Top 10 universities for giving out unconditional offers revealed Watch

Puddles the Monkey
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The UCAS data has been released for 2018, revealing the number of unconditional offers, or 'conditional unconditional' (e.g., unconditional if firm) offers given out by universities.

WonkHE has a nice interactive table where you can see which universities are giving out the most offers here.

The Office for Students have accused universities of 'pressure selling' , and a survery run by TSR revealed that nearly half of students applying this year want unconditional offers to be regulated.

Here are the top ten by number of offers with an unconditional component (e.g., unconditional or conditional unconditional) given (not proportion):

1) Nottingham Trent: 8,660
2) University of Lincoln: 6,150
3) Sheffield Hallam: 5,835
4) University of Birmingham: 4,765
5) York St John's: 4,645
6) Birmingham City University: 4,585
7) University of Brighton: 4,480
8) Bournemouth: 3,435
9) Northampton: 3,200
10) Leeds Beckett: 2,975

Top 10 offers with unconditional component by proportion (I haven't included the small/specialist and institutions according to WonkHE):

1) University of Suffolk: 83.8%
2) York St John: 78.8%
3) University of Bolton: 75.7%
4) University of Roehampton: 68.1%
5) Solent University: 58.8%
6) University of Gloucestershire: 56.3%
7) Bishop Grosseteste University: 56.0%
8) University of Northampton: 55.0%
9) University of Lincoln: 53.7%
10) Plymouth Marjon University: 52.4%


Why are universities giving out so many unconditional offers - is a reaction to market forces?

Have you received one? How did it make you feel?
Do you think there are too many unconditionals being given out?
Last edited by Puddles the Monkey; 1 year ago
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Notoriety
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Brum letting the RG down. I had noticed they were quite prolific, mind.

Can someone do the proportion, as some unis are much larger than others?
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
The UCAS data has been released for 2018, revealing the number of unconditional offers, or 'conditional unconditional' (e.g., unconditional if firm) offers given out by universities.

WonkHE has a nice interactive table where you can see which universities are giving out the most offers here.

The Office for Students have accused universities of 'pressure selling' , and a survery run by TSR revealed that nearly half of students applying this year want unconditional offers to be regulated.

Here are the top ten my number of offers with an unconditional component (e.g., unconditional or conditional unconditional) given (not proportion):

1) Nottingham Trent: 8,660
2) University of Lincoln: 6,150
3) Sheffield Hallam: 5,835
4) University of Birmingham: 4,765
5) York St John's: 4,645
6) Birmingham City University: 4,585
7) University of Brighton: 4,480
8) Bournemouth: 3,435
9) Northampton: 3,200
10) Leeds Beckett: 2,975

Why are universities giving out so many unconditional offers - is a reaction to market forces?

Have you received one? How did it make you feel?
Do you think there are too many unconditionals being given out?
Very interesting, thank you for sharing that. Don't know whether it will make Birmingham seem less, or more desirable to applicants...?
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J Papi
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What's a conditional unconditional? Is it an offer that's conditional on you sending your exam certificates the the university or something?
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Brum letting the RG down. I had noticed they were quite prolific, mind.

Can someone do the proportion, as some unis are much larger than others?
University of Birmingham have been giving unconditional offers for a while... I think they were one of the first to adopt this approach? They launched their scheme in 2013: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/strateg...al-offers.aspx
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Jess104
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I received an unconditional last year (didn't take it), but the grade requirements were lile BCC and I was predicted higher, and on track to achieve my predicted grades. Plus, I had an interview and the course didn't have a cap on numbers (which tells me they weren't expecting many applicants). So, unconditional makes sense. It wasn't 'only unconditional if firmed' either, just unconditional. My friend also got an unconditional last year, no interview, but predicted much higher grades than entry requirements.
Most top unis and competitive courses aren't going to give them out, so I don't see a problem? I can see how conditional unconditional offers might pressure students to firm a uni they would rather not go to, but if they chose it as an option they must still be happy to go there? And if they regret their choice after firming there is always clearing/adjustment or reapplying next year. But if they did do not as well as expected in exams I'm sure they'd be relieved to have firmed the unconditional. If they did well enough for their preferred firm, they can still check adjustment for places.
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Revengrrs
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
What's a conditional unconditional? Is it an offer that's conditional on you sending your exam certificates the the university or something?
It’s unconditional on the conditions you put it as your firm
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
What's a conditional unconditional? Is it an offer that's conditional on you sending your exam certificates the the university or something?
The offer will change to unconditional if you make them your firm choice, or sometimes firm or insurance choice.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Jess104)
I received an unconditional last year (didn't take it), but the grade requirements were lile BCC and I was predicted higher, and on track to achieve my predicted grades. Plus, I had an interview and the course didn't have a cap on numbers (which tells me they weren't expecting many applicants). So, unconditional makes sense. It wasn't 'only unconditional if firmed' either, just unconditional. My friend also got an unconditional last year, no interview, but predicted much higher grades than entry requirements.
Most top unis and competitive courses aren't going to give them out, so I don't see a problem? I can see how conditional unconditional offers might pressure students to firm a uni they would rather not go to, but if they chose it as an option they must still be happy to go there? And if they regret their choice after firming there is always clearing/adjustment or reapplying next year. But if they did do not as well as expected in exams I'm sure they'd be relieved to have firmed the unconditional. If they did well enough for their preferred firm, they can still check adjustment for places.
But some top Unis do give them out - predominantly Birmingham and Nottingham, which puts pressure on others to follow or risk losing good candidates. The unconditional offers are hugely tempting to students coming as they do at a time when they are worrying about their exams and what will happen if they fail to get into their top choice Uni. Personally, I feel that they are great for some students, but not for everyone as they can encourage people to Firm a Uni they wouldn't otherwise have Firmed, or even stop working so hard for their exams.

The main benefit is to the Unis themselves, so in that way it is a cynical move by them.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
University of Birmingham have been giving unconditional offers for a while... I think they were one of the first to adopt this approach? They launched their scheme in 2013: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/strateg...al-offers.aspx
Well, Brum doesn't look so bad as a proportion.

Highest proportions (excluding alternative unis), for Unconditional offers:

Suffolk 83.8%
York St John 78.8%
Bolton 75.7%
Roehampton 68.1%
Southampton Solent 58.8%
Gloucestershire 56.3%
Bishop GU 56%
Northampton 55%
Plymouth Marjon 52.4%
UWS 48%



Highest proportions (excluding alternative unis), for Conditional unconditional:

Roehampton 65.8%
Kingston 46.4%
Sheffield Hallam 40.8%
Brighton 40%
BCU 39.9%
NTU 39.9%
Bournemouth 39.3%
Staffordshire 39.1%
Lincoln 38.3%
Hertfordshire 30.3%
Bangor 29.2%
Oxford Brookes 28.5%
Royal Holloway 28.5%
Lancaster 26.2%
St Mary's 20.3%
Aberystwyth 19.2%
Birmingham 18.8%
Middlesex 18.7%
Derby 17.2%
Heriot-Watt 13.7%
West London 12%
Nottingham 11.2%
City 10.9%
Keele 9.9%
Kent 8.7%
Aston 7.7%
Surrey 5.1%
Sussex 3.1%
Wolverhampton 0.4%
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shooks
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Brum letting the RG down. I had noticed they were quite prolific, mind.

Can someone do the proportion, as some unis are much larger than others?
Bracketed numbers show each uni's total number of offers made:

Nottingham Trent University 8,660 (21,005)
University of Lincoln 6,150 (11,445)
Sheffield Hallam University 5,835 (14,250)
University of Birmingham 4,765 (25,265)
York St John University 4,645 (5,895)
Birmingham City University 4,585 (11,140)
University of Brighton 4,480 (11,145)
Bournemouth University 3,435 (8,705)
Northampton 3,200 (5,825)
Leeds Beckett University 2,975 (13,485)
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Well, Brum doesn't look so bad as a proportion.

Highest proportions (excluding alternative unis), for Unconditional offers:

Suffolk 83.8%
York St John 78.8%
Bolton 75.7%
Roehampton 68.1%
Southampton Solent 58.8%
Gloucestershire 56.3%
Bishop GU 56%
Northampton 55%
Plymouth Marjon 52.4%
UWS 48%



Highest proportions (excluding alternative unis), for Conditional unconditional:

Roehampton 65.8%
Kingston 46.4%
Sheffield Hallam 40.8%
Brighton 40%
BCU 39.9%
NTU 39.9%
Bournemouth 39.3%
Staffordshire 39.1%
Lincoln 38.3%
Hertfordshire 30.3%
Bangor 29.2%
Oxford Brookes 28.5%
Royal Holloway 28.5%
Lancaster 26.2%
St Mary's 20.3%
Aberystwyth 19.2%
Birmingham 18.8%
Middlesex 18.7%
Derby 17.2%
Heriot-Watt 13.7%
West London 12%
Nottingham 11.2%
City 10.9%
Keele 9.9%
Kent 8.7%
Aston 7.7%
Surrey 5.1%
Sussex 3.1%
Wolverhampton 0.4%
Really interesting - that first list has a desperate approach to recruitment :woo:
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Jess104
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(Original post by harrysbar)
But some top Unis do give them out - predominantly Birmingham and Nottingham, which puts pressure on others to follow or risk losing good candidates. The unconditional offers are hugely tempting to students coming as they do at a time when they are worrying about their exams and what will happen if they fail to get into their top choice Uni. Personally, I feel that they are great for some students, but not for everyone as they can encourage people to Firm a Uni they wouldn't otherwise have Firmed, or even stop working so hard for their exams.

The main benefit is to the Unis themselves, so in that way it is a cynical move by them.
Then why would someone regret firming a top uni? And it takes pressure off of exams so the students are working for their own satisfaction and not to fight for a place on their chosen course at their chosen uni. I doubt they would continue to give so many unconditionals out if the students taking them were achieving significantly less than previously predicted. It's like for GCSEs, you only need a B to do most subjects/related subjects at A-level at sixth form - but people still work to gets A/A* grades... I'm sure they carefully chose who they're giving unconditionals to.
Maybe some won't work *as* hard, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing; less stressed and they've already worked hard for some of a2 and all of as, I can't see their grades suddenly dropping or them wasting all of that hard work by removing all their effort?? It would be interesting to know the grades that students who firmed conditional unconditional offers and unconditional offers were predicted against what they achieved
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Jess104)
Then why would someone regret firming a top uni? And it takes pressure off of exams so the students are working for their own satisfaction and not to fight for a place on their chosen course at their chosen uni. I doubt they would continue to give so many unconditionals out if the students taking them were achieving significantly less than previously predicted. It's like for GCSEs, you only need a B to do most subjects/related subjects at A-level at sixth form - but people still work to gets A/A* grades... I'm sure they carefully chose who they're giving unconditionals to.
Maybe some won't work *as* hard, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing; less stressed and they've already worked hard for some of a2 and all of as, I can't see their grades suddenly dropping or them wasting all of that hard work by removing all their effort?? It would be interesting to know the grades that students who firmed conditional unconditional offers and unconditional offers were predicted against what they achieved
I'm not saying unconditionals are necessarily bad - my own son accepted one at Birmingham and we were all happy that he had less stress. But... I think he did work less hard afterwards, which won't apply to everyone I know, but it will apply to some students. It's hard at the age of 17/18 to understand that the difference between an A or a B at A level might turn out to be very important in later life, when applying for competitive grad schemes, etc, and that maybe the pressure of having conditional offers might actually help them to achieve their highest grades possible.

And one reason why someone might regret firming a top uni is that although they went to Nottingham (for example) they might later regret losing the chance to go somewhere even better because they played safe by accepting the unconditional offer. But I don't think the main problem with unconditional offers is with good unis like Nottingham, I think the main problem is when people accept unconditional offers at places WAY below their level, which is likely to have a negative impact on their future career prospects. The unis don't care about this at all.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Really interesting - that first list has a desperate approach to recruitment :woo:
And many in the two lists seem to have very active TSR reps.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Notoriety)
And many in the two lists seem to have very active TSR reps.
Indeed
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J Papi
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(Original post by Jess104)
Then why would someone regret firming a top uni? And it takes pressure off of exams so the students are working for their own satisfaction and not to fight for a place on their chosen course at their chosen uni. I doubt they would continue to give so many unconditionals out if the students taking them were achieving significantly less than previously predicted. It's like for GCSEs, you only need a B to do most subjects/related subjects at A-level at sixth form - but people still work to gets A/A* grades... I'm sure they carefully chose who they're giving unconditionals to.
Maybe some won't work *as* hard, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing; less stressed and they've already worked hard for some of a2 and all of as, I can't see their grades suddenly dropping or them wasting all of that hard work by removing all their effort?? It would be interesting to know the grades that students who firmed conditional unconditional offers and unconditional offers were predicted against what they achieved
No one is claiming that students with unconditionals lose all motivation. You're just removing one of the key motivations (the fear of not meeting their conditional offer and place), and expecting the student to... well, drive themselves to their ideal grades. While a diligent and attentive A* student might motivate themselves without any external pressure, are the mediocrities that end up having to firm the sort of university listed above really capable of being trusted for their own education without a bit of 'push'? My instinct (and this is a reasoned guess, which is partly supported by evidence) is that a B or C student who has done nothing but coast all their life may need extra motivation.

The 'top' unis (Brum isn't one of them) don't use unconditionals. Harrysbar is right. No matter how highly-ranked or well-reputed the university that offers the unconditional is, it will always incentivise you to go to a choice that is either second-best or simply not right for you for other reasons. That's the second reason behind the objection to unconditionals - they reduce an otherwise complex choice over which uni a candidate should firm to a choice that is essentially motivated by laziness and the desire to 'play it safe'.

There's data on WonkHE that shows that unconditionals do, on average, lead to people missing their predicted grade by a wider margin than their counterparts who had conditional offers.
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by harrysbar)
But some top Unis do give them out - predominantly Birmingham and Nottingham, which puts pressure on others to follow or risk losing good candidates. The unconditional offers are hugely tempting to students coming as they do at a time when they are worrying about their exams and what will happen if they fail to get into their top choice Uni. Personally, I feel that they are great for some students, but not for everyone as they can encourage people to Firm a Uni they wouldn't otherwise have Firmed, or even stop working so hard for their exams.

The main benefit is to the Unis themselves, so in that way it is a cynical move by them.
Nottingham has announced that they will no longer be offering unconditionals (unless the applicant already has their grades): https://www.itv.com/news/central/201...s-to-students/
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Nottingham has announced that they will no longer be offering unconditionals (unless the applicant already has their grades): https://www.itv.com/news/central/201...s-to-students/
So they found their conscience just after they were warned that the practice could put them in breach of consumer law
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PQ
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It's interesting to compare the changes in intake numbers with the list of unconditional offer givers https://wonkhe.com/blogs/ucas-end-of...8-a-new-order/
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