There are lots of different types of university offers, find out what’s the difference between a conditional, a conditional unconditional, and a contextual offer below.
A conditional offer means that you have a place at the university so long as you meet the entry requirements for the university – meeting a certain number of UCAS points/letter grade requirements. Offers vary from university to university and student to student, with some universities offering reduced grade requirements. There are often conditions regarding your grades, so for example, you may be given a conditional offer to study Economics with the grades ABC, with an ‘A’ grade in Maths or Economics or 140 UCAS Tariff points including a BTEC National Diploma grade DD.
An unconditional offer means that you have a place at that university regardless of your final grades. This type of offer is often given to mature students/students on a gap year who have already received their grades so there are no more requirements for them to complete.
If you accept this offer you are committing to attending the university, you can’t add an insurance choice. If you decide later on that you don’t want to go to that university you have to ask the university to release you into Clearing where you can find a new place. Although the offer is regardless of grades it’s still important to work hard as some employers take A-Levels into consideration when hiring.
Conditional Unconditional Offers
A conditional unconditional offer is an unconditional offer with some strings attached. Lots of universities offer students unconditional offers, but only if they put them as their firm choice. If you receive this type of offer and place the university as your insurance choice it will be conditional.
In 2019 one in four university applicants (64,825) received a conditional unconditional offer in 2019, an increase from the 53,355 in 2018. Media has the highest proportion of conditional unconditional offers (15.5%), followed by humanities and liberal arts (13.6%).
Contextual offers recognise that academic potential is not always indicated in grades and considers how personal circumstances may have impacted achievement. Contextual offers often offer a grade reduction below the standard entry requirements for the course. For example, the ordinary required grades might be AAA, but if a student had attended a state school from a lower socio-economic background a contextual offer of ABB could be made based on the circumstances of the student. Typical criteria include one or more of the following:
- First generation higher education students (the first in their immediate family to attend university)
- Students from low socio-economic groups
- Students from schools with low progression
- Students living in low-participation neighbourhoods
- Students who have spent time in care
- Students who are refugees or asylum seekers
- Students who have participated in Access to University/Widening Participation programmes
Unsuccessful or Withdrawn Choices
Unsuccessful means that the university has decided not to offer you a place. Sometimes they give a reason, other times they do not. If they haven’t given a reason you can contact them and ask if they’ll talk to you about it. A Withdrawn choice means that either you or the university has withdrawn your application. A university will withdraw if you haven’t replied by the deadline.
Didn’t receive any offers? Don’t panic! You can still apply to new universities. Find out more here.