Degree courses - what they ask for vs what they actually accept

(47 Posts)
mummymeister Fri 17-Aug-18 00:22:51

I am looking for the website that shows what grades Uni's ask for, for a particular course and then what they actually take in terms of the intake. I remember it being mentioned with a link here on MN but cannot find it. Over the past few years with my other DC I heard a lot of " well they were offered ABB and got BBC and were taken" Trying to encourage my DC who took two a levels this year and completes one next year not to jump into retakes until they find out whether the unis they want would actually take them or not. Difficult to give any more information without outing myself. Can anyone help?

OP’s posts: |
Feltcushion Fri 17-Aug-18 01:09:44

Look at what they want in clearing?

Movablefeast Fri 17-Aug-18 05:30:19

There was a book published every year called HEAP I believe. Maybe the author has a website now?

Movablefeast Fri 17-Aug-18 05:32:21

Yep Google HEAP online.

Piggywaspushed Fri 17-Aug-18 07:05:34

Unifrog tells you if they are signed up : for example, apparently Swansea's politics and IR students average CCD where their requirements purport to be BBB . I find this hard to belive but that's what Unifrog says. You do need to be signed up to Unifrog to see this.

I can't find clearing grades online : you need to contact each uni it seems. It would be useful if you could, but I can see why they don't make them easily accessible!

Piggywaspushed Fri 17-Aug-18 07:10:11

You need subscriptions for both Unifrog and HEAP btw so it will only work if your DC has access. You cna see vague stats on Unistats I think under entyr requiremtns where it gives a break down of how many UCAS points entrants had.

Again, like you, I'd like to know the clearing grades!

It's not as easy as it used to be to find out number of places available vs number of entrants for all course either!

smerlin Fri 17-Aug-18 07:22:01

Completely varies depending on admissions tutors. Some don't make grades and accepted anyway, some get offered a less popular course and some get rejected straightaway.


titchy Fri 17-Aug-18 09:46:17

Don't take those as gospel though - as with investments past performance is no guarantee of future performance. IMO one dropped grade will generally be OK, except for a top 5 course/uni. Two dropped grades at the lower end of the offers might be ok. Don't forget to look at Foundation years - the data may be telling you that the BBB offer course took people at CDD, but it probably took them into their foundation year.

mummymeister Fri 17-Aug-18 11:01:30

Thanks everyone. This is really helpful information for us. DC looking to go to uni in 2019 but already has 2 A levels so hoping that if we approach various courses, show what grades are already in the bag and what is predicted for the third A level then they might give an offer that is a bit lower because 2 are a certainty iyswim. Also a number of circumstances why the 2 A levels were lower than hoped for and taking a 3rd A level in year 14. Its a complicated situation but hoping still to get a Russell group place as this is what DC has their heart set on. Will keep you all posted in case its of use to anyone else. Waiting for clearing to get sorted this year and will get onto it in a couple of weeks time. The school are being brilliantly supportive so that's a real plus for us.

OP’s posts: |
Jinglebells99 Fri 17-Aug-18 11:18:05

Wouldn’t the universities expect the grades to be higher if only two taken one year and one the next year? Obviously easier to get a better grade if only taking one as opposed to three in one sitting. I think you will need to look at the individual University requirements as some expect all the exams to be taken in one sitting. What are the grades already achieved?

OddBoots Fri 17-Aug-18 11:22:17

The universities will want to see that someone can manage a full time workload so they might want higher grades than normal or for your DC to be doing more than one A Level this year. It is worth getting advice from the preferred university as soon as possible so as not to waste a year.

Jinglebells99 Fri 17-Aug-18 11:24:08

The complete University guide will show the UCAS points for entry standards in each course listing, so each course is listed and the average UCAS points for new undergraduates is shown.

Lettherebelight Fri 17-Aug-18 11:31:48

Not really surprising that there's a big difference - universities cant officially drop their requirement because they are bizarrely used in the uni rankings but the shite government policies mean they have to get as many bums on seats as possible. You can also use clearing well before August to apply for uni if you already have your grades.

titchy Fri 17-Aug-18 11:42:47

I think a lower than normal offer is unlikely OP, especially with two lower grades in the bag, sorry. If anything they might ask for a very high grade in the one taken this year. How low are the two taken? Are resits possible? You mentioned extenuating circumstances - it might be worth contacting universities to explain the circumstances and asking how they'd view an application. But not just yet!

mummymeister Fri 17-Aug-18 15:29:55

Hi All. Thanks for your comments. Its difficult to give too much information without outing myself but my DC is a GB athlete and therefore juggling studying with sport. There is a good reason why only 2 were taken this year and one next year. poor choice of one A level originally that then was dropped and lots of competitions in this year. I explained this to a couple of the Uni's under consideration who were understanding as DC has a GB contract. DC can manage a full time workload as shown by 13 high grade GCSE's but just a whole set of horrible circumstances this year - deaths, injury, serious illnesses in the family etc. Will come back to this thread and let you know how I get on. Thank you again for your input.

OP’s posts: |
OddBoots Fri 17-Aug-18 15:33:51

It does sound like something of an exceptional situation. I hope your dc gets some positive responses. Sounds like they would get on very well somewhere like Loughborough.

mummymeister Fri 17-Aug-18 17:33:55

Thanks oddboots.DC has to be in a specific geographic location which limits the choices even further. but hopeful that with a bit of explaining in writing and setting up some face to face meetings, something good might happen.

OP’s posts: |
Fluffydogmummy Sun 19-Aug-18 08:45:53

University pulled fine arts BA. I went to another they where full. They told me to do an arts access course ....when I'd got a place on the one that pulled without an access just on merit....very confused what to do.

tinstar Sun 19-Aug-18 08:51:50

If he's a GB athlete then universities will be keen to have him I imagine.

chemenger Sun 19-Aug-18 09:06:22

We had an Olympic competitor in our university department. The university has an elite sports scheme with staff who help us work out how we could accommodate his training and competitions. It would be worth finding out if the university your DC is interested in has a similar system and get in touch with them. They may be able to help with the application process, I’m not sure. I think we also have bursaries for elite sports so it’s worth investigating that. Loughborough is the best known university for high level sport but I would imagine all larger universities have elite sport support in place.

percypig Sun 19-Aug-18 09:15:01

I had a pupil in a similar situation, in that they took 3 years to do A Levels, in their case it was because of a serious illness in their AS year (we still have AS in N Ireland). A good personal statement and references from the school made the circumstances clear and the pupil received plenty of offers, including I think at least one unconditional one.

marialuisa Sun 19-Aug-18 09:17:18

Also check which universities your son’s sports coaches recommend. I know someone who switched from Manchester because they were advised that the support for their sport was weak there but excellent at Reading. Nottingham and Birmingham both have the=sort of elite athlete programmes Chemenger mentions for example.

catlady34 Sun 19-Aug-18 09:32:14

If he's a GB athlete then most unis would probably bite his hand off with half decent grades. It's amazing publicity for them.

Clairetree1 Sun 19-Aug-18 09:47:38

You get an offer specifying the grades needed.

You get in if you make that offer.

The university expects a certain number of places filled with people who make that offer, then put a certain number of places up as available for lower grades, but it won't go above a certain percent, so the number of places offered on a course in total depends on the number of people who achieved the original offer.

( so if they decide 10% can be lower, and 30 students make the higher grade in marine biology, and 50 students make the higher grade in soil biology for example, they might offer 3 places at lower grades for marine biology and 5 for soil biology - they will want a certain number of students, but the spread across the subjects isn't very important - you won't get 20 lower grade students accepted into marine biology to make it equal to soil biology for example)

The competition for the lower grade places can be quite fierce, even if you just missed the higher grade place by one mark, you would have to compete for the lower grade places, show that you have something the others don't, better work experience, or similar.

Spreading A levels out over two years devalues the grades, so likely to need higher grades to be considered equivalent.

Unless the univeristy course chosen is sport related, then being so involved in sport is likely to count against you. ( some sporting involvement shows team work, physical activity, being a rounded individual - competing at national level, particularly if not in a team sport, can show a level of self absorption and a distracting priority)

I have known international standard athletes get university places in unrelated fields, it does happen

In my experience, bereavements and illnesses in the family don't lower the offers either, unless the student has been a carer. I know a student who missed an A level exam because his mother was having a psychotic episode and it wasn't safe to leave her. He was accepted with a lower grade.

To summarise - you cannot predict whether or not you will get in with a lower grade.

Several of the circumstances you seem to be expecting to mitigate will actually not mitigate, and may count against your DC

He is disadvantaged by splitting up his A levels, as well as by not getting the grades needed.

he should retake them all.

The original grades can still go into his application. His personal statement can still talk bout his sport ( but play it down) his reference can still mention briefly bereavements etc, but again play it down.

In my opinion, that would give him the best chance of getting into his first choice university.

Or he could just go through clearing and take pot luck - that can work out very well sometimes

Clairetree1 Sun 19-Aug-18 09:53:51

It does sound like something of an exceptional situation. I hope your dc gets some positive responses. Sounds like they would get on very well somewhere like Loughborough.

no, it is not an exceptional situation, I have been steering 20 students in similar situations through clearing this week..... so will every other school in the country.

bereavements and illnesses in the family, and bad choice of A levels, these probably apply to a quarter of the A level student population ...

By all means try, nothing wrong with trying. And yes, Loughborough is the obvious choice.

But I still think retake them all is the way to go.

and also, make sure it is your son ringing up universities and negotiating, not you.

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