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    **Choosing your Firm and Insurance is an important decision and it is worth taking time over it.**

    Don't let worries such as maybe missing out on accommodation choices bounce you into making a hasty decision that you may repent at leisure, and perhaps at length on TSR .

    See also Firm and Insurance, and the uni and course specific forums.

    The questions people most often ask are covered below:

    Deadlines
    Everyone gets a letter from UCAS confirming their personal deadline, once all decisions are in. Check here for the deadlines that apply: UCAS: Replying to Your Offers. Your personal reply deadline is also shown on your Track.

    I've missed my deadline for making my choices, what shall I do?
    Ring UCAS immediately and ask for advice.

    I don't understand my offer/s!
    If you are not absolutely sure what you can count towards meeting your offer and what you can't (most common with tariff based offers, but can also be an issue if you have taken A levels over more than sitting) email the uni to request clarification. That way you have a record of what you were told, should you need it come Results Day.

    You should also check carefully that you will be able to meet any deadlines set by the uni for meeting your offer conditions. If no deadline is specified in your offer you can assume the deadline is the UCAS default of 31 August. Some unis for some courses will give you a bit longer if there is a specific reason for doing so. In that case, contact the uni to check what they will accept, and get it in writing.

    How do I decide?
    It is essential to visit. However wonderful the course, however “prestigious” the university, if you hate the place it is not the right choice for you.

    Things to consider include:

    Course content

    • are you happy with the compulsory modules?
    • how much choice do you get, and when?
    • what if it turns out that the module options that interest you are not available for your year? Are there alternatives that you would be happy with?


    Offer conditions

    How realistic is it that you will get the grades you need? Don’t assume the worst, but on the other hand it is worth revisiting your predictions in the light of module/resit results from January.

    In general, your firm should have higher conditions than your insurance. For instance, AAA not including GS is more demanding than AAA in any subject. If you have additional requirements such as STEP or AEA grades, then an offer which doesn't specify these is worth having as an insurance, even if the headline A2 grade requirements are the same. Check out the Wiki article linked above for more on this.

    A point to bear in mind is how flexible your unis might be about taking you if you miss your offer, as this varies considerably. In recent years, many 'near miss' applicants have been turned down, especially for competitive courses at highly ranked unis. Though we did notice in 2012 that this was less of a problem, it should be an important consideration when choosing your insurance, if your offers are all very high. Nevertheless, if you are completely sure that you do not want to go the uni making you a lower offer, there is no point in putting it down, as it just causes problems later by preventing you from getting quickly into Clearing.

    This will be the fifth year when the Adjustment Period will be available, when people who have exceeded their offers are given a brief opportunity to look around and see if they can "trade up". This can mean that people who have just missed offers will have to wait a little longer to find out whether their uni will take them anyway, while unis check out the Adjustment applicants. It is worth pointing out that fewer than 400 people used this route successfully in 2009 (the first year) and 2010, and only 552 in 2011. Though numbers jumped considerably to 1329 'accepts' in 2012 (see UCAS data here) this is still a relatively small number of people. The UCAS guide to Adjustment is here.

    If you think you could be eligible to be an Adjustment applicant (eg your probable firm offer is ABB but you are expecting to achieve AAA) it is still important to make your choices on the basis that you are choosing your definite firm/insurance unis. There is no certain way to predict which courses/which unis will be offering to take Adjustment applicants, and even if the one you fancy is 'available' your application may not be accepted. So, it is definitely not a good idea to assume that you will be able to change your firm if you exceed their offer.

    Other useful things to do:

    • ask around (but don’t believe everything you read on TSR!)
    • try and find the student handbook for current undergraduates – the style and structure of this can tell you quite a bit about the Department, much more than is in the standard prospectus.
    • check out the Students' Union and Residences sections of the uni website
    • ask your parents/school for their advice – yes, really! You don’t have to take it, but you might be surprised by what they say.

    You do not have to have an Insurance choice: you can’t anyway if your Firm is unconditional, or if you are an Extra applicant, but - I'll say it again - there is no point picking an Insurance if you have no intention of going there (this saves a lot of hassle later).

    Do I have to pick my Firm and Insurance at the same time?
    Yes. You can't pick a Firm and go back to choose an Insurance later.

    I'm trying to make my Firm and Insurance choices and the system won't let me.
    Are you sure all your decisions are in? If you have an application pending you don't have to make your Firm/Insurance choices yet. If you are really really sure that you don't want to wait for that last decision, cancel the choice and you should find that you can select your Firm/Insurance offers and decline any others. Whatever you do, make very sure that you are not withdrawing your whole application; if in doubt, ring UCAS before you do anything! Remember too that if you change your mind, even with the seven days, you won’t be able to retrieve a cancelled choice so that the uni can make a decision after all.

    Can I change my mind?
    When you have made your choices, UCAS will send you a letter confirming them so that you can check the details are correct, and if anything is wrong you have 7 days* to make any amendments. After that, at least in theory, your choices are final, and it is better to work on that basis.

    *This was new for 2012; previously the ‘cooling off’ period was 14 days.

    If you have second thoughts about your choices either before you get your confirmation letter from UCAS or within 7 days of the date on your letter, you can make changes. A common one is to switch over your Firm and Insurance. Some people on here seem to have been able to retrieve offers they declined, but it would be unwise to assume this is always possible (and if it is, it will only be during this 7 day 'cooling off' period). Note that if you are replying to your offers very late, such changes cannot be made after mid July.

    After the 7 day period, it is possible to switch your existing firm and insurance choices around, if both unis agree. Start by contacting UCAS and then get on to the universities, beginning with the one you want to be your firm, because if they say 'no' then there's no point in contacting the other. You can ask for this change any time up until Track closes down about a week before Results Day.

    Otherwise, after the 7 days you are committed and the only way you can get out of it is by the uni/s concerned rejecting/releasing you (see below).

    Can I decide on Results Day which uni I want to go to, if I have met both my Firm and Insurance offers?
    No: if you have met the offer conditions for your Firm, or you missed your offer but they decided to accept you anyway, you can’t decide to go to your Insurance instead. If you really don’t want to go your Firm, you either withdraw altogether, or persuade them to release you, in which case you will become eligible for Clearing, not for your Insurance place. The exception to this is if on Results Day you have missed your offer and they haven't yet decided about you (ie your offer is still showing as conditional firm), you can ask them to reject you immediately so that your insurance becomes your firm automatically.

    However, if your Firm accepts you but for a different course you don’t have to accept it and can take your Insurance place/go into Clearing instead.

    Can I carry an offer over to next year?
    No. You can only reapply next year if you have withdrawn completely from this year’s UCAS round.

    I’ve decided I would like to defer entry until 2014.
    You will need to ask the uni if they would be prepared to consider this. If they are, they will tell UCAS for you.

    I want to change course at my Firm/Insurance.
    Contact the uni for advice; it is sometimes possible to do this. If the uni agrees to make a change, they will notify UCAS accordingly.

    I've made my Firm/Insurance choices - can I still use Extra if I've changed my mind?
    Yes, provided you are eligible to make an Extra choice before 30 June - see this extract from the UCAS FAQ:
    If you accepted the offer more than 7 days ago, you can only decline the offer with permission from the relevant university. You'll need to contact us first to confirm this is what you'd like to do. You'll then need to contact the universities you have accepted offers with, ask them if you can decline the offer, and ask the university to call us to confirm they are happy for these changes to be made. We can then decline your offers with their permission. Once all offers are declined and if Extra is still available, you can apply to another choice.
    This clarification of the position is new for 2013; in previous years people's experience on this one varied according to who they spoke to at UCAS!

    I’m happy with my course choice but want to change uni.
    You will only be able to do this by negotiating your rejection/release from your Firm and/or Insurance. If you have done so by mid June, it may be possible to secure a place at another uni through Extra (see above). If you have another uni in mind, and you have decided this before the middle of June, you should check whether the uni concerned is in Extra for your course. If they are, contact them and ask whether they will consider you as an Extra applicant, and if they will you should explain that you will need to negotiate your rejection/release from your current uni/s. This is likely to take a few days, so don't wait until 28 June to pursue this option. If you are too late and/or the uni in question isn't in Extra for your preferred course anyway, in practical terms you have until the week before Results Day to persuade your current uni/s to release/reject you, so that you are ready for Clearing from Day 1. That a uni was in Clearing last year does not offer any guarantees that they will be this year, so be aware that this is a relatively high risk strategy if you have a specific uni in mind.

    If Extra is no longer open, your only option is to make sure you have negotiated your release/rejection at least a week before Results Day so that you are ready for Clearing from Day 1.

    I don’t want to go to my Firm any more: what can I do?
    If you have decided this any time up to a week before Results Day, and you are holding a conditional offer, contact the uni and ask to be rejected (NOT released). You will need to provide some explanation. However, your insurance uni will need to be consulted too, as they may be worried about having too many applicants for the places they have. Technically they can refuse to accept you as a firm applicant, though this is unusual. If you don't want your insurance to become your firm, ask them to reject you as well.

    If you end up holding neither a Firm nor an Insurance offer, you will be eligible for Clearing immediately on Results Day. If you have achieved this by 30 June you will be able to use Extra - see above.

    In the week leading up to Results Day, unis won’t talk to people as they are processing the exam results. Negotiating a release on or after Results Day can take time and is much better avoided. Remember that you are released into Clearing, not to your Insurance. Your insurance choice will only be able to take you as a Clearing applicant, and since they will have known for a couple of days at least that you met your firm offer, the place they were holding for you is very likely to have gone to someone else.

    However, if you have decided that you don’t want to go to university at all this year, then withdraw your application altogether, by contacting UCAS.

    I'm happy with my Firm but I don't want to go to my Insurance any more: what do I do?
    If you have decided that whatever happens about your Firm you definitely don't want to go to your Insurance, and would rather go in to Clearing instead, you can ask to be rejected (if the offer is conditional)/released (if the offer is unconditional) before Results Day. You will need to contact the uni concerned direct to request this. If you decide on Results Day that you don't want to go to your insurance having missed your firm you will have to negotiate your release, as above.

    I am waiting to see what grades I get before deciding whether to reapply for 2014.
    Even if you meet the grades for your Firm and/or Insurance offer, you can decide on Results Day that you don’t want to go to university at all this year. In that case, it is courteous to let the uni concerned know that you won’t be taking up your place, and to do this quickly so that they can offer it to someone else. You will also need to let the Student Finance people know in that case, otherwise things could get complicated and cause you problems later.

    If I decide not to take up my confirmed place, will I have to pay tuition fees?
    Not unless you have actually enrolled on the course, and even then you get a few weeks' grace. However, if you have signed an accommodation agreement you could find that you are committed to pay anything up to a year's rent, so check before you sign anything that you are sure about your choice.

    I made my choices on UCAS Track ages ago but I haven't heard anything from my Firm yet
    This is completely normal. Some universities write to you with all sorts of things once they know you have picked them as your firm, others don't send you anything for months. As long as your Track/confirmation letter from UCAS is correct, you have nothing to worry about.

    I'm really worried I won't make my grades; how likely is it that my Firm will let me in anyway?
    No-one can say for sure, since even universities/courses that were lenient in previous years may not be this year, for all sorts of reasons. However, it is fair to say that in 2012 there did seem to be quite a bit more flexibility for 'near miss' applicants than we had seen in previous years.

    When do I apply for Student Finance?
    Check out the Getting Started page at Direct Gov.

    Useful links
    Changing your Mind
    UCAS Track on results day
    UCAS - Adjustment
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    :adore:

    One thing that's popped up a bit recently has been around accommodation.

    It is YOUR responsibility to find out how and apply for accommodation at both your Firm and Insurance choices.

    Every year people just don't bother applying for accommodation at their insurance choice so they miss the deadlines and end up either with halls they would prefer not to live in or having to arrange private accommodation at the last minute.

    Make sure you've applied to both - and if you're torn between two choices for your insurance then look at what guarantee they offer for insurance students. Some unis guarantee a room for insurance students, others guarantee a bed but it might be in a shared room for a few weeks, other unis offer no guarantees at all.

    It is disappointing enough for some people on results day to find that they missed their firm offer - to have the relief of getting into your insurance uni pissed all over by not having anywhere to live is just crappy and worth avoiding if you can.
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    (Original post by PQ)
    :adore:

    One thing that's popped up a bit recently has been around accommodation.

    It is YOUR responsibility to find out how and apply for accommodation at both your Firm and Insurance choices.

    Every year people just don't bother applying for accommodation at their insurance choice so they miss the deadlines and end up either with halls they would prefer not to live in or having to arrange private accommodation at the last minute.

    Make sure you've applied to both - and if you're torn between two choices for your insurance then look at what guarantee they offer for insurance students. Some unis guarantee a room for insurance students, others guarantee a bed but it might be in a shared room for a few weeks, other unis offer no guarantees at all.

    It is disappointing enough for some people on results day to find that they missed their firm offer - to have the relief of getting into your insurance uni pissed all over by not having anywhere to live is just crappy and worth avoiding if you can.
    Thank you for this - not allowed to rep you :mad:
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    Hi

    I have a conditional firm and an unconditional insurance. I have already gotten my results. So my question is, after I mail in my results to my conditional choice and it turns into an unconditional firm, do I have to communicate directly with my insurance choice about my withdrawal or will the information be communicated through UCAS?
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    (Original post by AldehydeKetone)
    I have a conditional firm and an unconditional insurance. I have already gotten my results. So my question is, after I mail in my results to my conditional choice and it turns into an unconditional firm, do I have to communicate directly with my insurance choice about my withdrawal or will the information be communicated through UCAS (and I don't have to do anything else)?
    Once your firm goes unconditional your insurance will be able to see. You don't need to notify them separately
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    (Original post by PQ)
    Once your firm goes unconditional your insurance will be able to see. You don't need to notify them separately
    Thanks for clarifying!
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    If on results day one gets grades very close to those required by the firm choice, and one then decides to try again through UCAS the following year, is it fairly easy to be released from the insurance choice? (surely they wouldn't want to force a student who didn't want to go there after all!)
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    (Original post by i'm the daddy!)
    If on results day one gets grades very close to those required by the firm choice, and one then decides to try again through UCAS the following year, is it fairly easy to be released from the insurance choice? (surely they wouldn't want to force a student who didn't want to go there after all!)
    Yes, you just tell them and UCAS you don't want the place. The fun bit is if you are trying to get released in order go through Clearing.
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    i have offers from Aston and Birmingham both of them want AAB. i recently received an email from Aston saying that they offer fleixiblity on students who get ABB and put aston as their first choice. however i am wondering does anyone know if Birmingham do this aswell as i am most likely to get ABB as opposed to AAB. i really want to go to Birmingham but if i put them first and get ABB i wont get accepted in there or aston, as they will be my insurance, thanks
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    I haven't received an answer from one of my choices. Does this mean I have until 9 June to choose my firm and insurance?
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    (Original post by DomJay24)
    i have offers from Aston and Birmingham both of them want AAB. i recently received an email from Aston saying that they offer fleixiblity on students who get ABB and put aston as their first choice. however i am wondering does anyone know if Birmingham do this aswell as i am most likely to get ABB as opposed to AAB. i really want to go to Birmingham but if i put them first and get ABB i wont get accepted in there or aston, as they will be my insurance, thanks
    Depending on the course, there's a good chance that Birmingham will be flexible too. If Birmingham is what you really want, put that down as your firm anyway. You might surprise yourself and meet the offer. Even if you don't, with ABB your chances that Birmingham and Aston will both be flexible are reasonably good. Even if they weren't, how would you feel if you had turned down Birmingham and then found out in August that you would have met their offer?

    (Original post by Flax)
    I haven't received an answer from one of my choices. Does this mean I have until 9 June to choose my firm and insurance?
    Your actual deadline will depend on when you hear from this last choice - it will show up on Track. Your deadline won't be earlier than 9 June, though
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    Hi! My situation doesn't seem to fit with the things written above. I'm actually holding an unconditional offer from LSE, and thinking of firming it by 8th May. My question is: leaving aside the 7-days cooling off period to change my mind, am I fully committed to it? If for example I changed my mind at the end of May, would I be able to decline/cancel my firm? Thanks!
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    (Original post by Theobserver93)
    Hi! My situation doesn't seem to fit with the things written above. I'm actually holding an unconditional offer from LSE, and thinking of firming it by 8th May. My question is: leaving aside the 7-days cooling off period to change my mind, am I fully committed to it? If for example I changed my mind at the end of May, would I be able to decline/cancel my firm? Thanks!
    Ifyour offer is unconditional you would have to negotiate a release, which you can do at any time. Whether that then leaves you free to enter Extra is a question you'd have to check out with UCAS, because having an unconditional offer means you have a confirmed place, but you would be eligible for Clearing when it opens in July. If you simply decide that you don't want to go to uni at all this year, you can withdraw your application at any time, even after Results Day, although I certainly wouldn't advise leaving it that late, if only to be fair to other applicants who will want that place if you don't.
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    After more than 2 weeks of contacting Kingston Uni, they finally emailed me that they would consider me changing my course yesterday and I don't know how long it will take for them to update my UCAS page. What would happen if I am going to miss the deadline? Will I still be able to accept their offer? I tried calling them today but no one's answering. It's Sunday tomorrow and bank holiday on Monday so I don't think they would be able to process it clearly.

    One last thing, the deadline is May 8th. Does it mean that I can still reply on my offers on the same day?
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    (Original post by gerraldd)
    After more than 2 weeks of contacting Kingston Uni, they finally emailed me that they would consider me changing my course yesterday and I don't know how long it will take for them to update my UCAS page. What would happen if I am going to miss the deadline? Will I still be able to accept their offer? I tried calling them today but no one's answering. It's Sunday tomorrow and bank holiday on Monday so I don't think they would be able to process it clearly.

    One last thing, the deadline is May 8th. Does it mean that I can still reply on my offers on the same day?
    Yes you can reply on May 8th. If you don't accept before the deadline, UCAS will decline all your offers for you. This happened to a friend last year (not a course change, just forgot when to reply) and he had to call UCAS to give him his offers back.
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    (Original post by gerraldd)
    After more than 2 weeks of contacting Kingston Uni, they finally emailed me that they would consider me changing my course yesterday and I don't know how long it will take for them to update my UCAS page. What would happen if I am going to miss the deadline? Will I still be able to accept their offer? I tried calling them today but no one's answering. It's Sunday tomorrow and bank holiday on Monday so I don't think they would be able to process it clearly.

    One last thing, the deadline is May 8th. Does it mean that I can still reply on my offers on the same day?
    I would hope that they would recognise that you have a deadline to meet in making your choice of firm and insurance, so firstly; I wouldn't worry.

    To my knowledge, if you have not firmed by the point of the UCAS deadline, the offers you have no responded to are all automatically declined. If this does happen, contact the UCAS Customer Contact Centre.

    You can update your Track on the 8th, I'm not too sure about what time of the day they cut it off, though.

    For now though, just relax. They should make sure your UCAS is updated in

    Hope this helps!
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    (Original post by Rainbowscarf)
    Yes you can reply on May 8th. If you don't accept before the deadline, UCAS will decline all your offers for you. This happened to a friend last year (not a course change, just forgot when to reply) and he had to call UCAS to give him his offers back.
    Did he got his offers back?

    (Original post by chapmouse)
    I would hope that they would recognise that you have a deadline to meet in making your choice of firm and insurance, so firstly; I wouldn't worry.

    To my knowledge, if you have not firmed by the point of the UCAS deadline, the offers you have no responded to are all automatically declined. If this does happen, contact the UCAS Customer Contact Centre.

    You can update your Track on the 8th, I'm not too sure about what time of the day they cut it off, though.

    For now though, just relax. They should make sure your UCAS is updated in

    Hope this helps!

    Thank you!!
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    (Original post by gerraldd)
    Did he got his offers back?




    Thank you!!
    Yeah he got all his offers back.
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    You can reply up until 6pm on Wednesday. Ring them as soon as you can on Tuesday!

    If they do change your course, then UCAS will probably extend your deadline to the June one - that's what happened to me last year when I changed my offers to deferred.
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    (Original post by em_cart)
    You can reply up until 6pm on Wednesday. Ring them as soon as you can on Tuesday!

    If they do change your course, then UCAS will probably extend your deadline to the June one - that's what happened to me last year when I changed my offers to deferred.
    That's good news then. I need to stop worrying
 
 
 
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