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  • Understanding conditional offers

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Congratulations, you've got an offer! Go and jump round the room a few times, phone your nan, and then when you've calmed down come back here for help understanding what this means.

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How do I know what my offer is?

You've probably received an email from UCAS telling you that the status of your application has changed. Don't get too excited at this point, as you also receive the same email for rejections.

You need to log into UCAS Track and check what the conditions are. To do this, find the uni which has given you an offer and click on the course code. You'll then be able to see exactly what the uni wants from you.

My offer is given with grades

Most unis still give out conditional offers using the grades system. This means that you need to achieve those grades or higher in the exams stated in your UCAS form.

Sometimes, your offer will state that you need to get a certain grade in a particular subject. This may be because you are intending to study the same subject at university, or because it is for some reason deemed to be more relevant to your further study.

If you have not completed an AS subject at the time you send your UCAS form, then you may be asked to achieve a certain grade in this. For most people this does not apply, but some people resit their AS subject or will take up an additional one in year 13.

In this screenshot, you can see that this offer is conditional, and the applicant needs to achieve GCE A Level grades AAB. So if they get AAB - or higher - in their A Levels exams, they're in! This offer does not state which subjects the grades need to be in, or ask for any additional qualifications.

If they get ABB, or anything lower, then they have not met the terms of their offer. This would mean that the university does not have to accept them, although in some cases they will. See the Guide to Results Day for more details on this.

My offer is given with UCAS points

Some universities will give out offers using the UCAS Tariff. Again, this means that you need to achieve this or higher in the exams stated on your UCAS form.

Usually, conditional offer with points will state how many A Levels the points need to come from. If this is not the case with your offer, you can include points from anywhere. You may have additional points from things such as Key Skills or music qualifications. For the offer shown, the points need to come from a minimum of 2 A Levels, which is equivalent to BB, and one must be a science subject.

I'm an international student doing the IB

Well, obviously your offer won't ask for A Level grades. The International Baccalaureate is now included in the UCAS Tariff, so it is possible that you will receive an offer specifying how many UCAS points you need, as above. However, it is far more likely that your offer will state the score you need to obtain. You may also be asked for a number of points in certain subjects.

As IB results are released earlier than A Level results, if you meet your offer then this will be confirmed straight away. However, if you miss your offers, most universities will ask you to wait until A Level results day to see if they can offer you a place. This is because they need to see how many other students have met their offers before knowing how many additional students they can take.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to get an offer?

This is probably the most frequently asked question. However, the only answer is, "it depends". Sometimes you'll get an offer a week after you've submitted your form; other times you'll have to wait months. If you applied on or before 15 January, unis have to have replied to you by early May, and should aim to reply by the end of March. If you applied later than this but before 30 June (6 July if applying through Extra) unis have to have replied to you by 20 July.

Should I worry?

No!

As long as you completed your UCAS form as well as you could - and it was all true - then you have no reason to worry. It can be annoying when everyone else has offers and you don't, but it's also annoying when everyone else has chocolate and you don't. You wouldn't worry then, would you?

I applied close to the deadline - am I going to get no offers?

The uni has to consider all applications received before the deadline equally - read the 'Late applications guide for more details.

Why is my offer different to the standard offer?

The standard offers published by unis in their prospectuses are only intended as a guide. Unis can give out any offer that they wish. The fact that you have received an offer means that they want you, so don't get too disheartened by the conditions. They will also only give out offers that they think you can achieve.

Sometimes, unis will give out higher offers to encourage you to put them as your firm choice. Or they may give out a lower offer if they like you.

Can I include General Studies?

Some offers will state "excluding general studies" as part of the conditions. If this is the case with your offer, then no, you cannot include general studies.

If your offer does not state "excluding general studies", and you included general studies on your UCAS form, then you can use it as part of your offer.

Can offers include other conditions?

Universities can make offers conditional on pretty much anything they choose.

For certain medicine courses, or ones that will involve working with vulnerable people such as children, your offer may be conditional on clearing a CRB check or occupational health assessments.

If you're resitting a GCSE - particularly in maths, english or science - your offer can include this. As GCSE results day is a week after A Level results day, you will need to wait another week before being able to confirm whether you have met your offer.

What if I drop a subject after submitting my UCAS form?

You will need to contact UCAS. They will probably tell you that you need to notify your choices. After you have done this, the uni is able to change their offer if they wish - they can even change a previously conditional offer into a rejection.

Can I lose my offer?

In general, no. Once an offer is on UCAS Track it is official. However, if you have lied in your UCAS application or later decide to change your subjects, unis can change or remove the offer.

Do I need to achieve this grade in all my modules?

If you have received an offer that states you need certain grades, some people worry that this means you need to achieve that grade in all of your modules.

However, as long as you achieve the stated grade in your overall A Level, you will have met the terms of the offer. So you can achieve 0 on one module if you wish, it will just make it harder for you to get the right grade overall.

Some offers are conditional on your UMS grades, but this will be clearly stated in the conditions. This happens very rarely, and seems to be mainly for Oxbridge.

What about interviews and Track?

Interviews are not shown on UCAS Track, so there will be no change. If you have been invited to interview, you will either receive an email or a letter. You'll probably need to reply to confirm your attendence, so if you get an interview make sure you read things thouroughly.

-Interviews are now shown on UCAS Track as "invitation" which can then be accepted or declined. They will most likely contact you via e-mail or letter after you accept the invitation.

I've withdrawn my choice. What will Track look like?

If you change your mind after applying, you can withdraw a choice. Remember that if you do this, you cannot change your mind again later and reinstate your choice. If you are not completely sure, then it's better to wait as you can always turn down an offer if you receive one.

What about unconditional offers?

These are mostly given to students who have already achieved their grades and are applying during a gap year. Rarely, unis will give them out to students who haven't finished their A Levels or other qualifications, so if that happens to you then you should feel special.

Since your offer is unconditional, then you don't have to worry about anything. If you choose to put this offer as your firm, then you are definitely going there! Note that you cannot choose an insurance choice if your firm is unconditional; you can choose a conditional firm and an unconditional insurance though.

What happens next?

You need to wait until you have received decisions from all of your choices. Then, you will have to choose which offers you want to accept. You may wish to read more information on firm and insurance choices

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