Hj5673
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I put down UCL, warwick, durham, bath and loughborough on ucas. After speaking to my head of year he advised me that I need another safe option (such as manchester or lancaster) aswell as loughborough. However as economics is very competetive I wanted the best possible chance of recieving an offer from a top Uni hence my original decision.

Can anyone advice me on what to do here, as I can't decide. Thanks
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Hj5673)
I put down UCL, warwick, durham, bath and loughborough on ucas. After speaking to my head of year he advised me that I need another safe option (such as manchester or lancaster) aswell as loughborough. However as economics is very competetive I wanted the best possible chance of recieving an offer from a top Uni hence my original decision.

Can anyone advice me on what to do here, as I can't decide. Thanks
Hi there.

I completely understand your struggle—picking Unis is hard, and it’s easy to want a top Uni and to go for ambitious choices. Usually the advice is 1/2 aspirational, 1 whose grade requirements you’d meet on a normal day (i.e. matches your realistic predicted grades) and 1/2 lower back up choices.

Based on the Unis you’ve chosen, I would assume you have A*A*A predictions or above, given their high entry requirements and competitive nature.

I agree with your head teacher somewhat that you’ll need to ensure you have a firm and insurance—are you fairly confident you’ll get an offer from Loughborough? If you do have A*A*A and a strong personal statement, references and GCSE performance, you can probably get away with the Unis you’ve chosen and only having Loughborough as a back up.

If your predictions are A*AA (or lower), and your GCSE performance is weak relative to other applicants for these competitive Unis (i.e. you don’t have straight A*s and As), I would consider taking your head teacher’s advice. Out of Warwick, UCL, Durham and Bath, pick the one you would least like to go to (by looking at the course first and place/Uni itself second) and rule one out. Then pick another Uni (Manchester and Lancaster are both good) that has requirements of AAA or AAB so this could be your firm. Don’t forget, a top Uni isn’t everything, and ultimately whether you choose to stick with your original choices or change them is your decision.

But, if I were you I’d think seriously about grades. If you are predicted A*A*A or higher, and crucially if you are confident that even on a not so great day you could obtain the A*AA needed, then feel free to stick with your current five. But if you aren’t that confident, having an extra backup doesn’t hurt. You could always apply to 4 to begin with (leaving out your least favourite of the top Unis), then if you get an offer from Loughborough you could enter your fifth top Uni (a lot of top Unis wait until January before giving out offers, and I reckon Loughborough would potentially get back to you with a decision promptly). This may be a safer option worth considering.

Good luck!
Last edited by Mona123456; 3 weeks ago
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Esterella
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I agree with everything Mona has said above. I would say to put a 'safe' one down as well just to cover yourself- having a back up never hurts as any student can have a slip. But, make sure that it is a university you would actually want to go to (your safe option at the end of the day has to be something you'd enjoy in case you ever need to use it). I think open days and really looking at what the course at each specific university helps. As for applying for competitive courses, go for it- if you put in the work there's no reason why you can't achieve it. I applied for law, which is competitive so I completely see where you're coming from and am now at my university of choice studying it. Achieving offers really just is the first hurdle and with a good personal statement and predicted grades you should be fine (also look at potentially interview prep, as well as more competitive unis may well require this). Also remember that you'll need to narrow this down to two options anyway so it is worth having a mix of universities.
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Hj5673
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(Original post by Mona123456)
Hi there.

I completely understand your struggle—picking Unis is hard, and it’s easy to want a top Uni and to go for ambitious choices. Usually the advice is 1/2 aspirational, 1 whose grade requirements you’d meet on a normal day (i.e. matches your realistic predicted grades) and 1/2 lower back up choices.

Based on the Unis you’ve chosen, I would assume you have A*A*A predictions or above, given their high entry requirements and competitive nature.

I agree with your head teacher somewhat that you’ll need to ensure you have a firm and insurance—are you fairly confident you’ll get an offer from Loughborough? If you do have A*A*A and a strong personal statement, references and GCSE performance, you can probably get away with the Unis you’ve chosen and only having Loughborough as a back up.

If your predictions are A*AA (or lower), and your GCSE performance is weak relative to other applicants for these competitive Unis (i.e. you don’t have straight A*s and As), I would consider taking your head teacher’s advice. Out of Warwick, UCL, Durham and Bath, pick the one you would least like to go to (by looking at the course first and place/Uni itself second) and rule one out. Then pick another Uni (Manchester and Lancaster are both good) that has requirements of AAA or AAB so this could be your firm. Don’t forget, a top Uni isn’t everything, and ultimately whether you choose to stick with your original choices or change them is your decision.

But, if I were you I’d think seriously about grades. If you are predicted A*A*A or higher, and crucially if you are confident that even on a not so great day you could obtain the A*AA needed, then feel free to stick with your current five. But if you aren’t that confident, having an extra backup doesn’t hurt. You could always apply to 4 to begin with (leaving out your least favourite of the top Unis), then if you get an offer from Loughborough you could enter your fifth top Uni (a lot of top Unis wait until January before giving out offers, and I reckon Loughborough would potentially get back to you with a decision promptly). This may be a safer option worth considering.

Good luck!
Thanks so much for the great reply, that was very useful!!! I didn't realise you could apply for 4 and see what offers you get, I think it may be best if I do this, however do you know how it will work when I go to submit my application. And how would I re apply for the final choice.
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Hj5673
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(Original post by Esterella)
I agree with everything Mona has said above. I would say to put a 'safe' one down as well just to cover yourself- having a back up never hurts as any student can have a slip. But, make sure that it is a university you would actually want to go to (your safe option at the end of the day has to be something you'd enjoy in case you ever need to use it). I think open days and really looking at what the course at each specific university helps. As for applying for competitive courses, go for it- if you put in the work there's no reason why you can't achieve it. I applied for law, which is competitive so I completely see where you're coming from and am now at my university of choice studying it. Achieving offers really just is the first hurdle and with a good personal statement and predicted grades you should be fine (also look at potentially interview prep, as well as more competitive unis may well require this). Also remember that you'll need to narrow this down to two options anyway so it is worth having a mix of universities.
Thanks for the reply, I think it would be best to have 2 safe options but its just a tough decision really. I might do what mona said and apply for 4 first then see what offers I get back.
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swanseajack1
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(Original post by Hj5673)
Thanks for the reply, I think it would be best to have 2 safe options but its just a tough decision really. I might do what mona said and apply for 4 first then see what offers I get back.
What are your predicted grades and in what subjects.
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Hj5673
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(Original post by swanseajack1)
What are your predicted grades and in what subjects.
I got A*AA in my year 12 exams but my teacher might be moving one up so it will be A*A*A in maths, chemistry and physcis
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HoldThisL
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(Original post by Hj5673)
I got A*AA in my year 12 exams but my teacher might be moving one up so it will be A*A*A in maths, chemistry and physcis
imo you'll be fine with those choices. my as levels were AAAA and i only got AAA in my a levels but i got accepted for ppe at warwick which is just as competitive as econ, and for econ at lboro (can't offer any insight on the other three); as long as you're comfortable getting the offer grades and can write a competent personal statement you will be fine
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swanseajack1
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(Original post by Hj5673)
I got A*AA in my year 12 exams but my teacher might be moving one up so it will be A*A*A in maths, chemistry and physcis
My concern is that you are applying to very different kinds of places. UCL is in a huge city whilst the others are small cities. Have you considered how comfortable you will be in London. There is more to picking a university than league tables. 2 important issues are the course and the environment you will be living in. Given your grades you probably need an insurance of AAA or AAB. This needs to be somewhere you will be happy to go should things go wrong. Lancaster would seem to be a good 5th choice as it is similar in to Bath Warwick Durham and Loughborough.
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Hj5673)
Thanks so much for the great reply, that was very useful!!! I didn't realise you could apply for 4 and see what offers you get, I think it may be best if I do this, however do you know how it will work when I go to submit my application. And how would I re apply for the final choice.
Hi there,

Glad I could help.
Regarding your questions, I’m not 100% sure. I am fairly sure that you could use the UCAS service “Extra” from late February onwards, if you only used 4 of your choices, but regarding whether you could pick your 5th choice before then as soon as you’ve heard from the others, I’d recommend asking your head teacher or ringing UCAS to confirm this.

Sorry I couldn’t give a more exact answer - I am currently going through the process myself and picked 5 choices, hence why I’m not certain on how initially submitting 4 choices works. But I am certain that you don’t need to use all 5 choices straight away in one go.

Regarding how you add your 5th, I reckon you’d just add it on Track normally - it’s a fairly intuitive system that’s easy enough to use, but I’m sure a teacher could always help you if you weren’t certain.

So yes, I’d recommend talking to a teacher or UCAS to confirm how picking 4 choices then a 5th later works. Good luck with your application!
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swanseajack1
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To be honest most teachers are unaware of this so they wont be of much help. ageshallnot or harrysbar might be of more help. You can only apply through ucas extra if you are not holding ay offers ie you have rejected or been rejected from all your choices. Otherwise it will be treated as a late application if made after the deadline and wont have to be considered by the university
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Mona123456
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(Original post by swanseajack1)
To be honest most teachers are unaware of this so they wont be of much help. ageshallnot or harrysbar might be of more help. You can only apply through ucas extra if you are not holding ay offers ie you have rejected or been rejected from all your choices. Otherwise it will be treated as a late application if made after the deadline and wont have to be considered by the university
(Original post by Hj5673)
Thanks so much for the great reply, that was very useful!!! I didn't realise you could apply for 4 and see what offers you get, I think it may be best if I do this, however do you know how it will work when I go to submit my application. And how would I re apply for the final choice.

Hi both.

As I previously mentioned, and as swanseajack1 reiterates, the UCAS Extra service is open late February (25th onwards), so indeed top Unis may not have places left and are under no obligation to review your application.

What I am not certain on (and which I recommend you ask UCAS about) is whether you can pick a 5th choice before Extra opens. I fully acknowledge this may not be possible, so please do check. As I’ve said, I’ve already submitted my application and made 5 choices so have not been through this.

Another option you could consider is applying to 5 Unis and later swapping one if you find you get an offer from e.g. Loughborough. I am fairly certain you can do this, as you can swap courses for 15 days from when you submit your application I believe, but again this is assuming that Loughborough will get back to you within the 15 day time period.

Additionally, as others on the thread have said, you should make sure you’d be happy going to any of the Unis you apply to potentially, especially the one you will pick as your firm of course but also your insurance. So if in doubt about everything and you can’t contact UCAS regarding the option to initially submit to 4 Unis, if you have no other advice then I would suggest swapping your least favourite top Uni for another backup option just in case; better to be safe than sorry, as you will need to pick an insurance choice, and ultimately out of your top Uni choices you will only be able to firm one.

Hope this helps somewhat and sorry I could not give more specific advice about picking 4 choices initially rather than 5. Good luck with your applications all!
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Esterella
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(Original post by Hj5673)
Thanks so much for the great reply, that was very useful!!! I didn't realise you could apply for 4 and see what offers you get, I think it may be best if I do this, however do you know how it will work when I go to submit my application. And how would I re apply for the final choice.
I think it's best to apply for all 5 choices at the same time- saves stress and avoids anything going wrong. You will also need to make the decision at some point. Good luck, it is stressful and I remember very well being in your shoes this time last year. I would say really do look at cities and where you will be and the course (that is what helped me decide the university I wanted to be at). Have a range of universities to make sure you are covered, but equally, make sure that if there genuinely is a place you feel you would really enjoy that you give it a go and don't let fear hold you back. Not receiving offers is always a risk and will be a risk you will have to take either way, but try not to worry about it too much. Also as also mentioned by others, going to a university that isn't top top of the league tables isn't the end of the world - it is so much better that you find somewhere that you think you'll thrive in (of course consider the status of the university as this will bring you advantages), but don't base your decision solely on league tables as at the end of the day, these change and your success depends on you not just your university.
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ageshallnot
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Hj5673 You don't need 2 "safe" choices. With those predictions, Loughborough will give you an offer. (Why would they not do so?)

You can add a fifth choice via track. Just make sure you do so before January 15th.

And lastly, understand that the aim is not to get 5 offers. It's to get 2-3 with which you are happy.
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