Mark Newman, UCAS Adviser, explains what you need to consider if you’re thinking about accepting one of these offers.
|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.
- When you apply for work placements and jobs, you will be asked about your qualifications. Often there are requirements from pre-university qualifications. Employers may look at all your qualifications, and may even use A levels or other qualifications as well as degrees to shortlist potential candidates so they do still matter.
- 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 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.
If you're unsure of the offer shown in Track, please contact the university or college who will be able to explain why they've made the offer they have.