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'Firm' choice for lowest offer uni

(20 Posts)
Coleoptera Thu 04-Apr-19 11:03:06

Quick question, as DT1 will shortly be deciding on his university choice/s: all his uni offers are for AAA but one has given him a lower offer, if firmed. Not because of that - but because he probably prefers the course there best - he's likely to firm that one. However, his other offers will be for higher offers.

So what does he do? Does he only firm one uni and leave blank the insurance uni? Or does he put one of the others - with a higher offer - as his insurance?

OP’s posts: |
cathyandclare Thu 04-Apr-19 11:09:32

People we knew put another as insurance, and in a few cases it worked as the insurance uni accepted them despite dropping a couple of grades.

Coleoptera Thu 04-Apr-19 11:31:59

Thanks cathyandclare - so does that mean that the insurance choice, despite being even higher than the firm choice, actually lowered their offer even further than the low 'firm' choice, to allow entry?

In that case, how would DT1 know which of his two other offers might do this?

OP’s posts: |
Needmoresleep Thu 04-Apr-19 11:38:17

This is not worth fretting about. It will not cost him anything and you never know. Just put his second choice down.

OKBobble Thu 04-Apr-19 11:41:11

He won't know - it is a decision they mame on the day based on what other students have achieved.

Eg . Say his new firm is AAB and insurance is AAA but he gets eg. ABB firm may not accept him as he failed to get the AAB. However the insurance may be undersubscribed and accept him on ABB but they won't know what others have achieved to know who will definitely be going until then.

My DSS had a BBB insurance offer and was accepted on BBD. He only knew on results day.

So it is definitely worth putting his genuine second choice place as insurance rather than trying to guess which may take lower. However if he has no real.preference it might be worth looking to see if any of his uni choices were in clearing for his course and at what grade level as that may be an indication, although obviously it differs from year to year.

OKBobble Thu 04-Apr-19 11:45:00

Just realised who is postinv. Out of interest who lowered their offer? I think all his choices are high ranked unis so insurance may not drop. If the one that has dropped is not first choice it could be worth putting that uni as insurance despite it remaining an AAA as not firm because it might indicate that they are prepared to accept people on lower

cathyandclare Thu 04-Apr-19 12:12:10

As OK said, the people we know had insurance places at good unis (think Exeter, Kings, Nottingham) and were excellent candidates, still with good grades just having dropped down from * or As. I suppose it just depends on numbers.

bengalcat Thu 04-Apr-19 12:39:12

I would firm my first choice and put my second choice down as insurance regardless of grade requirements

Needmoresleep Thu 04-Apr-19 12:50:13

Courses that do not normally go into clearing can have a problem if their numbers fall short in August. If they don't pick up anyone in adjustment, and some don't use that either, they essentially have a choice of taking someone with missed grades or losing the income.

It seems to happen quite frequently in medicine, but also happens elsewhere. You can't predict where it will happen, but there is no harm in having two institutions to phone on results day rather than one if grades are missed.

LillianGish Wed 10-Apr-19 19:27:41

Just found this thread so a bit late to the party, but DD having same dilemma. Her first choice is Cardiff which has made her an easy offer, she also has offers from Exeter and Sheffield which are higher. It is quite possible she will get higher than the Cardiff offer so if she had a last minute change of heart could she change her mind? She is doing the French Bac so needs 12 for Cardiff (AAB) and 15 for Exeter (A*AA). I just thought it might look weird if she put them in that order.

titchy Wed 10-Apr-19 21:06:04

Unlikely she'd be able to change her mind - very few Exeter courses end up in clearing/adjustment. She could always take a gap year?

Fifthtimelucky Wed 10-Apr-19 22:26:18

Last year my daughter had no real insurance offer as both her firm and insurance offer made her the same offer (firm was originally one grade higher but dropped).

We took the view that if she didn't make her grades, the insurance choice might be more inclined to accept her. Fortunately we didn't have to put that theory to the test, but the day before result days, there was plenty being advertised on clearing which was encouraging!

MariaNovella Fri 12-Apr-19 10:24:49

LillianGish - the short answer is that universities cannot force students to take up their firmed place. However, my understanding is that insurance places become available when an applicant misses their firm offer. If your DD gets, say, 15.5/20 in her French bac, she won’t have missed her Cardiff offer. TBH, Cardiff is much less likely to be fussy/difficult to negotiate with than Exeter. Why can’t she put Exeter first. If she gets >15 and still prefers Cardiff, Exeter will release her and Cardiff will be thrilled to have her.

MarchingFrogs Fri 12-Apr-19 11:20:10

If she gets >15 and still prefers Cardiff, Exeterwill release her and Cardiff will be thrilled to have her.

Fair enough, if she still has some doubts, but if she genuinely prefers Cardiff, why not just firm Cardiff, with or without an insurance option and get on and get accommodstion etc sorted? Rather than doing all that for a university which is her second choice - just because it would 'look weird' not to pretend that it was her first - and going through Adjustment and possibly have to put up with whatever accommodation is left over at Cardiff?

mushroom3 Fri 12-Apr-19 11:46:16

It may be worth looking at the websites that give actual spread of entry grades, I think Unifrog may be one? That will give your DC an idea of which ones may be more flexible on the day if they miss their grades.

runoutofnamechanges Fri 12-Apr-19 12:36:42

If she gets >15 and still prefers Cardiff, Exeter will release her and Cardiff will be thrilled to have her.

This is really bad, incorrect advice.

Your DT should firm his first choice university, even if that means not having an insurance offer. It is the only way to guarantee a place there.

The university you firm has to accept you if you make the grades. If you don't make the grades for your firm choice but do make them for your insurance offer, they have to accept you. But, if you make the grades for your firm offer but decide you prefer your insurance university, the insurance university is under no obligation to accept you. Once your DT declines his firm offer, the insurance offer no longer stands IYSWIM. If they have a place, they may accept your DT but the reality is that for many courses there will be no free places after all the firm and insurance offer (the ones that didn't get into their firm choice) holders have taken up their places. You won't know that until A-level results come out in August. And having had an offer will not put your DT at the top of the pile when it comes to getting an offer from that university in clearing - there may well be applicants with higher grades than his offer applying through clearing.

On the other hand, there is no point in leaving the insurance choice blank. You should be able to find out online which of his other universities have had places (if any) available in clearing in recent years and what the lowest A-level grades are that they have accepted and pick the university most likely to have a place if DT doesn't get the grades for his firm choice. If you can't find that information online, you can ask the admissions team directly or make an FOI (freedom of information) request. You would also need to find out how that particular university converts French Bacc results into equivalent A-level grades. Not all universities do it the same way, and very few use the UCAS points system to convert grades.

As PPs have also pointed out, accommodation is usually allocated before results day. There is no guarantee that your DT will get a place in accommodation if he doesn't go to his firm choice. Even if there is room in halls, there will be less choice available. The university accommodation service will have info on whether they are able to guarantee accommodation for students have insurance offers or get a place through clearing.

AnotherNewt Fri 12-Apr-19 12:43:40

You really can't predict which universities will accept candidates who miss a grade - it's all down to numbers after results are out, and that can vary wildly.

I'd be saying 'insure your genuine seeing choice' and 'if it all goes pear shaped, then have a gap year and reapply with known grades'

greenchilly123 Fri 12-Apr-19 13:06:29

When I did my degree, I firmed the lower and insured the higher. It’s a bit risky but the lower one was my dream uni, and I got in even though I just missed the requirements. Chances are both his firm and insurance will take him with lower grades. My partner works on the clearing hotlines and they always drop the asking grades on the day. My advice is if it all goes pear shaped to keep calling the universities as the requirements fluctuate during the day, and some kind hearted person will usually bend the rules a bit to give people a chance smile

LillianGish Fri 12-Apr-19 13:48:14

but if she genuinely prefers Cardiff, why not just firm Cardiff, with or without an insurance option and get on and get accommodation etc sorted? this is my feeling. I think if that's her favourite then why worry that it's the easiest offer? She should be happy! She just has this silly feeling she's somehow short-changing herself by only keeping one of her offers.

MariaNovella Sat 13-Apr-19 08:27:50

rinoutofnanechanges - nope, it’s good advice based on extrapolation of what actually happens as opposed to what the rules say wink

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