Is it worth applying to a uni with higher entry requirements than your predictions? Watch

Jackudy3
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Hi,

I'm currently predicted A*AB in Computer Science, History and Maths respectively. I want to study CS at uni.

Two out of my five application choices have slightly higher entry requirements than I'm predicted at A*AA.

I have a very strong personal statement, a supporting B grade from AS Physics last year, and the equivalent of 7A*'s and 3A's at GCSE.

Should I even bother applying? Both universities stress the importance of an A grade in Maths (which I believe I am capable of, but am not predicted).
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Jackudy3)
Hi,

I'm currently predicted A*AB in Computer Science, History and Maths respectively. I want to study CS at uni.

Two out of my five application choices have slightly higher entry requirements than I'm predicted at A*AA.

I have a very strong personal statement, a supporting B grade from AS Physics last year, and the equivalent of 7A*'s and 3A's at GCSE.

Should I even bother applying? Both universities stress the importance of an A grade in Maths (which I believe I am capable of, but am not predicted).
Are your other three choices much lower entry requirements?
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Acsel
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Yes. Because you can get conditional offers. Because you may actually achieve the required grade. Because not meeting entry requirements does not immediately disqualify you, especially if you have a strong background, strong PS, strong GCSEs, etc.

If you want to play it safe, apply to a uni that you want to go to but you have an almost guaranteed chance of getting into. But by all means, aim high with your choices. 2 out of 5 choices being higher is perfectly fine and you've got a good chance based on your predicted grades and existing GCSEs.
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DarthRoar
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I would assume at least some of the A*AA universities will require the A* in maths? Either way, A*AA tier universities generally won't give offers to those with lower grade predictions as they can't even give offers to all those who would meet those conditions! You'd have a greater chance if you were predicted BBB and wanted an ABB course.
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Saad1679
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I'm in the same boat as you. I'm predicted A* A B in chemistry biology and maths respectively. For chemical engineering Bath and Leeds require A*AA and again they stress the importance of an A in maths. Some people in a similar situation are applying regardless. I think whether you get an interview will be based on the competition and whether they're confident you can get an A in maths like you say.Your gcses seem strong so I think it's worth using 1 of your 5 choices to apply for the A*AA course. Obviously don't apply to 5 courses that have higher requirements than you're predicted.
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by claireestelle)
Are your other three choices much lower entry requirements?
Not much lower, but I'm going with a solid AAB/ABB third choice and probably a couple of lower ones coming in at BBB or possibly even less.
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by Acsel)
Yes. Because you can get conditional offers. Because you may actually achieve the required grade. Because not meeting entry requirements does not immediately disqualify you, especially if you have a strong background, strong PS, strong GCSEs, etc.

If you want to play it safe, apply to a uni that you want to go to but you have an almost guaranteed chance of getting into. But by all means, aim high with your choices. 2 out of 5 choices being higher is perfectly fine and you've got a good chance based on your predicted grades and existing GCSEs.
My third choice will be one that I want to go to and have quite a strong chance of getting into. My other two choices will also be acceptable, but not ideal.
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by DarthRoar)
I would assume at least some of the A*AA universities will require the A* in maths? Either way, A*AA tier universities generally won't give offers to those with lower grade predictions as they can't even give offers to all those who would meet those conditions! You'd have a greater chance if you were predicted BBB and wanted an ABB course.
They require a minimum of an A grade in Maths for Computer Science courses.

I know that it's hard to get an offer with lower predicted grades than the requirement, but I'm wondering how worthwhile it would be to try given my circumstances.
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by Saad1679)
I'm in the same boat as you. I'm predicted A* A B in chemistry biology and maths respectively. For chemical engineering Bath and Leeds require A*AA and again they stress the importance of an A in maths. Some people in a similar situation are applying regardless. I think whether you get an interview will be based on the competition and whether they're confident you can get an A in maths like you say.Your gcses seem strong so I think it's worth using 1 of your 5 choices to apply for the A*AA course. Obviously don't apply to 5 courses that have higher requirements than you're predicted.
Not seen anyone in a similar situation before! I'm not planning to go for 5 higher courses, but I don't know if applying for even 1 course with higher entry requirements than predicted would just be a choice wasted, as you're in with such a small chance of getting an offer as to make it pointless.
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Saad1679
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(Original post by Jackudy3)
Not seen anyone in a similar situation before! I'm not planning to go for 5 higher courses, but I don't know if applying for even 1 course with higher entry requirements than predicted would just be a choice wasted, as you're in with such a small chance of getting an offer as to make it pointless.
I think you should check the ucas offer rate calculator. You type in the subjects your doing, your predicted grades and the course you want to do at which uni. They compare your info against a database off previous applicants and whether they recieved offers. Just search ucas offer rate calculator.
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by Saad1679)
I think you should check the ucas offer rate calculator. You type in the subjects your doing, your predicted grades and the course you want to do at which uni. They compare your info against a database off previous applicants and whether they recieved offers. Just search ucas offer rate calculator.
Thank you, I didn't know about this tool.

One of the unis has insufficient data to provide me with a likelihood of receiving an offer, but my A*AB predicted grades get me a 69% chance of receiving an offer at the other A*AA requiring uni. I'd like to think that my passion for the subject (translating into a strong personal statement) and past exam performance will push me into that around 70% of people, as opposed to the 30% missing out.

Based on this, should I apply?
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DarthRoar
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(Original post by Jackudy3)
Based on this, should I apply?
Yeah seems worthwhile to apply to 1-2 unis over your prediction. You may get an offer but it is very uncertain.
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Acsel
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(Original post by Jackudy3)
My third choice will be one that I want to go to and have quite a strong chance of getting into. My other two choices will also be acceptable, but not ideal.
Seems perfectly reasonable to apply to a few unis a little above your prediction then if you've got some likely choices already. There's every chance you exceed your predictions or get an offer for some other reason. You're not really at any risk as long as you've got a good chance getting in elsewhere if you don't happen to get an offer.
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by Acsel)
Seems perfectly reasonable to apply to a few unis a little above your prediction then if you've got some likely choices already. There's every chance you exceed your predictions or get an offer for some other reason. You're not really at any risk as long as you've got a good chance getting in elsewhere if you don't happen to get an offer.
Cheers. I'll be probably apply to one or two with marginally higher entry requirements then, especially since the offer statistics have significantly reassured me. 70% offer rate despite a predicted falling a grade short is astonishing, I figured it'd be more like 5%, especially for the top RG universities I'm considering.

I'll take my chances. If I do end up getting into one of the two in the end (as in a confirmed place, not conditional), I'll be sure to return to this thread and let you all know.
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Acsel
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(Original post by Jackudy3)
Cheers. I'll be probably apply to one or two with marginally higher entry requirements then, especially since the offer statistics have significantly reassured me. 70% offer rate despite a predicted falling a grade short is astonishing, I figured it'd be more like 5%, especially for the top RG universities I'm considering.

I'll take my chances. If I do end up getting into one of the two in the end (as in a confirmed place, not conditional), I'll be sure to return to this thread and let you all know.
Look forward to hearing what happens. Assuming you haven't put applications in yet, you've still got time to improve your chances further as is. 70% is indeed a high number so it sounds like your chances are good as is
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thaliaevelyn
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I was predicted BCC.
When applying to unis I focused on the course and lecturers and basically ignored the entry requirements lol. The unis I applied to wanted:
CCC
BBC
BBB
ABB
A*AA
I got 3 unconditionals from the first 3 unis, and I had an interview for the last 2 and from that got 2 conditionals, one for BBB and one for ABB. On results day I got BBB. I am currently in my second week at the fifth uni. I say go for it, what's the worst that could happen?
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by Acsel)
Look forward to hearing what happens. Assuming you haven't put applications in yet, you've still got time to improve your chances further as is. 70% is indeed a high number so it sounds like your chances are good as is
I can't improve the strength of my application anywhere besides the Maths predicted. I haven't yet tried to contest it, but will be doing very soon, probably tomorrow.

I put minimal effort in last year and now have ways to demonstrate an increase in effort and justify my Maths predicted being raised including:
  • Hiring a private A-level tutor for 1h30m every week
  • Make the point that I did virtually no work last year, lots of negative reports for missing homework etc, and am now doing all the work and more.
  • Point out that historically I have always done ~2 grades better in every subject in the real exam than in the mock, and my sixth form will have the data to prove this. This is because I am a massive procrastinator and my work rate always skyrockets just before the real exam, lifting my grade massively.
  • Mention that in the first test back, my score was on par with students predicted A grades.
  • Refer to my past exam performance and how it shows my capability.

Would this be sufficient to convince them?
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Acsel
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(Original post by Jackudy3)
I can't improve the strength of my application anywhere besides the Maths predicted. I haven't yet tried to contest it, but will be doing very soon, probably tomorrow.

I put minimal effort in last year and now have ways to demonstrate an increase in effort and justify my Maths predicted being raised including:
  • Hiring a private A-level tutor for 1h30m every week
  • Make the point that I did virtually no work last year, lots of negative reports for missing homework etc, and am now doing all the work and more.
  • Point out that historically I have always done ~2 grades better in every subject in the real exam than in the mock, and my sixth form will have the data to prove this. This is because I am a massive procrastinator and my work rate always skyrockets just before the real exam, lifting my grade massively.
  • Mention that in the first test back, my score was on par with students predicted A grades.
  • Refer to my past exam performance and how it shows my capability.

Would this be sufficient to convince them?
Your application is not only about your grades. There are plenty of non-academic things you can do to make up for a poor grade. An AAA student with enthusiasm and experience may be a more appealing candidate than an A*A*A* student with zero experience. Unis don't just want the students getting the best grades.

I don't think you really need to convince them for the Maths. Your GCSEs are a good example of strong grades. The B prediction is still good and being predicted an A* in CS (the subject you are actually applying for) suggests you'll be a strong student and not really have any trouble. Assuming you intend to write this in a personal statement, you'd be wasting words. Universities can already see your grade history and don't really need you to reiterate it for them.

Telling them that you did no work is a bad idea, it suggests you'll be the same at uni. It could even be interpreted as a weird form of bragging (I do no work and still get good grades, look at me). Telling them that you didn't put the work in is not a good idea. The only way I'd include this is to phrase it very carefully, something along the lines of realising you didn't put the work in last year and have changed that now. The point about hiring a tutor is the only one that has merit IMO, as it suggests you realised there was a problem and you're doing something about it. Making it clear that you realise you didn't put the work in but you're actively doing something about it is about as far as I'd go with trying to convince them.

Whether it'll work is something I have no idea on though. Without knowing the entirety of your application and the applications of the people you're going up against, it's impossible to say if you'd get an offer. But I don't think you should be placing so much emphasis on trying to convince them. At the end of the day, you messed up and it'd be far better to own up to it and explain how you're fixing it. Showing that you have a plan here and now is much more convincing than relying on previous grades and blaming your procrastination habits. So if you wanted to mention it, take a sentence or two in your PS to explain that you realise what you did wrong (didn't put the effort in) and that you're working hard (and have a tutor) to help make it right. That's really as far as you need to go.

Keep in mind that you want your application to stand out for good reasons. At the moment, a low entry grade makes it stand out for bad reasons. The only thing you can do is take advantage of that and turn it into a strength (in this case owning the mistake and explaining how you're fixing it). Beyond that, you need to focus on things that make your application stand out in a good way, which you may find offset a low grade. Academically there isn't much you can do beyond requesting your predicted grade is raised. There's very little you can do academically at this point, so start thinking of things that aren't academic which could make your application stronger. You have 3 months until the January deadline, think about what you can do in this time to develop yourself and you application. I'm being purposefully a bit vague here, because there's no right answer and it's good for you to come up with ideas on your own.
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Jackudy3
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(Original post by Acsel)
Your application is not only about your grades. There are plenty of non-academic things you can do to make up for a poor grade. An AAA student with enthusiasm and experience may be a more appealing candidate than an A*A*A* student with zero experience. Unis don't just want the students getting the best grades.

I don't think you really need to convince them for the Maths. Your GCSEs are a good example of strong grades. The B prediction is still good and being predicted an A* in CS (the subject you are actually applying for) suggests you'll be a strong student and not really have any trouble. Assuming you intend to write this in a personal statement, you'd be wasting words. Universities can already see your grade history and don't really need you to reiterate it for them.

Telling them that you did no work is a bad idea, it suggests you'll be the same at uni. It could even be interpreted as a weird form of bragging (I do no work and still get good grades, look at me). Telling them that you didn't put the work in is not a good idea. The only way I'd include this is to phrase it very carefully, something along the lines of realising you didn't put the work in last year and have changed that now. The point about hiring a tutor is the only one that has merit IMO, as it suggests you realised there was a problem and you're doing something about it. Making it clear that you realise you didn't put the work in but you're actively doing something about it is about as far as I'd go with trying to convince them.

Whether it'll work is something I have no idea on though. Without knowing the entirety of your application and the applications of the people you're going up against, it's impossible to say if you'd get an offer. But I don't think you should be placing so much emphasis on trying to convince them. At the end of the day, you messed up and it'd be far better to own up to it and explain how you're fixing it. Showing that you have a plan here and now is much more convincing than relying on previous grades and blaming your procrastination habits. So if you wanted to mention it, take a sentence or two in your PS to explain that you realise what you did wrong (didn't put the effort in) and that you're working hard (and have a tutor) to help make it right. That's really as far as you need to go.

Keep in mind that you want your application to stand out for good reasons. At the moment, a low entry grade makes it stand out for bad reasons. The only thing you can do is take advantage of that and turn it into a strength (in this case owning the mistake and explaining how you're fixing it). Beyond that, you need to focus on things that make your application stand out in a good way, which you may find offset a low grade. Academically there isn't much you can do beyond requesting your predicted grade is raised. There's very little you can do academically at this point, so start thinking of things that aren't academic which could make your application stronger. You have 3 months until the January deadline, think about what you can do in this time to develop yourself and you application. I'm being purposefully a bit vague here, because there's no right answer and it's good for you to come up with ideas on your own.
Thanks a lot for your response.

When I referred to convincing them, I meant convincing my sixth form to raise my predicted, not convince the uni by putting it in my personal statement (which is already finalised, and I know for a fact it is good, plenty of supercurricular stuff and things that illustrate my passion for the subject, has been very well received by the experienced RG application guy at my school). I can’t post it here for obvious reasons, but just take my word for it when I say it’s good.

At this stage, the only way I can improve the strength of my application is by attempting to get the Maths grade raised.

With the reasons I bullet pointed above, do you think I’d have a good chance of my sixth form raising it if I got this across to them? Sorry for not making it clear who I was referring to in my previous post.
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Acsel
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(Original post by Jackudy3)
Thanks a lot for your response.

When I referred to convincing them, I meant convincing my sixth form to raise my predicted, not convince the uni by putting it in my personal statement (which is already finalised, and I know for a fact it is good, plenty of supercurricular stuff and things that illustrate my passion for the subject, has been very well received by the experienced RG application guy at my school). I can’t post it here for obvious reasons, but just take my word for it when I say it’s good.

At this stage, the only way I can improve the strength of my application is by attempting to get the Maths grade raised.

With the reasons I bullet pointed above, do you think I’d have a good chance of my sixth form raising it if I got this across to them? Sorry for not making it clear who I was referring to in my previous post.
That's still up in the air, since I have no idea how your six form would take it. The only thing you can do is talk to them and see. But if your personal statement is as good as you say it is, then you've already got things that that more than make up for the "slightly lower than required grade" in Maths. An extensive github repo, a detailed project or anything else you'd expect in an exceptional personal statement are far more indicative than being predicted a B instead of an A at A Level. Getting the grade raised would be good but if you don't, a strong PS will make up for it.
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