Unconditional offer etiquette

(23 Posts)
WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 04-Feb-14 21:58:52

DD has got four out of five offers in from the universities she applied to (still waiting on the 5th).

One of the offers has now been changed to unconditional.

In an ideal world the order of preference would be:

1. the university which is yet to offer (or reject)
2. another university
3. unconditional offer university

Number 2 is DD's realistic choice. I think that if they were to make her an unconditional offer then she would accept it.

Is it acceptable for a student to approach number 2 and say that number 3 has made an unconditional offer but really she would like to go to number 2 and would number 2 consider making her an unconditional offer?

The original offer from number 3 was similar to the offer from number 2.

Would it be acceptable to approach number 2 in this way or would it be a complete no no?

All advice gratefully received.

camptownraces Tue 04-Feb-14 22:08:35

Your daughter could try approaching university number 2, but I doubt it would get her anywhere.

They are probably dealing with hundreds of applicants for dozens of places on the chosen course. In my view they are unlikely to be receptive unless something materially changes (like her predicted grades).

Perhaps someone in university admissions could tell us?

Slipshodsibyl Tue 04-Feb-14 22:19:35

Was the unconditional from Birmingham? What is she predicted? If her predictions match her preferred university, then select that. Unconditional offers for promising students who haven't yet completed their A Levels are a new recruitment tactic which started last year.

I assume they are not yet resulting in a lot of acceptances, or all other universities, which are still following UCAS rules would be grumbling - perhaps they are behind the scenes.

Anyway, she is unlikely to get an unconditional, pre- results, from the others as the previous poster said.

Slipshodsibyl Tue 04-Feb-14 22:21:17

Although if her preferred or second choice make her a high offer, she can tell them about the unconditional and there might be a smidgeon of hope that they might lower it a grade.

senua Tue 04-Feb-14 23:00:10

Do you have Offer-Holders Days coming up? Can you raise the subject then?

Slipshodsibyl Tue 04-Feb-14 23:30:11

You can just contact them. Or your school can which might be easier for you. If she's good enough for an unconditional from one choice she might well get a lower offer from another. Congratulations to her.

gaba Wed 05-Feb-14 07:57:51

Slipshod said " If she's good enough for an unconditional from one choice she might well get a lower offer from another. Congratulations to her."

Surely if a student is that good, they don't need to worry about the conditions for entry.

Or is it because if they have an unconditional 'pass' into one of the big booze houses, they can get the party started early?

Can't see Oxbridge taking up this system. (Unless your last name is Windsor).

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 08:49:52

gaba unconditional offers used to be handed out all the time by Oxbridge (or at least an offer of EEE was common)...

The change is relatively recent.

Slipshodsibyl Wed 05-Feb-14 08:56:03

Actually Oxford and Cambridge used this system in the past. They gave EE offers ( ie high enough to satisfy entry requirements but so low as to be. ritually unconditional) after an examination before A Levels in the forth term of sixth form study. The exam was the same as the seventh term exam but marked more leniently and was more suited to state schools since they were less likely to have resources to do seventh term exams.

There was also the matriculation offer at Oxford, made before A Levels and without an exam. Also EE. This was an early attempt at getting clever state school children in. Not every College used it as these were the days (not that long ago) when Colleges had more individual power than they do now.

Anyway, to address your rather strange comment about 'booze houses' , the government's decision to allow Universities to expand to include as many ABB students as possible has changed the rules and universities are not really sure how things are going to turn out. This is making it something of a buyers market for students predicted to get these kind of grades. Their headline requirements in prospectuses at the moment are often higher than the grades they will actually accept. So it is worth holding your nerve at this point as a prospective student or asking if a slightly lower offer might be possible. A good student might be is able to bargain

As for the the 'booze house' comment, I know Birmingham has started offering up aa few conditional offers and I believe that Leicester might have. Both are reputable universities which suggests to me that op's daughter is attractive to reputable universities.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 05-Feb-14 09:03:11

Thank you. It isnt Birmingham. It is a specific science subject.

She does have Offer Holder days coming up so perhaps she could mention it then.

The change to unconditional for her number 3 choice has added a confusion to the mix. It is a bit like the Aldi adverts 'I like this course and I like this course'.

DD put a lot of effort into picking the courses to apply for so the three she is left with after application and visiting are all courses she would like to do. The difficulty is the unknown.

She talked about it with my DB last night (he is a scientist so has some experience). As he put it, whichever course she chooses there will come a wet Wednesday when the lecture is dull and she will wish she had chosen somewhere different!

SidandAndyssextoy Wed 05-Feb-14 09:30:57

I had something similar many years ago. I was applying for a subject in which even twenty years ago RG demanded AAB or ABB at a pinch. I had applied to Oxbridge too. In those days (don't know if it's changed) you accepted a first offer and an insurance place. One of my places offered me EE to encourage me into putting them as an insurance place if I got an Oxbridge offer. I did do that, even though they weren't my natural second choice, as it would have been silly not to really. I didn't want to take a year out and clearing wouldn't have been an option. It was rather nice to know I definitely had a decent university place after that, and took some pressure off my exams.

MillyMollyMama Wed 05-Feb-14 10:58:35

Yes Leicester are handing out unconditional offers. A DFs DS has one.

I would not do anything until all the offers are in. The firm choice should be where your DD actually wants to go and will probably get the grades to go there. If the unconditional would have been her second choice, then choose it as the insurance choice. This means she will have somewhere to go, but she has weeks and weeks to reflect on this. I think her firm choice should be a combination of where she would like to study, the most prestigious university and the best course, not the university who is marketing in this way. They are possibly short of good applicants.

I would never seek to sway an offer from a university because you do need to come up to their expectations, not those of another university. Just weigh up the offers and wait for the final one. Some universities do not offer until March. Why choose now without all the information you need to make an informed choice?

Slipshodsibyl Wed 05-Feb-14 11:29:49

'I would never seek to sway an offer'

All sorts of things can go wrong in exams. This us why unconditionals are being made in the first place - to avoid that for good students. It is frustrating to accept an achievable offer from a second choice course and then to see that through adjustment or letting in students who have just missed their offer, that you actually have higher grades than many in the course.

She will not be able to keep the unconditional as an insurance. It will be a firm or nothing so that the university can plan it's staffing.

I would wait for the favourite to offer or reject first in any case.

senua Wed 05-Feb-14 11:59:52

They are possibly short of good applicants.

Not at all. It is a clever ploy to attract those students who can pick and choose where they go, because of the relaxation of the rules on numbers. It is only a select few that get the offer (well done btw to OP's DD), the sort that might go to Doxbridge. I'm guessing that OP's No1 that she is waiting for is Durham, they are always slow.

I agree with slipshod. You are still missing some information; wait for No1's response before you make a decision.

senua Wed 05-Feb-14 12:02:47

Oh. MMM said it too.smile

I always hate it when someone says "I agree with xxx" and I think "BUT I SAID THAT THREE PAGES AGO!". grin

Shootingatpigeons Wed 05-Feb-14 13:05:54

My DD is in a similar position. We have offers from the two unis she most wanted to go to, an unconditional from Birmingham, and two others, one of which is also very good in the league tables but she is a bit hmm about it's reputation for attracting a lot of "posh" students hmm We are currently visiting offer days at three universities including Birmingham, as she has SpLDs an unconditional offer is not something we can dismiss easily. I would like her to visit the fourth as well because preconceptions can be dangerous. To be honest it is all a bit bewildering, for her courses, she wants to do joint honours, they all are right up in the top 10 and it is totally swings and roundabouts on all the different measures as to which is best. Hopefully it will be clearer when we have visited and/or she will accept the one she first thought of

I wouldn't dismiss the Birmingham unconditional as a desperate ruse, DD has friends who are accepting it and they extended the scheme this year because in the pilot last year they increased their rate of acceptance from a quarter to a third.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 05-Feb-14 13:07:20

All interesting comments, thank you.

I dont want to say where no. 3 is but it isnt a RG university. Number 1 is an RG university (Warwick) but it hasnt replied yet. It was really a 'cat can look at the Queen' application. It will be a stretch for DD to achieve the grades they advertise. I am guessing that DD is on the 'B-list'. There are a number of factors which probably make her application look a little different from the norm hence the delay.

I dont think that DD can do anything until all offers are in anyway.

wordfactory Wed 05-Feb-14 13:58:01

I think it's a good way of enticing students to firm up, when you're pretty sure those students will perform in their As anyway wink.

Oxford have always based its offers on GCSE results (not totally, but as a good indicator).

Most good applicants will still work hard. They'll want good grades on their CV.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 05-Feb-14 18:01:01

I agree wordfactory.

DD's unconditional offer came after the university said they had reviewed her personal statement and academic reference.

I dont think it was on the understanding that she would be first at the bar to start lining up the drinks!

kernowal Wed 05-Feb-14 19:45:33

I accepted an offer of EE when I was young from a university which gave out a few of these offers to students they thought might go elsewhere. I desperately wanted a place at Warwick (BBB) or Bath (ABB), but accepting the EE offer took all the pressure off me during my A levels and helped me get ABC without killing myself in the process. Even better, I met my husband on our first day there & now have a lovely 12 year old daughter as a result.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 06-Feb-14 08:25:53

IMO the ABB freedom has distorted the market. Many universities which would have previously looked for BBB or even BBC are now headlining their requirement as ABB.

My DD looked at that and decided that ABB was more of a stretch than she felt comfortable with.

It is quite possible that she would be able to get into some of these ABB universities when the grades are out and they are looking to fill places. Problem is that this can leave making a decision in a rush - not really a good idea when this can be a decision which stays with you forever.

Any road up, we are off to a course open day at the weekend so hopefully this will help DD to whittle down the runners & riders a little further.

Many thanks for all the comments!

senua Thu 06-Feb-14 08:42:25

It is quite possible that she would be able to get into some of these ABB universities when the grades are out and they are looking to fill places. Problem is that this can leave making a decision in a rush - not really a good idea when this can be a decision which stays with you forever.

She doesn't have to go in the summer, if she is surprised-in-a-good-way by her results then she could always re-apply next year with grades in hand.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 06-Feb-14 12:50:06

Hi senua, I know she could but I'm not sure that is a good idea with sciences where there is very much a progression and a risk of forgetting in the mean time. I can see that it would be a distinct advantage in something like a Humanities subject where some additional life experience could be a benefit.

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