Offers are in but one is a “conditional unconditional “ what to do?

(47 Posts)
jenthehen Tue 11-Feb-20 09:38:55

My son is hoping to study computer science at university. He’s predicted AAB but his mock exam results for maths and physics were D’s so the A’s and B’s in those subjects seem like a pipe dream. He’s received offers from all of his unis: Leeds and Birmingham needs A’s, Loughborough and York need ABB and then he’s been offered unconditional from Notts Trent (if he puts it first). His plan is to see how his grades go right up until the May decision date then decide but with the current situation he’s thinking of accepting the unconditional but if by a minor miracle he performs well then he could decline the offer, take a year out and reapply with (hopefully) better grades. Does this seam plausible? (Thanks for any advice as this is my first child applying to Uni)

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QueenOfPain Tue 11-Feb-20 09:46:13

If he performs well then surely he can just accept one of the conditionals and go straight to one of those unis without taking a year out?

FWIW, Nottingham is a great city!

Bluntness100 Tue 11-Feb-20 09:48:10

No if he accepts an unconditional then he needs to reject the others, at least that's the case when my daughter was offered an unconditional.

Yes his plan seems plausible op.

bettybattenburg Tue 11-Feb-20 09:49:52

Notts Trent is in a very different league to Birmingham university, I'd haver thought it was more of an insurance choice. Would he be selling himself short if he went for NT instead of Birmingham?

PurpleDaisies Tue 11-Feb-20 09:51:31

What happened with his mocks? What do his teachers say about what he’s likely to achieve now?

Does he actually want to go to Nottingham Trent?

Bluntness100 Tue 11-Feb-20 09:53:35

He could also see if he can get in via clearing I think if he gets better grades, but no assurance places will be available for his chosen course, or that what he does achieve will be good enough to beat the other candidates.

I'd also look at why he achieved the ds, because if he struggles at a level then he has to recognise it gets way harder st degree level, with each year getting harder. The reason they need the grades is in part due to the competency required to do the course.

SueEllenMishke Tue 11-Feb-20 09:54:04

If he accepts the unconditional but does better then he can reject it on the day and try clearing


MarchingFrogs Tue 11-Feb-20 09:57:18

Well, it's a plan - does he have a sensible idea of how he would spend the year out? An alternative would be to check whether any courses he fancies are in Clearing as soon as the first lists are published in July, then if they are still in Clearing on results day and he has the grades, put himself into Clearing and go from there. That does mean having to sort everything out in a bit of a hurry, though, with uncertainties about accommodation (or even, will he like the university, if it's one he hasn't previously visited?).

Normally, better than expected results could open up Adjustment, but accepting an unconditional offer precludes this, as he would have no conditions to exceed.

One thing to consider with NTU is what would happen re his accommodation of he withdrew from his place on results day (rather than not going because he didn't meet the conditions of his offer)? Iirc, NTU is one of the universities which get you to go through the whole room booking process at the time of applying for accommodation, unlike, say, Birmingham, which takes expressions of preferences early on, but only allocates rooms and extracts payment from conditional offer holders once they meet their conditions on results day.

Seeline Tue 11-Feb-20 09:59:43

What have NottsTrent offered if he keeps them as his insurance choice? My DS has an offer which becomes unconditional if he makes it his firm choice, but they still have a standard offer, if he puts it as his insurance.

LIZS Tue 11-Feb-20 10:01:13

Sounds reasonable, he could go through Clearing or Adjustment if he changes his mind come August. Leeds and Birmingham are not likely to accept him with lower grades ime. York may depending on demand.

MarchingFrogs Tue 11-Feb-20 10:01:40

Is it the year 2 topics which he is finding hard (assuming that the A,A,B prediction were realistic at the point at which they were made)? Or were there other factors affecting his performance in the mocks?

MarchingFrogs Tue 11-Feb-20 10:05:33

he could go through Clearing or Adjustment if he changes his mind come August.

Adjustment is only an option if the student meets and exceeds the conditions of his/her firm offer. Having accepted an unconditional offer, there are no conditions to exceed, so Adjustment can't be used.

Bluntness100 Tue 11-Feb-20 10:05:40

I'd also say that the unis who are better ranked, and have higher entrance requirements, have those requirements for a reason. They require effectively more self study, the degree is basically harder to achieve, which is why many employers rank the degree as more valuable depending on the uni. A lower ranked uni effectively leads the student more.

As opposed to seeing the entrance requirements as a hurdle he needs to achieve simply to get in, he needs to look at what suits his learning style better, which uni is better to help him achieve his degree, to succeed and meet his potential.

jenthehen Tue 11-Feb-20 10:09:46

Thanks all. If he puts Notts Trent as his insurance they’d want BBB so not vastly different from Loughborough or York which he’d much prefer. Not sure what went wrong with his mocks. He’s not enjoying maths or Physics A levels at all but enjoys Computer Science and finds the Computer Science easy (he’s possibly got a chance of an A* in that). Interesting what you said about accommodation MarchingFrogs as that isn’t something I’d considered.

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topology444 Tue 11-Feb-20 10:21:08

I would not put a university first just because of an unconditional offer (unless I really wanted to go there). These offers were used widely a few years back but now they are under investigation and universities may get in trouble for still using them. I would recommend to put Loughborough or York first as AAA is higher than his predictions and seem a long way from D's in his mock exams. If he does worse than expected in one of his subjects they may still take him and otherwise there is clearing or foundation courses. This will also motivate him to study hard for his A-levels and should he really end up with D's in mathematics and physics he may want to rethink his course choice.

Bluntness100 Tue 11-Feb-20 10:26:20

Yes, I think the computer science degree has a much heavier math element compared to the a level. Enjoying a level, has little bearing on what skill set is required for the degree.

If he doesn't enjoy maths, I'd urge him to explore the maths requirements for his degree and revisit potentially if he feels this is the right way forward, in addition each uni has different focuses of the actual degree.

Seventyone72seventy3 Tue 11-Feb-20 10:35:57

I wouldn't go for the unconditional offer because it seems like a really mean way of operating and it would put me off that uni! If he would prefer one of the others, I would put that down - if it doesn't work out THEN he can delay a year - better psychologically I think!

titchy Tue 11-Feb-20 10:44:51

I can't with any certainty, but I'd be reasonably confident that if he insured NTU they would accept him with lower than BBB if things went pear-shaped. A Star, C, C is the equivalent in points, so missing a grade, i.e getting A star, C, D would be likely to mean he still got a place.

Is he prepared to really work, at least in Maths to get his grades up? Loughborough and York are far less likely to have any wiggle room on grades.

jenthehen Tue 11-Feb-20 11:08:09

He does seem really focused now. In his GCSE’s he went from 5’s in mocks to 8’s In the actual exams in some subjects so I’m hoping there’s a chance he could make a significant improvement in the actual exams (although I realise A levels are a different ball game altogether). I also did exceptionally well at GCSE’s then scraped through A levels but went on to get a 2:1 in my degree (admittedly from an old Polytechnic University) but it hasn’t held me back in my career, as is the case for many of our friends so a part of me wonders if getting a degree from Notts Trent would at least give him the chance to get him a tricky to know what advice to give

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Bluntness100 Tue 11-Feb-20 12:58:46

Agree it's really tough to advise. Really tough. My daughter got an unconditional, and although her grades were fine, she opted to reject it and go for a higher ranked uni, which caused a huge amount of stress in the lead up.

I think he needs to realistically look at what he can achieve. Was he coasting, and he just needs to put the work in, or is he genuinely struggling with the subjects. And then look at the focus of each uni and their degrees, their teaching styles. Also would an unconditional mean he coasts even more if that was the issue? Like he has a place so why put in the work?

Then try to work out what is realistically best. Is a math heavily focused course better for him, or something with more self study, does he need the support, and less math focus or whatever, It's a judgement call, but it's such an important one, and a really tricky one to make.

He's got some time, so he can spend some time making sure he understands teaching style, focus, etc of the different units for computer science, and also understand why he is currently failing, and really does he have both the appetite and ability to pull it back.

jenthehen Tue 11-Feb-20 13:40:37

It’s so hard to tell, in my experience boys have a different way of learning to girls and he has been known for his “sprint finish” but it’s hard to judge if he could “pull it out of the bag” so to speak. He does say it’s all coming together and the subjects he’s studying are closely linked so maybe I need to sit tight for a few weeks then reread this thread.

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Decorhate Tue 11-Feb-20 14:28:14

Another factor to take into account is accommodation. From other threads it seems that Nottingham accommodation goes very quickly. So it may not be guaranteed if you get in as an insurance choice. Other unis (eg Leeds) guarantee accommodation for all first years, not just those who firm

Dearover Tue 11-Feb-20 15:07:15

Where would he like to live for 3 years? Can he go to an offer holder day to check out NTU and one or two others?

Xenia Tue 11-Feb-20 17:12:04

Nottinghm Trent, an ey poly is not that great. Has he looked at which universities new graduates who are in the kind of jobs he wants went to? That is often a good way to check.

Nettleskeins Tue 11-Feb-20 21:17:26

My advice would be to.accept the higher offers but start looking at some of the computer science courses at other unis he didnt put on his ucas. So, think proactively about clearing..visit some more options which might offer Bbb or bbc in clearing. Cardiff, liverpool, uea, swansea, oxford brookes (sorry no capitals phone typing). Son had unconditional and accepted it , loving his ex poly, but his predictions much lower and we didnt even expect him to make need to rush into an un onditional in your sons case. Also checkout soton and royal holloway..again I dont think.they would ask for all aaa or abb in clearing. I may be wrong...

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