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I work in university admissions AMA

94 replies

UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 18:13

Hello

Ahead of A Level results day, I thought I'd see whether anybody wanted to ask any questions about university admissions or clearing.

I only have experience of one university so obviously can't answer for all but will try my best with any general questions.

I'll be working long hours for the next few days helping students who have just got their results but for some reason I thought I'd offer my services early!

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brookstar · 17/08/2022 19:19

Emanresu9 · 17/08/2022 18:32

Are private schools applicants actually negatively discriminated against or is that a rumour?

This is very much a rumour!!
And it's certainly won't make a difference in clearing.

Solidarity OP.
I'll be on the clearing helpline from my university tomorrow, it could be a busy one!

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 19:25

@Sellie555 This seems very strange to me and I can only guess that they have maybe misunderstood? When you say you contacted them, did you speak on the phone to their international admissions department or did you get an email response from their generic enquiries team? I would persevere with this one if she’s still interested in studying there and you haven’t spoken to their international office. Is there someone listed on their website as responsible for recruiting students from Ukraine?

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 19:27

@Lavendersummer Yes, absolutely! Clearing actually opened a few weeks ago but ramps up hugely once the A Level results are released. We get calls from students with all sorts of different qualifications though, it’s definitely not just for A Level students (nor just for home students).

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 19:28

Thanks @brookstar good luck with the next few days!

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Sellie555 · 17/08/2022 19:30

UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 19:25

@Sellie555 This seems very strange to me and I can only guess that they have maybe misunderstood? When you say you contacted them, did you speak on the phone to their international admissions department or did you get an email response from their generic enquiries team? I would persevere with this one if she’s still interested in studying there and you haven’t spoken to their international office. Is there someone listed on their website as responsible for recruiting students from Ukraine?

@UniAdmissions it was an email from the head of admissions simply saying she does not meet the entry requirements
when I emailed them back to challenge it, another member of the admissions team replied it’s because their admissions policy means they don’t accept the Ukrainian high school diploma

as a Ukrainian refugee she is legally treated the same as a British student I.e she is not classed as an international student and she is entitled to pay the same fees and the same maintenance loan as a British Student (which I explained in my email to them)

i just find it very strange. The admissions team won’t now speak to me; I had to ask if there was an appeals process (they didn’t offer this up, I had to ask ) and they said they can no longer speak to me, they can only speak to her (which I understand)

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Lollypop701 · 17/08/2022 19:35

You are a savior! If my child doesn’t quite get the grades he needs … so A A C or A B C rather that the required 3 B grades should I call to see if that’s ok or will they take clearing first who have 3 B grades?

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FAQs · 17/08/2022 19:37

@UniAdmissions any advice please 🙏 my daughter has changed her mind in her Uni choice, it’s subject to grades anyway but we visited one today nearer home (too far to commute) she, and I really liked it, she will have to go through clearing, should she decline her first choice (and insurance) or secure a place/talk to her preferred Uni first thing, I’ve even paid a deposit on her original Uni choice accommodation 🙄

Worried if she declined, missed clearing she will be left with no place anywhere!

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unlimiteddilutingjuice · 17/08/2022 19:42

I have an 10 year old with ASD. He has very passionate interests in geeky things but can struggle outside of his "special interests".

He is obsessed with history and also likes philosophy, mythology and politics. I'm certain he could study any one of these at university and be successful.

The only trouble is that he's a year or two behind in maths.

Just so I know what we need to work towards.......

Whats the lowest grade at GCSE maths that would allow someone to continue their studies at A Level and attend university one day.

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Dogsinpajamas · 17/08/2022 19:44

Thank you for doing this.
My dd mental health has got very bad and she wants to defer a year, if she got her grades. How does she go about this please?

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 19:54

@Sellie555 This is very odd! I don't understand why they would repeat that they don't accept the high school qualification when she also has degree level study unless they haven't understood that's the case. I don't know any university which wouldn't consider degree level study from Ukraine for entry to a UG course. Does she have transcripts from her university studies in Ukraine which she can send to them?

I would call and ask to speak to the international office, specifically the international officer or regional manager who is responsible for Ukraine. They should have a better understanding and be able to advise you.

Despite the fact that Ukrainian refugees are eligible for home fees we are still offering a specialised 'international' service to them as we understand that their situations are unique.

If she has applied and they are saying that they can't speak to you for data protection reasons then it should be quite simple for her to give permission for you to talk as her nominated contact. I would ask them what the process for that is with them so that they can add it to her record.

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Bellie99 · 17/08/2022 20:01

Thank you.
So many points others have raised that I hadn't even thought about. It's such a process that they have to go through. Wishing everyone well tomorrow.

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happinessischocolate · 17/08/2022 20:11

Hiya, not sure if you'll be able to help on this one but, my dd got her access course results at the beginning of august but still hasn't heard from the uni, is it likely they're waiting for the a level results and doing them all together?

She got more that enough points for the course so shouldnt be worried but.....

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 20:31

@Lollypop701 If a student doesn’t meet the BBB requirement, then the consequences of this will depend on how many other offer holders did meet the requirement. Ultimately a university is aiming to strike the sweet spot of accepting the right number of students for a course but not too many or too few.

A university has to honour any offers it makes, so it will first look at how many did get the 3 B grades (or above) and see how many places that fills. If that fills all of the places then they may reject the other candidates who got different grades, such as ABC, to avoid being oversubscribed. If they haven’t filled all of the places with the students who met the offer requirements then it makes more sense to accept the other offer holders who very nearly met the requirements than to put the course in clearing, which is less predictable in terms of numbers and could mean that it ends up undersubscribed.

So, unless the course is very popular, it’s pretty likely that a course requiring BBB would accept ABC or AAC instead. The only time this is less likely to happen is if one of the B grades had to be in a certain subject and the student got a C in that subject (but even then it's not uncommon).

TL;DR I think it’s unlikely a university would reject AAC or ABC and put a course into clearing for BBB in my experience.

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 20:36

@FAQs She should do the latter and speak to her preferred university to check she will be accepted before declining any offers. The only time it makes sense to decline offers without an alternative in place is if you know there’s absolutely no chance you would ever want to accept those offers, even if you couldn’t find an alternative.

It would be worth checking whether the accommodation deposit is refundable. We don’t keep them in cases where students decline their offer at this stage.

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 20:39

@unlimiteddilutingjuice We require a minimum grade 4 in Maths GCSE for all of our degree level courses. That doesn’t have to be taken in year 11 though, it could be worked towards throughout A Level years and taken in year 13 (if the A Level centre is able/willing to support this).

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 20:41

@Dogsinpajamas She just needs to wait to be given an unconditional offer and she can then contact the admissions team of the university directly and ask for her offer to be deferred. I'm sorry to hear about her mental health, I hope a year out helps her to recover.

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SconesJamthenCream · 17/08/2022 20:49

Hi and thanks for this.



There are a lot of doom and gloom newspaper reports at the moment. Are the results levels looking much worse than last year?

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 20:50

@happinessischocolate If the access course results were sent directly to the university via UCAS (which is likely) then it’s possible that the university’s admissions team just haven’t had a chance to process these yet. It’s an extremely busy time at the moment so there are inevitable delays. You could check with the access course centre that their results do get sent to universities directly via UCAS to be on the safe side, as some results don’t pull through the UCAS system and we have to request them directly from the student (this is more usual with overseas qualifications though).

Were the access course results the only outstanding condition of the offer? If there were any other conditions on the offer then it’s possible the admissions team are waiting for the final conditions to be met before updating the offer to unconditional.

Something else to be aware of is that there is an ‘embargo’ period for a few days before A Level results day, during which time universities aren’t able to make any changes to the status of an offer in UCAS. So it may be that the admissions team didn’t have time to update the offer before the embargo period started and are now unable to do anything until that period ends tomorrow.

If nothing has changed by early next week then I would contact them to check.

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Coursha · 17/08/2022 20:50

Can I ask if you actually read personal statements or are offers usually given if someone has the grades?

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 20:52

Hi @SconesJamthenCream I don't actually know the answer to that as an overall picture yet I'm afraid. I've seen a mixture of stories in the press but I only know as much as you, sorry!

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shopsalot · 17/08/2022 20:53

Thanks so much for answering questions.

How do you decide / prioritise candidates if the course has not reached capacity - do you prioritise students with offers but a lower grade achievement first (AAB rather than conditional AAA) or would you take someone who had previously been rejected as predicted grades were lower but achieved grades were higher? I suppose this is asking if someone could upgrade their course / uni but also trying to understand the chances of getting on the course if slightly miss the grades. Could go either way with DC!

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marcopront · 17/08/2022 20:58

Do you take students who have done the IB diploma?

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 20:58

@Coursha This varies a lot by course and institution. In some cases personal statements aren’t really considered, which I know is a shame given how much work goes into them. However, in other cases they do make a real difference to the decision. This is especially true in cases where there is anything unusual about the application which a personal statement can help to explain or where the course has high standards.

When I say high standards, I don’t necessarily mean the highest grades though. For example, we select applicants to interview for our nursing courses and the interview selection process would take the personal statement into consideration. We would then do another selection process at interview. We don’t require the highest grades to enter the nursing courses but we do have high standards when it comes to motivation and personal skills/experience.

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SeeSawDaw · 17/08/2022 20:59

Is there any support you know of during clearing for those students with autism? We may be facing clearing tomorrow and it's going to cause us a few problems as my DC is not confident on the phone due to processing issues, so needs time to understand what is being offered. They'll already be extremely anxious if they don't get the university they wanted (esp as it's our closest one) so will really need that "take-up time".

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UniAdmissions · 17/08/2022 21:03

@shopsalot We prioritise offer holders who narrowly miss the grades over clearing applicants. We’d rather accept students who have nearly met the requirements and have shown commitment to our university by accepting us as their firm choice. The alternative is to enter the course into clearing, which is a gamble and could potentially risk us having to lower requirements even further to fill places. I can only speak for my university’s policy on this though! Also, it’s definitely possible to upgrade in certain circumstances because we don’t just lower the bar far enough to fill the course, we only lower it a little.

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