You might have heard in the news lately that lots of people are talking about a thing called “unconditional offers”. In terms of UCAS applications, this means a university you have applied for has read your application and decided they like you enough to offer you a place right away, no matter the grades you get at the end of the year.
Beware though, the word “unconditional” might be misleading.
In this sense, an unconditional offer might be (ironically) on the condition that you make the university in question your firm choice, essentially ditching all of your other options. If you’re the type to like a sure-bet, who maybe doesn’t perform their best under exam stress and who would really be happier all-round to know they have a guaranteed university place waiting for them, this could be a really great thing.
But it is absolutely not the best option for everyone. Listen to us when we say: do not feel pressured into making a university your firm choice. By anyone.
After all, you’re the one who’s got to live/study/work/play there for 3+ years of your life. So any decisions need to be your own, and you need to be sure that they’re the right ones for you. Not your parents, your teachers, your friends, or the university who’s offering you a guaranteed place, whether it’s your top choice or not.
And if it’s not your top choice? You probably shouldn’t even consider taking the unconditional offer. A university has taken a look at your application and your personal statement, and they’re enthusiastic enough about you to offer you an unconditional place, no matter what happens with your exams and coursework.
Think about it. If they like you that much now, before you’ve even considered cramming for your exams next year, chances are they’re going to be just as desperate for you after results day.
There may be some situations where this kind of unconditional offer is a really great thing. If the university that has offered you an “unconditional” place is your love-at-first-sight, only one for you, uni of your dreams, then fab. Go for it.
If it’s a uni you’re not sure on but would be happy to attend if your other options didn’t pan out, then don’t be pressured. Sit on the offer – remember that you’re the one holding all the cards.
Worst case scenario, you don’t take any “unconditional” offers. You don’t meet the grades for your conditional places, and even your best Apprentice-worthy haggling can’t nab you a place this time around.
Even that’s not the end of the world. You get the chance to take a year out, and that in itself has endless possibilities. You could retake some exams to be in a better grade position, work for the year, travel, volunteer… for more ideas, take a look here.
By the time the next year’s UCAS applications roll around, you’ll already have your grades, plus you’ll have a phenomenal personal statement filled with all the great things you did with your year out.
Whatever you choose to do, whether it’s taking an unconditional offer, waiting for results or taking a year out, make sure you remember that it’s your decision, and your life. No need to rush it.
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