At SACU we were curious to find out a little more about the recent increase in the number of Unconditional offers made to young people in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
UCAS recently released figures showing the number of unconditional offers made to 18 year old students from England, Northern Ireland, and Wales has risen over the past five years – from 2,985 in 2013, to 67,915 in 2018.UCAS Thu 26 July 2018
SACU has been made aware of admission practices that involve the following:
Student applies to UCAS
An 18 year old student applies to a university on-time, while still taking their A-Levels or equivalent
University makes a "Conditional" offer
The University makes a conditional offer to the student based on their pending qualifications
University gives the student the option to upgrade their "Conditional" offer to "Unconditional", but only if they...
The University contacts the applicant, either via UCAS or directly, with the opportunity to convert the Conditional offer to an Unconditional offer – if, and only if, the student makes this their firm choice within 14 days…
Student makes this choice Firm within 14 days
The student accepts this offer within 14 days, and in doing so may have to decline choices where no offers have yet been received 🙁
University changes offer to Unconditional
The University changes the previous Conditional offer to an Unconditional offer
Why are “Conditional” UC offers so bad for students?
Students are forced to Reject other choices before receiving their offer
The 14 day stipulation can force applicants to abandon other choices before they’ve even received offers from all their university choices
Students are forced to make rushed decisions if they wish to accept this offer
The 14 day time frame for considering this option goes against all UCAS normal decision-making deadlines and puts undue pressure on the applicant to have to abandon other university choices
Students are encouraged to ignore UCAS guidance
UCAS guidance to students is to wait until they have received all their offers before confirming their Firm and Insurance choices. This encourages students to take their time and make informed decisions.
Students do not have the option of making this Unconditional offer their insurance choice
By forcing the applicant to make this choice Firm they remove the option of making the Unconditional offer their insurance choice
Students are prevented from holding an aspirational conditional Firm offer
By forcing the applicant to make this choice Firm they prevent the student placing an aspirational offer as their Firm choice
Students support network, Careers advisers / teachers / parents, are just not prepared for this new "Conditional" UC offer
How can the student’s support network be expected to help/advise the students when these new “Conditional” Unconditional offers have been sneaked in without any notice / publicity?
SACU submitted a FOIA request to UCAS find out.
We asked UCAS to supply the number of “Conditional” UC offers:
UCAS rejected our FOIA but did confirm the practices of
“Conditional” UC offers and will be publishing figures in Nov 2018: