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Unconditional offers(47 Posts)
I have always been led to believe that unconditional offers were only made to students with high predicted grades and where the university really wants them to go to their particular university.
However, since restrictions on student number have been lifted I am getting the impression that it is the lower ranking universities who are making more unconditional offers (pre A level results). For example, a few of DD’s less academic peers have received unconditional offers, yet none of the A grade students have.
One of them is currently working at Ds, Es and Us. She got Es and Us in the last round of mocks, and I am beginning to wonder whether university is the right place for her. She might be on a course with students who achieved Cs and Ds, so she will have trouble keeping up or she might drop out. Doesn’t this make the idea of going to university rather pointless for some students?
It's all about making money I'm afraid. The "less prestigious" universities are making unconditional offers to lower grade students so they are assured their tuition fees. The higher grade students are left to compete in the traditional way.
I realise that, but if the student drops out during the first year surely the university will only receive one year's fees?
It makes a mockery of the university system, given that not all degrees are equal either. OH said he reckons a first from Huddersfield would be the equivalent of a third from Oxford or Cambridge.
I do think there are quite a lot of unconditional offers that go to less academic students. And those are obviously from the lower ranking universities, as they need the money. It does a huge disservice to the students who take up these places and then struggle throughout and end up failing a year or doing out. BUT some of those universities actually offer better value for money as their students receive a lot more support in the form of tutorials etc because they have to be set up that way as the students there are less able to self study. I know of quite a few young people who were fairly average at school, got D and E grades at uni who have ended up with good degrees (from lower tier unis, granted) because of the extra support those unis have in place.
There are also still the other sort of unconditional offers around. Where the student is one they really want to be there, for whatever reason. Girls applying for traditionally male dominated subjects are more likely to get unconditional offers, particularly if they are at the top end, although I don't think I've heard of any from Russell group or Oxbridge. Some universities give out unconditional offers to clever local kids (the definition of local can vary) so that talent doesn't all leave the area.
It's very difficult to know which sort of unconditional you've got if you're not up on these things. My dd has an unconditional offer, and is predicted by school 4 A grades at A Levels. Her uni isn't a Russell group, but it has a very good reputation, and for the course she wants to do it comes out in the top ten in every league table (it comes in our close to top 10 in lots of subjects).
DD is predicted 3 x A* and received and unconditional from one of her choices. They also offered financial incentives. Though it is a highly respected research dept, which a multi million pound lab facility just opened, BUT it is something like 8th in the country for her subject. As a result, the most able students tend to want a higher ranking uni and so many of them are more prepared to take a risk. She still has masses of wiggle room to get in to her first choice - she could drop a grade in each subject and still get in. There will be some brilliant candidates though who would rather know where they are going.
I wish DD would have accepted the conditional TBH.
Sorry, and I should add that Scotland has managed to have an internationally respected Higher Education system for hundreds of years based on unconditional offers. Conditionals in Scotland only go to those who might not make the grade.
My dd is predicted 3A's and she got an unconditional from one uni and a reduced grade with financial incentive from another.
She put the unconditional down as her insurance choice BUT she has now decided if anything happens and she doesn't get the grades needed for first choice then she's going to resit her A levels next year instead.
Why she didn't just put the reduced grade offer down as insurance when it's a high ranking uni for her subject I don't know.
I think it depends on the course, the student and the university (obviously!). I don’t think it’s always a bad thing as it’s really common for kids to bomb A’levels then get on board once they are at Uni. There are plenty of University courses which are 100% course work which might really suit some students.
It may partly be about bum on seats but I think it can be in some students interests.
It varies and I agree with most of the comments above. In general I would adivse if you are going to get high grades then don't accept the unconditional offers as they tend to be from the not quite so good places. Also it can make people work less hard for A levels and yet some employers look at A level grades as well as type of university degree etc
Be careful about putting an unconditional down as insurance because they are usually offered as unconditional provided you put as first choice.
DD got two unconditionals from traditionally lower ranking unis non RG/Oxbridge in a specialist subject only run at 4 unis in total. She snapped up the unconditional from her first choice and it has totally taken the pressure off her exams in a good way. I'm delighted for her and not in the slightest bit worried about the unis standing unlike most of MN
Reservoir Leicester offer unconditionals that can be used as insurance.
Royal Holloway also offers some unconditionals that stay as unconditional seven if they are put as insurance.
One thing to remember is that if a student does better than their unconditional offer they aren’t able to enter into adjustment. It is still possible to decline your unconditional and trade up to a better university but it’s not as straightforward as being able to do it automatically. You would have to phone the University where you have your unconditional offer and get them to release you - this might take a few days.
If there are only 4 courses in the country, one imagines they are not both at Ovrydge and two non RG. That would be a bit odd.
Another way of getting unconditional offers - my DD has all unconditional offers - because she didn't go to university straight after A-levels. She's taken a year out to work and applied this year with her A-level results all known.
OP I got a 2:1 at Huddersfield and haven't had any problem getting a job! I'm actually in the same position as someone I know who got a 2:1 in a very similar course at Cambridge. Sometimes a degree all you need, where it's from matters less in some career choices.
"Sometimes a degree all you need, where it's from matters less in some career choices."
I agree. I hope my OP didn't come across as patronising or snobby. My thoughts are merely based on what students at DD's 6th form have been offered. She is a bit put out that she has AAA predictions and only has a conditional offer, whereas one of her friends (who is looking like she might fail one or more A levels) has an unconditional offer.
Yes you can get a job, just as you can get a job when you leave school.
But how much does it pay and more importantly, what are the working conditions like?
Ds got 4 unconditional offers. We are in Scotland and he already has the results needed meaning he coasted for the last few months of school as he didn't need anything else. If course the system works differently for English students.
I think that unconditional offers can end up with students being at the wrong university on the wrong course. My eldest was offered an unconditional at a top RG uni and turned it down as she preferred another conditional offer but many people thought she was crazy. I think the temptation to accept is high.
GRR at Scottish MNetters. I am frankly envious of no university fees. It does however make no sense that a part of the UK has no university fees while the rest of the kids have to have a frightening debt burden
Back to unconditional offers. Back in my day unconditional offers were made to really bright kids by great universities. Nowadays they are made by desperate universities to anyone. It's a worrying trend really because kids who might be able to trade up in university terms end up going to not-so-great universities because of insecurity. It does really feel like trading on the kids' insecurities at a pressurised time in their lives.
But how much does it pay and more importantly, what are the working conditions like?
I'm a teacher. I have been for 6 years so if you really want to find my wage, you can. I don't earn over 50k but there certainly is potential to.
As for working conditions, well, go look in the staff room threads. I have made friends for life in my current job. Those bonds wouldn't have been formed if we didn't rely on one another day to day.
Yes teaching is a great secure option! (I speak from experience)
But if you want to try and afford an upper middle class lifestyle, it’s not going to happen sadly
Thesearepearls, that only applies if they study in Scotland leading most to narrow their options. Additionally each uni will only offer a very limited amount of spaces to Scottish students since they don't get as much for them. So they generally need better results to get an offer. I agree that it's unfair though.
Bobbie, given what most people say about teaching on MN (and I mean teachers) I am not sure that really is going to convince people! If you want the six figure jobs it is still worth going by which are the harder universities to get into.
My twins last year found one of them (slightly easier subject) got one unconditional (Nottingham as long as he m ade it his first choice (no way was that happening)) and they had no others from their universities which was fine. Keeping the pressure on for a lot of teenagers tends to be what some of them need, particularly my last minute merchants.