Monday, 2 February 2015

Accepting an unconditional offer

You might have heard stories about unconditional offers, and how a friend-of-a-friend’s next-door neighbour’s cousin received one before they got their exam results. In the past this would probably have been an urban myth or at most, not the whole story. However, some universities are now making unconditional offers to exceptional applicants who don’t have their results yet.

Mark Newman, UCAS Adviser, explains what you need to consider if you’re thinking about accepting one of these offers, which remain relatively rare.

Mark Newman, UCAS Adviser
Having an unconditional offer from your favourite university at an early stage of your application can be very reassuring. It means that if you select them as your firm choice, you will definitely be accepted on to the course, regardless of what grades you get in the summer.

But there can be a bit of confusion about accepting unconditional offers, so before you select one as your firm choice, make sure you know the facts.

If you accept an unconditional offer as your firm choice:

1. your exam results won’t affect whether or not you get accepted but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Here’s why:
  • When you apply for work placements and jobs, you will be asked about your qualifications. Often there are requirements from pre-university qualifications.
  • When you start at uni you’ll be straight into assignments, coursework and for many courses, exams. The qualifications you’re studying for at the moment are essential preparation for this and are the foundations of your future studies.
  • Your new course mates at uni are likely to have completed relevant qualifications before they’ve started the course, so you’d have to play catch-up from the moment you arrive if you chose not to finish your A levels or equivalent. That’s not easy when you already have so many new things to learn. 
  • Sometimes things don’t go to plan. If you arrive at your chosen uni and decide it’s not right for you, you may choose to reapply for other unis or look for jobs instead. Leaving gaps where your education is concerned could have a negative impact.
      
2. you cannot have an insurance choice. Because ‘unconditional’ means you’ll definitely get a place on the course, you don’t need the option of another choice. If instead you accept a conditional offer as your firm choice then it’s OK to accept an unconditional offer as your insurance choice. That said, a university may stipulate that their offer is only unconditional if you make them your firm choice, so be sure to check any terms attached to their offer before you reply.

3. you can’t just go into Clearing to accept a different university if you decide on results day that you no longer want the place. By accepting the offer you’re entering into a commitment with the university, so it’s really important to make sure you pick your favourite choice to be your firm choice. If your insurance choice is unconditional, you also need to be prepared to be accepted by that university if you are unsuccessful with your conditional firm choice.

If you need help deciding which offer to accept as your firm choice, speak to your tutors and careers advisers. Family and friends can also offer alternative perspectives you might not have considered, and reading blogs from current students already at your university choices can provide a valuable insight into what it’s like to be part of their student community.      

21 comments:

Richard Kamm said...

With reference to the point that "some universities are now making unconditional offers to exceptional applicants who don’t have their results yet."

If an applicant makes a firm choice and an insurance choice among two conditional offers, knowing that their firm choice will immediately become unconditional, what happens to the insurance choice? Is it deleted or would the insurance choice remain on the system?

UCAS said...

Hi Richard Kamm. If you meet the conditions of your firm choice and the offer is made unconditional, your insurance option will no longer be a valid choice. If you then decide to go to your insurance choice you would need to see if the offer is available through clearing. You would then need to ask the university you are holding an offer with to put you into the clearing process.

Chloe Waul said...

If you accept an unconditional offer as your insurance choice but then receive better results than you were expecting are you still able to apply for adjustment?
For example if I receive an offer from Oxford Brooke's university I would like to accept that as my firm choice and my unconditional offer from University of Salford as my insurance choice. But if I do better than expected and I get AAB on results day which meets the conditions of my offer from Cardiff University, am I able to apply for Cardiff through adjustment or would I have to go to the university that offered me an unconditional place.

UCAS said...

Hi Chloe Waul. You can only use adjustment if you meet or exceed the conditions of your firm choice University - More information on the Adjustment process can be found here: http://ow.ly/lGQ8z

Smithers said...

Are you able to have an unconditional offer as an insurance choice?

UCAS said...

Hi Smithers. If you accept a conditional firm offer then you will be able to have an unconditional offer as your insurance. If you do not meet the conditions of your firm choice then you will have a guaranteed insurance offer.

JD said...

Hi I have received an conditional offer and the uni have told me if I make them my firm choice they will change this to an unconditional offer. How does this work?

Rebecca Frost said...

can the university withdraw the unconditonal offer depending on your dbs check?

Tigg said...

If I accept an unconditional offer can I then defer for a year?

And, if my results are stronger than I expect can I pull out of the 'contract' between myself and the Uni and apply through UCAS for the following year - so taking a year out?

Tiggy

alix said...

Hi, what if I fail the exams while having an unconditional offer? Am I still considered as a member of the University?

UCAS said...

Hi alix. If your are offered an unconditional place this means you have not got any conditions to meet, you have an official place. Conditional offers are given to applicants that are waiting for results and you need to meet the grade offered to get the unconditional place.

Aliyyaa Spring said...

Hi My son received an unconditional offer at his first interview. He's dyslexic and unfortunately failed his English. However, he has gained merits and distinctions in everything else. Will this offer still stand without English?

UCAS said...

Hi Aliyyaa. If the offer has been made unconditional then this means he is officially placed at the university - If you are at all concerned please call the university for further guidance. Contact details for the universities and colleges can be found here: http://ow.ly/lGJRI

Beth said...

Hi, I have received and accepted an unconditional offer to study at Leeds Beckett university. Would I be able to defer for a year and still go to the same university next year or will my uncondional offer not stand?

UCAS said...

Hi Beth. You need to discuss deferring you place with the institution, if they can hold your offer to the 2017 cycle they can amend this on Track or you. Contact details for the universities and colleges can be found here: http://ow.ly/lGJRI

Xin Huang said...

Hi, I've got an unconditional offer as my insurance choice and it was conditional offer in December but it then changed to unconditional offer in July. I've completed BTEC Extended Diploma in L3 and my grades are exceed the entry requirements, But one of my GCSE grades is lower than their requirements, and another one met. Would my insurance choice still offer me a place after they received all my GCSEs results? And if I don't get accepted by my firm choice, can I still get a place from my insurance choice ?

Thanks.

UCAS said...

Hi Xin Huang. If your insurance offer is unconditional then you will be placed at this university if you are not offered a place with your firm choice.

UCAS said...

Hi Xin Huang. It is best to discuss this with the uni for further clarification - they can advise you further on the criteria. Contact details for the universities and colleges can be found on our search tool: http://ow.ly/lGJRI

JL Techknow said...

So, I applied for a Visual Effects course which I was given a conditional offer for which then turned into an Unconditional offer weeks later after them receiving my BTEC grades which was great, although I do not have GCSE Maths and I have resat the Exam and received a grade 'D' and I have received all the acceptance letters and what not 'Unconditional (Firmly Accepted) So does this mean I'm in no matter what? Thank you in advance.

UCAS said...

Hi JL Techknow. This means you have been placed at your university so congratulations on your place.

SURAJ raghav said...

I have received an unconditional offer from Oxford Brookes but they are my insurance choice , and i need to pass in my current exam which ive taken up to meet requirements of my firm choice which is conditional. If i fail to clear a subject in my current study can i still join Oxford Brookes where i hold a unconditional offer ?

Thankyou