Types of offers

Once an application has been reviewed the university will notify the applicant of their decision – this will initially be through the UCAS Hub (which updates each day) and will be followed by confirmation in writing. There are four different decision types that a student can receive.

Conditional Offer: The university is offering a place on the chosen course on the condition that certain criteria are met. This is usually linked to achieving the stipulated grades from their current studies or gaining an additional qualification, for instance, resitting a GCSE.

Unconditional Offer: This means the student has definitely been accepted on the course. Often reserved for students who have already completed their qualifications, know their final grades and are taking a gap year. Some universities make unconditional offers to students in their final year of school/college. If so, we would advise careful consideration as many have caveats attached.

Change of Course Offer: An offer of a place is made but on a similar course to the one they originally applied for. This happens when a university feels the candidate is not suitable for the degree that they applied for. This could be due to the entry requirements being academically beyond their reach, or an indication in the personal statement that suggests the subject content will not match a student’s aspirations.

Unsuccessful: Due to the sheer volume of applications received it is not always possible for a university to make offers to everyone.

Understanding university decisions

Replying to offers

Once an applicant has received decisions from all of their university choices it is time to make a decision as to which is their Firm (first choice) and which is their Insurance (second choice). This is a crucial decision and should be considered carefully. Once made, any other offers made will be retracted and cannot be reinstated.

The Firm choice should be the university they most want to study with. The Insurance should act as a back-up option should they not meet the conditions of their firm offer. Ideally, the entry requirements for the Insurance choice should be lower than those of the Firm. If this is not possible we would advise students to still select their preferred university as their Firm choice.

Next steps