Have your say: UCAS is now letting students decline their firm choice in Track Watch

candokoala
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MinaBee
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Sounds like a good idea :yes:
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SuperHuman98
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Idk I feel like universities will just send more offers to more applicants/more unconditionals if they feel like they are less likely to get the amount of firms that they want

But I guess it doesn’t really make much of a difference and makes it easier for students on results day who would no longer need to wait for unis to release them
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PQ
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(Original post by SuperHuman98)
Idk I feel like universities will just send more offers to more applicants/more unconditionals if they feel like they are less likely to get the amount of firms that they want

But I guess it doesn’t really make much of a difference and makes it easier for students on results day who would no longer need to wait for unis to release them
That's already happened. Universities don't reject applicants unless they either don't have capacity or an applicant is likely to fail on the course.
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returnmigrant
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The only advantage of the new do-it-your Release into Clearing' is speed - previously you had to wait for the Uni to do this - and understandably since they have better things to do (like filling courses with people who DO want to go to their Uni) they often didnt do the 'release' for hours. The Uni themselves have asked for this facility - to stop the endless nagging phone calls from applicants.

But PLEASE. Think very, very carefully before you use this facility.

Make VERY certain you really do have a course place to go to first.

Do not assume that you can just press this button and every course at every Uni will be instantly available to you in Clearing - it won't be.

Once you press this button, that's it, there is no way back.
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returnmigrant
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From UCAS :

"If an applicant makes a mistake, we ask them to contact the provider immediately, but this must be done within one working day of the applicant releasing themselves. It will not be possible if the applicant has subsequently added a Clearing choice."

So - make VERY certain that this really is what you want to do.
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Admit-One
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Fundamentally it’s a good option and should relieve some pressure from the Uni and speed things up for the applicant.

However I’m on the phones today and am awaiting the first panicked call trying to revert this 😀
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harrysbar
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There will inevitably be a tiny minority of people who do regret pressing the button. But overall, I think people will use it sensibly and it will be seen as a good new development rather than a bad one.

I know in the past it has caused people a lot of stress thinking that they were tied into a uni they no longer want to go to and UCAS used to make out it was very hard to get released when it never actually was. It just used to be time consuming sometimes, which is the last thing you need when time is of the essence.
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ThomH97
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Seems a good idea, though I'm not sure what the 'firm' choice means now.

Are there any figures on how many students do end up wanting to ditch their firm choice on results day? "Swamped" implies a lot, and I doubt the universities would have asked for this if it weren't true, but I'm just curious.
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PQ
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in 2018 at the end of results there were ~10,000 people who were released (who were UF somewhere on A level results day) who ended up placed elsewhere in clearing, ~4,400 who were in clearing but hadn't found a place and ~5,000 who withdrew from UCAS completely.

This will be an undercount as it excludes applicants who got released from UF offers before A level results day or who were still CF on A level results day who were later made unconditional and released.
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Admit-One
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Please to say that I didn't receive any calls regarding this today. To be fair, I think UCAS have designed the process fairly robustly to avoid any accidental withdrawals. IE. It asks them what they are aiming to do, rather than just flashing warnings at them.
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by Admit-One)
Please to say that I didn't receive any calls regarding this today. To be fair, I think UCAS have designed the process fairly robustly to avoid any accidental withdrawals. IE. It asks them what they are aiming to do, rather than just flashing warnings at them.
:yay: Good news
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Ultra.confused
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This is just UCAS fighting back on this craze of unconditional offers by throwing the Uni's head counts off. I feel like their business gets undermined when you accept an unconditional offer as it's like a private handshake. Plus with all the services they provide like clearing, over time the universities will gradually want to pay less and less to UCAS as they will use it almost CV platform (Indeed.com). It's for the best really, it makes the institutions focus on their prestige and facilities rather than selling a product.
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Realitysreflexx
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This basically makes your firm irrelevant.

Not sure how i feel about this, but it likely wont affect the better unis and destroy the predictability of the already cash strapped lower ranked unis.
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ThomH97
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(Original post by Realitysreflexx)
This basically makes your firm irrelevant.

Not sure how i feel about this, but it likely wont affect the better unis and destroy the predictability of the already cash strapped lower ranked unis.
I imagine it has been getting more and more like this for a long time, and this change basically makes it official. Unless there are a lot of universities actively refusing to let students apply elsewhere in clearing, this doesn't really change much. I imagine it'll encourage a few more students to ditch their firm now the option is publicly available, though.
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SarcAndSpark
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I think, especially in the first year, there will unfortunately be a number of people who use this feature without considering the risks and end up disappointed.

However, as students are being treated more and more like consumers, it makes sense that they're being given more and more freedom of choice.

Last year, apparently over 26,000 applicants contacted UCAS to ask about declining their firm choice. Obviously, some of the people who choose to go ahead with this end up being stuck in limbo for days as releasing them isn't a priority for unis, and they also increase call volumes to unis/UCAS.

I do think UCAS are being careful with this in its first year- they're not actively promoting it, and they've tried to put some safeguards in place.

I do think this option could potentially make it harder for clearing students who haven't got a place at all- but equally if there's more movement in places, this might help some people!
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CoolCavy
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Think it's good to hand power back to the student / consumer although it's definitely not something I would have used. By the time it comes to firming and insuring you should know for sure you want to go there. I don't know why you would throw away all that research to take a gamble on something in clearing but if people want to do that then it's their mistake to make. Hopefully will open up the phone lines
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