Do unconditional offers make teenagers lazy? Watch

Poll: Do unconditional offers make teenagers lazy?
Yes (246)
59.28%
No (169)
40.72%
Doones
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Do you think unconditional (if firm) offers really do this?

A BBC article today says:
"Figures from the admissions service Ucas have shown a huge rise in unconditional offers over the past five years, with applicants who accept them more likely to miss their predicted results by two or more grades."

Harrison and Jack discuss how their unconditional has affected their attitude to their school course:

"Harrison has his dream university place in the bag.
The Leeds City College student is off to study sports journalism at the University of Huddersfield in September, with an unconditional offer.
No matter what the outcome of his BTec extended diploma, the place is assured, and 17-year-old Harrison says he's thrilled.
"I'd say that it makes me more relaxed," he says.
"I don't have to worry about it as much - but I'm not going to just stop making an effort, because obviously I want to work hard and I want to prove myself.""

"Jack, who divides his time between college and playing centre with Leeds Rhinos under-19 rugby team, also has a university place assured, with an unconditional offer to study sport and exercise therapy at Leeds Beckett University.
It's not his top choice. He would prefer physiotherapy but he hasn't heard back from that course yet.
He says the teachers are still cracking the whip, determined to keep students working for the best grades.
He wants to do well but admits the unconditional offer means he can "relax a bit more" and he's taken a few more days off than he would have done otherwise.
"It's making me think about taking that course more now because I've got unconditional... and I know I'm there," he says.
"I just thought, 'Well, I've got an unconditional, I don't need to go in.'""

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47158697

Have you had an unconditional? How has it (or did it) affected your A-level or equivalent studies?
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Acsel
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I don't think there's any debate that an unconditional offer is a huge relief to many. Not having to stress about whether you'll get the grades is clearly a huge weight off an applicant's mind.

Whether it makes students lazy is another matter. It's very much going to be an "it depends". For some, it will. For others, they'll keep working hard. That really depends on the disposition of the student.

I think there's a real issue with students who get their unconditional and then don't do the work though, thinking it doesn't have any consequences. It shows that they value the grade more than the education (which is a major concern) and this can come back to bite them later. I was recently told a similar story with regards to university students, who achieve the grade they want based on second year and initial final year modules, then simply drop off the grid for the second half of their final year. I don't necessarily think it's the students fault that they think this way and I wouldn't like to try and find the root cause. But it's certainly something that needs addressing.
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dinodash99
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Isn't this only applicable to uni's which rank quite low? I would imagine it is because they need people to fill spaces they can't get through other means.
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CTLeafez
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Predict grades are a terrible indicator of actual grade attainment anyway. Some Sixth Forms/Colleges (including my own) just ask students what the average entry grades are for the courses they're applying for and then put those down as your predicted.

Unconditionals should really only be reserved for those who have already obtained the grades already and those who are truly exceptional students. e.g. A*A*A* student applying for a BBB course. They've obviously got more than the required mental capacity for the course and are definitely going to succeed.

They shouldn't be used as a 'pressure buy' tactic and play on 17/18 year old's anxiety over exam performance.

To answer the question; I think unconditionals make the mediocre students and below lazy, but the highest attaining students won't alter their work ethos if they receive an unconditonal.
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Doones
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(Original post by Acsel)
Whether it makes students lazy is another matter. It's very much going to be an "it depends". For some, it will. For others, they'll keep working hard. That really depends on the disposition of the student.
Yep it's definitely an individual thing. Interestingly the data shows that more and more applicants are missing their predictions (by 2+ grades), but those with UIF are even more likely to miss them.

FIGURE 16:
Proportion of English 18 year old applicants who missed their predicted A level attainment by two or more grades, by type of firm offer and year.

Name:  Screenshot 2019-02-15 at 15.09.43.jpg
Views: 19
Size:  91.0 KB

What's not clear is if schools are increasingly overpredicting in the first place.
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Doones
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(Original post by dinodash99)
Isn't this only applicable to uni's which rank quite low?
Nope. Birmingham and Nottingham, and others, offer them.

I would imagine it is because they need people to fill spaces they can't get through other means.
Well, yes sort of. It's basically marketing. And Nottingham has just announced they won't be offering them any more... probably after all the bad publicity they've been getting.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Do you think unconditional (if firm) offers really do this?
I've voted Yes because I think my son's Unconditional offer at Birmingham made him a little lazy and he missed his predictions by 2 grades. This won't be the case for everyone naturally, but I don't suppose he's the first or last teenager to relax a little too much upon receipt of an unconditional offer.
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Moments
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I think you'll always have the select few who still want to achieve regardless either for personal goals or through family pressures.

For the most though, you have to say reducing the urgency reduces the effort they put in. I'd then question whether are they going to uni because simply because it's "what's done", or are they going there because they want to learn and excel at something?

You could almost ask this same question about graduate recruitment that happens over the winter preceding the next intake. If i know i'm in with a 2:1 ....
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CoolCavy
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For me it just took some of the stress off so I was able to revise and not panic about not getting into uni. This allowed me to get A*AA. If I had the stress of worrying about if my marks would get me into uni I think that would have affected my grades. Summer was also nice cos I knew I had a place before August and could sort out accommodation really early.
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Acsel
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Yep it's definitely an individual thing. Interestingly the data shows that more and more applicants are missing their predictions (by 2+ grades), but those with UIF are even more likely to miss them.

FIGURE 16:
Proportion of English 18 year old applicants who missed their predicted A level attainment by two or more grades, by type of firm offer and year.

Name:  Screenshot 2019-02-15 at 15.09.43.jpg
Views: 19
Size:  91.0 KB

What's not clear is if schools are increasingly overpredicting in the first place.
Interesting, although it's definitely something we'd want more data on. If schools are overpredicting (and let's face it, prediction isn't an exact science to begin with) that explains away some of the issue.
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harrysbar
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What's not clear is if schools are increasingly overpredicting in the first place.
Doonesbury Schools definitely do this and sometimes the existence of unconditional offers makes them more likely to do so. Using my poor son as an example again, (he would kill me if he knew), he was predicted AAB orginally but he told his school that he wanted to go to Birmingham, and if they predicted him AAA, he would get an unconditional offer. In response to this, they agreed to raise his predicted grades to AAA.
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Notoriety
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I got a lower offer (because of the socio-economic background n that). I took it as a personal challenge to do as well as I could; and succeeded in doing so. It didn't take the pressure off one bit, as I knew I'd let myself and my teachers down if I didn't leave the college with the highest grades possible.

So some will; some won't. I think there's more to this story than meets the eye. You say that people who get unconditionals are more likely to miss their predicted; but they're also applying to unis which give unconditionals (i.e. not Oxbridge), and the students applying to these not Oxbridge unis have a lesser academic profile than their Oxbridge counterparts.

It might be that students predicted BBC, getting an unconditional from LJMU, and ending up getting CCC were always gonna get CCC. Hence, the unconditional means they're likely applying to weaker unis, so they're weaker students. Weaker students are more likely to miss their predictions.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Notoriety)
I got a lower offer (because of the socio-economic background n that). I took it as a personal challenge to do as well as I could; and succeeded in doing so. It didn't take the pressure off one bit, as I knew I'd let myself and my teachers if I didn't leave the college with the highest grades possible.

So some will; some won't. I think there's more to this story than meets the eye. You say that people who get unconditionals are more likely to miss their predicted; but they're also applying to unis which give unconditionals, and the students applying to these lesser students might be more likely to miss their predicted. Correlation don't mean causation.
Sounds like you were just being contrary, telling them where to stick their lower offer
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Notoriety
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Sounds like you were just being contrary, telling them where to stick their lower offer
Aye, having a wee chip on the shoulder. Which has stayed with me since.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Aye, having a wee chip on the shoulder. Which has stayed with me since.
Aw...you're ok
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londonmyst
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Depends on the personality and ambitions of the specific teenager in question.
Receiving an unconditional offer can provide an ideal opportunity for some teenagers with a tendency to laziness to take advantage of- by accepting the offer and then lazing around instead of attending classes or studying/revising.
But an unconditional offer can also provide certainty, stability and encourage a calm productive state of mind which enables a dedicated student to study and revise to the best of their ability; secure in the knowledge that they have a guaranteed place available to them regardless of how the final exams go.
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Doones
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Doonesbury Schools definitely do this and sometimes the existence of unconditional offers makes them more likely to do so. Using my poor son as an example again, (he would kill me if he knew), he was predicted AAB orginally but he told his school that he wanted to go to Birmingham, and if they predicted him AAA, he would get an unconditional offer. In response to this, they agreed to raise his predicted grades to AAA.
Tsk... maybe there should be (yet another) league table: school A-level prediction accuracy.

Actually UCAS would have that data...
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anonymous1231231
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Yes. I know so many people that have gotten unconditionals and then don't care.
For example, my friend got one from Brum for English which I believe is normally AAA (someone correct me if I'm wrong!) and she was predicted...AAA. Love him to pieces, but his personal statement was horrific. Genuinely horrific. He talked about being a pe captain for all of it, didn't talk about actual english lit (studying it, what he likes, any books, etc.) in 95% of it. He then gave no sh**s and got DDE. THE E WAS IN ENGLISH LIT.

Unconditionals imo, should only be given to those w achieved grades. If a uni really wants and likes a student, make the grades lower, e.g. AAA to ABB or BBB. That's enticing enough, but doesn't get rid of students' motivation.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by anonymous1231231)
Yes. I know so many people that have gotten unconditionals and then don't care.
For example, my friend got one from Brum for English which I believe is normally AAA (someone correct me if I'm wrong!) and she was predicted...AAA. Love him to pieces, but his personal statement was horrific. Genuinely horrific. He talked about being a pe captain for all of it, didn't talk about actual english lit (studying it, what he likes, any books, etc.) in 95% of it. He then gave no sh**s and got DDE. THE E WAS IN ENGLISH LIT.
Don't judge his DDE, man. He had a lot going on that year, like reassigning his gender halfway through.
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username4316350
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i got an unconditional offer with grades nowhere near requirements. felt all abit pointless carrying and a waste of time esp as i was studying classes that had nothing to do with degree. would have been better of going into a foundation year
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