends received unconditionals from Lincoln and Leicester, and were able to drop grades on results day if they’d firmed York, Southampton, Newcastle, Leeds, Warwick, Northumbria for certain subjects. Meanwhile unis usually considered in between in terms of league tables didn’t allow dropped grades or offer unconditionals.

I would tend to agree with BubblesBuddy - make sure he’s making an informed decision and isn’t being swayed by the unconditional.

TimbuktuTimbuktu Fri 29-Dec-17 00:00:54

ItS totally a students market at the moment. Unless you have serious doubts about him getting near his predicteds then I would hold out for first choice offer.

BubblesBuddy Fri 29-Dec-17 11:07:52

I think the subject is also key to unconditional as well. I bet Nottingham doesn’t give out unconditionals for their Vet course. Or Warwick for Economics.

TabbyTigger Fri 29-Dec-17 11:27:31

Bubbles yes, good point - DS said one of his friends got an unconditional from Birmingham for maths and one for politics/international relations but obviously his friend doing medicine was still asked for A*AA!

user1469682920 Fri 29-Dec-17 11:55:42

I think quality of uni is key too. Birmingham are clearly trying to attract top students to up their reputation and specify you need at least 6 a stars at gcse, a 3 A prediction for a levels and a great personal statement to qualify for their scene. So choosing Birmingham could put you with other top students at a uni with a growing reputation. Whilst at the same time taking some of the pressure off and giving certainty of destination without the August uncertainty and last minute scramble to confirm places which for some students can be hugely beneficial and aid preparation/make them stronger for the first year of uni to come. Others are clearly more about ‘bums on seats’ and any bum wil do !! So I think what I’m trying to say is unconditional s are not necessarily a bad thing - they can be helpful to the uni and the student it just needs proper thought and consideration and the student has to research the course and the uni before accepting. He will probably know which way to go if he attends an applicant visit day

user1469682920 Fri 29-Dec-17 12:50:41

'scheme' not scene

NotSupposedtobeHere Fri 29-Dec-17 15:32:18

Birmingham are clearly trying to attract top students to up their reputation and specify you need at least 6 a stars at gcse, a 3 A prediction for a levels and a great personal statement to qualify for their scene

Indeed. When I taught at Birmingham, there were very strict & clear guidelines about how we made these unconditional offers.

And they were only made if students made us their first choice - it was a two way thing, and not about "desperation to fill empty places."

janiedee Sat 30-Dec-17 22:16:10

My dd is now holding 2 unconditionals and three other offers, it's been a wonderful confidence boost for her but I still think she will go for one of her aspirational choices first, the unconditional then becomes conditional but should be doable if she doesn't meet the abb wanted by the others.

ExcitementBubble Sun 31-Dec-17 14:52:45

I think it’s rather insulting to assume that because a University is not a ‘top’ Russell Group that any bums on seats will do, but that is always the Mumsnet attitude unfortunately.
The unconditional is for a course they have only been running for a year in a (shock horror) vocational subject so I imagine they are keen to get enthusiastic students on it. Most of the modules are existing from other related areas so we are happy that they know what they are doing. His BTec, work experience and hobbies all reflect his interest in the subject area too so I hope that all helped. We will visit both universities (assuming the other one also make an offer once they’re back from Christmas) but if he’d rather go with a safe unconditional I won’t dissuade him.

OP’s posts: |
GingerbreadMa Sun 31-Dec-17 14:59:14

Yes and no. They cant withdraw the offer of a place, but if he really badly fails what unis sometimes do is say "the place is still yours, but in a years time! we want you to do an access/foundation year first"

Thats what actually happens in practice. I guess you could challenge it, but if you fail badly youre probably better off doing the foundation course anyway.

TabbyTigger Mon 01-Jan-18 11:25:03

Excitement it sounds to me like he’ll love either place - just in case it was unclear, I was actually trying to make the initial point to dissuade the “bums on seats” attitude, pointing out that unis both in the “Russell Group” and newer, less “prestigious” universities are all giving unconditionals to students they think are capable of the course. Your DS has clearly proven himself in his application, and Btec students are often well suited to vocational courses, perhaps more so than those who get there via a levels, so I imagine they’re quite keen to have him. Good luck smile

user1469682920 Mon 01-Jan-18 11:48:30

Yes sorry, when I said others I didn't necessarily mean non Russell group. There are good and bad institutions of all type and reputable and less reputable courses even within the same uni. And also different reasons that uni's give unconditional s. It just needs careful research and reflection. But if offered and accepted for the right reasons they can be a very good move.

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