The Student Room Group

Offer rate for universities

Just wanted to share data provided by both university websites (LSE and Durham) on offer rate - that is, how many applicants get offers (competivity) - for those who are making decisions on these universities.

LSE - to help you, LSE offer rate for individual courses can be found in their subject entry requirement website. Simply type in Google the following: for instance, "LSE politics Bsc entry requirement". In the website, click "key facts" where you can find the table showing number of applicants/offers / how many places were filled.

Durham - https://studyatdurham.microsoftcrmportals.com/en-us/knowledgebase/article/KA-02397

These are just materials for those making decisions on these two universities. Please don't make decisions only based on offer rate and competitivity of university - there are more to this, but which i don't intend to discuss here.

There are also sources such as admission report UK universities which only include oxford, cambridge, LSE,Imperial, UCL, Warwick, Manchester, and Edinburgh. But this source may be misleading and outdated. I advise, if you could find one, to use individual universiry website when searching for offer rates.

Again, take this only as a grain of salt that may help you in making decisions.
(edited 1 year ago)
Offer rates are useless for making decisions as they don’t tell you why an applicant got an offer.

Example: One of our lowest requirement courses has a very low offer rate as the applicants are universally poor. In reality we’ll take anyone with a pulse that is expected to meet the required grades.
Reply 2
Original post by Admit-One
Offer rates are useless for making decisions as they don’t tell you why an applicant got an offer.

Example: One of our lowest requirement courses has a very low offer rate as the applicants are universally poor. In reality we’ll take anyone with a pulse that is expected to meet the required grades.

As I said in my post, they shouldn't be the most important factor when making decisions between which university to choose.

You are saying low requirement courses have low offer rate as there aren't many applicants --> but it also makes sense to say that, within the same university/institution, higher requirement courses (which generally have a lot more people) have lower offer rate due to competition. I won't be able to say much on this at all because low entry requirement courses at higher ranked university sometimes have more applicants than high entry requirement courses at lower ranked unis. So many variance.

But the purpose of my post is this: for the people with SAME COURSE offers trying to decide which uni to accept, offer rate can be a bit of help. Offer rate, in my opinion, shows how competitive the university admission is for that course. And the admission often reflects the reputation of the university courses. Ofc when the offer rate difference between the two universities are like 10 percent... the offer rate is, as you said, useless!!!!! But if the disparity is bigger, it broadly pictures an overall reputation difference between the two universities in that course.

I should have clarified this in my previous post. But again, this shouldn't the only determining factor. Offer rate should be looked at as holistically as possible - it changes each year. But when comparing course reputation between two universities, it may help the applicant a tiny bit.

I have posted this, as the applicants have the rights to know and to have even small resources like this. They are making a life decision, and small resources like this is also important to consider in my opinion.
(edited 1 year ago)
Offer rates are only useful in American style admission, where everyone can apply tons of universities. The offer rates in more selective universities are typically lower because it won't harm if you apply Harvard or Yale just for fun. It's like Oxbridge admissions reviewing students with CDD everyday.

It means nothing for UK admission because you only have limited options. You have to choose courses most suitable to you. Very few can afford applying an irrelavant uni. Therefore, a higher offer rate only shows to what extent applicants are limited to the university's expected range. You can easily find some of the worst unis have the lowest offer rates.

Take the unis you mentioned for example, LSE's lower offer rates in history doesn't make it more selective than Durham. LSE asks AAA while Durham asks A*AA with specific grades required. This means someone with AAA may apply LSE for a chance, but won't apply Durham. When the average intakes of both unis are similar, LSE will surely have lower offer rates. If both ask the same grade, LSE's offer rates remain more likely to be lower, because it has a better location and international fame, so you can expect its more popular even if the admission wants a similar quality of students.

If you want to know selectivity, UCAS tariff is a more reliable measure, though that also has problems.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 4
Original post by VigoWilliam
Offer rates are only useful in American style admission, where everyone can apply tons of universities. The offer rates in more selective universities are typically lower because it won't harm if you apply Harvard or Yale just for fun.



Wouldn't that mean offer rates provide more accurate picture of selectivity in British admission system where applicants can only apply to 5 universities? Your argument means that, In the UK, there would be less people applying to top universities just "FOR FUN" since they only got 5 choices to make. Knowing that they can only make 5 uni choices, they wouldn't want to waste even one of their option by applying to universities with less realistic chances (not meeting the entry requirements).

Take this example. People with AAA grades would apply to AAB entry requirements and ABB requirements (to make safe options) and will possibly raise the offer rates. At the same time, these are the people who get rejected, despite meeting or achieving higher than the entry requirements, by those strict unis. To reiterate, there might be few people who just apply to top unis "for fun" and get rejected. BUT there are MORE people who apply to top unis, meeting the entry requirements, but getting rejected - whilst getting accepted for less strict universities. There would be a lot more top unis applicants who are more serious in their applications (not applying for fun)..Thus, most A level students in the UK apply to universities where their grades fulfill the entry requirements (applying to those with realistic chances) as they only have 5 choices to make. They wouldn't apply to top unis "for fun".

"You can easily find some of the worst unis have the lowest offer rates"
- please find me one in the UK. I would like to compare that course offer rate to a more reputable university course offer rate.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Deloo
Wouldn't that mean offer rates provide more accurate picture of selectivity in British admission system where applicants can only apply to 5 universities? Your argument means that, In the UK, there would be less people applying to top universities just "FOR FUN" since they only got 5 choices to make. Knowing that they can only make 5 uni choices, they wouldn't want to waste even one of their option by applying to universities with less realistic chances (not meeting the entry requirements).

Take this example. People with AAA grades would apply to AAB entry requirements and ABB requirements (to make safe options) and will possibly raise the offer rates. At the same time, these are the people who get rejected, despite meeting or achieving higher than the entry requirements, by those strict unis. To reiterate, there might be few people who just apply to top unis "for fun" and get rejected. BUT there are MORE people who apply to top unis, meeting the entry requirements, but getting rejected - whilst getting accepted for less strict universities. There would be a lot more top unis applicants who are more serious in their applications (not applying for fun)..Thus, most A level students in the UK apply to universities where their grades fulfill the entry requirements (applying to those with realistic chances) as they only have 5 choices to make. They wouldn't apply to top unis "for fun".

"You can easily find some of the worst unis have the lowest offer rates"
- please find me one in the UK. I would like to compare that course offer rate to a more reputable university course offer rate.

"For fun" means they tend to apply much more selective inistitutions without any serious considerations, making the applicant pool quite similar from the best to mediocre ones. If you have experiences in applying American unis, you will know nearly anyone will apply at least one lvy, or top public u or top lac even though they have quite poor grades, because why not? That won't happen in the UK.

For your questions, Strathclyde and Bolton have the country's top 10 lowest offer rates and likes of Bournemouth, West London and Birmingham City are in top 30 when Bristol, Durham and Bath are lower than 50. There is clearly a gap between the offer rates and selectivity.

You may also want to know the difference between the offer rate and acceptance rate. That's another a huge difference between US admission (where offer rates matter) and UK admission (where offer rates are pointless). For acceptance rates, Oxbridge or LSE are usually under 10%. Other good ones like UCL and Bristol are below 20% and there are far fewer mediocre institituions in the list. But still, acceptance rate is nowhere near accurate because the problem of applicant pool remains there. Despite problematic, the most accurate measurement of selectivity is still entry tariff.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Admit-One
Offer rates are useless for making decisions as they don’t tell you why an applicant got an offer.

Example: One of our lowest requirement courses has a very low offer rate as the applicants are universally poor. In reality we’ll take anyone with a pulse that is expected to meet the required grades.



Exactly this. We have a course where its looks hugely competitve, simply becuase there are only 4 places for that subject combination, and another one which is an exclusively WP course and looks like most people get rejected - because they dont read the entry criteria - those who do meet the criteria usually get a place.

Its another bit of meaningless bunkum that school-leavers love - and academics know is totally pointless.
Reply 7
Original post by McGinger
Exactly this. We have a course where its looks hugely competitve, simply becuase there are only 4 places for that subject combination, and another one which is an exclusively WP course and looks like most people get rejected - because they dont read the entry criteria - those who do meet the criteria usually get a place.

Its another bit of meaningless bunkum that school-leavers love - and academics know is totally pointless.

Well, only 4 places for that course would only mean that there are not many applicants. I understand the confusion here that often offer rate plays a useless role in different circumstances like in the case you have just mentioned. But, as I have mentioned a few times when you have done relevant research about the university courses, the offer rate may play a tiny role in helping you decide which university course may be more reputable - by looking at the number of applicants and how many are given the offer. If the number of applicants is similar between two universities, but one seems to give out fewer offers, that often show more selectivity. Alongside looking at this, subject-specific league tables should be taken into an account as the primary source of decision (QS recommended). I do not think it is totally pointless when looked at with other relevant sources (league tables, university website, etc) to compare the course selectivity/course reputation between universities.

I had made a decision whether to insurance Warwick or Bristol for my course. I looked at the subject league table, the course designs, and selectivity (offer rate). The league table suggested that my subject is more reputable at Warwick alongside showing that the offer rate is lower there. I researched that Bristol gives out a lot of offers (contextual ones too for my course) so when applying to universities i thought that this could be a possible and safe option too. So it matters tiny bit imo.
Original post by Deloo
Well, only 4 places for that course would only mean that there are not many applicants.

The league table suggested that my subject is more reputable at Warwick

1) It is the most competive course in the University, because they are only 4 places and hundreds apply for it. You need to rethink your logic here.
2) Please define 'reputable' and exactly what you think that nebulous concept is going to add to your student experience.
It doesn’t show selectivity because you don’t know a) the strength of the applicant pool (ie. how much self selection is going on by candidates) and b) you don’t know what criteria/scoring the Uni uses for their admissions process.

Let’s say you had two courses, one with what looks like a 50% offer rate and another with 30%. Otherwise they are very similar and you have no strong preference. You apply for the better offer rate, right? Wrong. You may well have been a much better candidate for the 30% course and you just reduced your chances by not investigating what profile they were both looking for. It’s misleading info.
Reply 10
Original post by McGinger
1) It is the most competive course in the University, because they are only 4 places and hundreds apply for it. You need to rethink your logic here.
2) Please define 'reputable' and exactly what you think that nebulous concept is going to add to your student experience.

1) That really depends on the course. Look at the university admission report. For instance, the UCL acceptance rate for French and Philosophy has 4 acceptances. 15 applicants where14 of them get an offer but about 10 people dont accept it. UCL mathematics and mathematical physics with 0 acceptance (21 applicants and 15 people offered) - the fewer the places available dont always mean more selective. Here, the acceptance rate is 0 (all the offer holders rejected the offer). But sometimes, such as UCL fine art where there are many applicants (706) but 23 acceptance would reflect selectivity and harsh admissions - as you have suggested. So it really depends on the course, and we shouldn't base our decision on solely looking at how many are accepted in the end, but look at it more broadly: how many applied --> how many get an offer --> how many accept it
2) reputable = the course where academics are world-leading in their field of study and would therefore pick the highest student with potential (selective). you are confused with correlation. Firstly, acceptance rates are useless. And selectivity =/= acceptance rate because acceptance rate is up to your capabilities and decisions (whether you can meet the offer as well as having a decision to decide which university to firm etc). But giving out an offer is totally up to the institution admissions. So selectivity of admissions reflects the offer rate, and we should not look at the acceptances - low acceptances could either mean less competitive or very competitive - as I have suggested above with evidence of UCL.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 11
Original post by Admit-One
It doesn’t show selectivity because you don’t know a) the strength of the applicant pool (ie. how much self selection is going on by candidates) and b) you don’t know what criteria/scoring the Uni uses for their admissions process.

Let’s say you had two courses, one with what looks like a 50% offer rate and another with 30%. Otherwise they are very similar and you have no strong preference. You apply for the better offer rate, right? Wrong. You may well have been a much better candidate for the 30% course and you just reduced your chances by not investigating what profile they were both looking for. It’s misleading info.

a) why would you not know the strength of the applicant pool when looking at the offer rate? you would look at the number of applicants/how many gave an offer/ and how many accept it. Self-selection =/= offer rate but self selection = acceptance rate. Offer rate reflects institution admission decisions and as a candidate, you got no decision power to change the offer rate. But when you get an offer you get to self-select which university to accept and reject (I guess this is the only time of self-selection). so the offer rate reflects university admissions selectivity, as it is entirely dependent on the institution admission - but when looking at this the number of applicants should also be looked at.


b) Applicants would know the criteria and requirements from the university, and similar courses usually ask for similar requirements. Sometimes top universities ask for high GCSE profiles but the candidates would know before applying. They will try their hardest in their application and would have done relevant research for their desiring universities. As candidates will apply to universities knowing what the university requires, offer rate is something that matters (a little bit as I have always suggested since - not useless) in a sense that it shows university selectivity which oftentimes relates to the course reputation of that university when looked at with the number of applicants and places available. So the number of applicants and the offer rate are both factors to look at when comparing two universities in that course --> when they have a similar number of applicants but the disparity of offer rate is big, then one uni with a low offer rate seems to be better in that course.

"Let’s say you had two courses, one with what looks like a 50% offer rate and another with 30%. Otherwise, they are very similar and you have no strong preference. You apply for a better offer rate, right? Wrong. You may well have been a much better candidate for the 30% course and you just reduced your chances by not investigating what profile they were both looking for. It’s misleading info." - True that you may get rejected with the higher admission offer rate course but get accepted in the lower offer rate one. But what I am suggesting is that most of the time if the number of applicants is somewhat similar between the two uni courses, the one with a 30 percent offer rate would be a more reputable course than the one that is a 50-60 percent offer rate. you would have to look at what the university admission asks for and create an application that meets their requirements, but in the end, the course with the lower offer rate is usually a more reputable course (when the number of applicants is similar you can compare). When the number of applicants is similar but one definitely has a very low offer rate to the other, that course would be more reputable. Here is my question, please answer: FIND ME TWO COURSES WITH SIMILAR NUMBER OF APPLICANTS WHERE THE HIGHER OFFER RATE COURSE IS MORE REPUTABLE THAN THE LATTER.

So what if the number of applications is different? Let's say. University A with 100 applicants and B with 50 applicants. University A gives an offer to only 40 people whilst B gives an offer to 39 people. Which university course is more reputable?

What if University A offer rate is 45 percent and university B's offer rate is 60 percent? --> we may say that uni A has a lower offer rate due to the university having too many applications so giving out fewer offers. But can universities just decide to reject more applications because there are too many? I say no - they would look at it fairly. They wouldn't have limitations in terms of how many offers they could give out. We had grade inflation last year where there were so many As and Astars. What happened was that universities just accepted more students (look at the University of Bristol, especially where they had too many first years so some had to live in Bath). A lower offer rate usually reflects on the university's course reputation when compared to another uni course with SIMILAR NUMBER OF APPLICANTS. For this reason, we should take this with a grain of salt along with QS subject league tables.
(edited 1 year ago)
You’ve picked out Fine Art at the Slade (UCL) as an example of a competitive course based on the stats.

Ignoring that the entry criteria is one of the lowest at UCL (ABB or CCC for contextual offers). But that UCL fine art requires a portfolio submission in February and up until this year charged an extra fee of £15 for the “privilege” of submitting a portfolio for inspection (and until recently they wanted it POSTED to them).
That requirement, deadline and the fee when it was charged was only available on the Slade website and not on the university website or UCAS.

It’s no wonder that they attract a lot of applications and then don’t make many offers. I would bet that around half the applicants fail to submit a portfolio on time and in the right format (and probably even fewer when they charged and asked for it to be posted).

The offer rate doesn’t reflect the 100% - the rejection rate. Universities will usually withdraw applicants who fail to provide required information/portfolios. Applicants will often withdraw their own applications when they realise they can’t meet the additional requirements or (especially in the case of fine art) when they decide to take a gap year and an art and design foundation diploma instead of going straight to university from A levels.

UAL has a lower offer rate that UCL but doesn’t have such a strict or early portfolio deadline. Are they more selective? Their standard offer is CC at A level (that’s not a typo - they only ask for two Cs).

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