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Understanding conditional offers

Congratulations on getting a conditional offer! Here's what it means...

The waiting game is finally over and it's good news – you've received a conditional offer from a university! 

You'll be able to check those conditions when you log into Ucas, but there's a few different ways they could look. Here's the lowdown...

My offer is given with grades

Most unis give out conditional offers using the grades system, which means you need to achieve specific grades in the exams stated in your Ucas form. If you get an offer of AAB and you get those grades (or higher) in your exams, then you're in! 

But if you don't get those grades then the university doesn't have to accept you, although they might if you only just missed out.

Sometimes you'll need to get a certain grade in a particular subject and this is usually if you're planning to study the same subject (or a related one) at university.

My offer is given with Ucas points

Some universities will give out offers using the Ucas tariff. Again, this means that you need to achieve this in the exams shown on your Ucas form.

Usually, a conditional offer with points will state how many A-levels the points need to come from. For example, it could say you need 80 points from a minimum of two A-levels (the equivalent of getting two Bs), but one of them has to be from a specific subject. 

If your offer isn't as specific, then you can include points from things like key skills or music qualifications. 

I'm an international student doing the IB

The International Baccalaureate is included in the Ucas tariff, so it's possible that you'll receive an offer with how many Ucas points you need. But it's more likely that you'll be given a score you need to get. You might also have to get a number of points in certain subjects.

It will be confirmed straight away if you meet your offer, as IB results are released before A-levels.

If you miss your offers, most universities will ask you to wait until A-level results day to see if they can offer you a place - they need to see how many offers have been met before they can take on any additional students.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to get an offer?

It depends. You could get an offer the week after you submit your form, or you could be waiting months. If you applied on or before 31 January 2024, unis have to get back to you by 16 May. 

Should I worry if I'm waiting a long time?

No, you have no reason to worry. It can be annoying when everyone else has offers and you don't, but you'll hear back eventually. 

I applied close to the deadline - am I going to get any offers?

All applications received before the January deadline are treated as equal. Things work a bit differently if you missed the deadline, though. 

My offer is different to the standard offer. Why?

Unis can vary the offers they send out, but the fact you've received one means they want you. Don't get too disheartened by the conditions – they only give out offers that they think you can achieve.

Can offers include other conditions?

Universities can make offers conditional on pretty much anything they choose. For certain medicine courses – or ones that involve working with children – your offer may be conditional on clearing a DBS check or occupational health assessments.

Your offer might be dependent on your results from any GCSE resits. If you're retaking GCSEs at the same time as taking your A-levels, you'll need to wait a little longer before finding out if you've achieved your offer. This is because GCSE results are released a week after A-level results.

What if I drop a subject after submitting my Ucas form?

You will need to contact Ucas, but they'll probably say you need to notify your choices. The uni will be able to change their offer after you've done this, although they might even change a previous offer into a rejection.

Can I lose my offer?

Generally speaking, no – your offer is locked in once it's on Ucas. However, you could lose your offer if you lied on your Ucas application. Unis can also change or remove their offer if you decide to change your subjects.

What about interviews?

Interviews are not shown on Ucas Hub, so there will be no change. If you have been invited to interview, you will either receive an email or a letter. You'll probably need to reply to confirm your attendence, so if you get an interview make sure you read things thouroughly.

Interviews are shown on Ucas Hub as an "invitation" which can then be accepted or declined. They will most likely contact you via email or letter after you accept the invitation.

I've withdrawn my choice. What will Hub look like?

If you change your mind after applying, you can withdraw a choice. Remember that if you do this, you cannot change your mind again later and reinstate your choice. If you are not completely sure, then it's better to wait as you can always turn down an offer if you receive one.

What about unconditional offers?

These are mostly given to students who have already achieved their grades. Since your offer is unconditional, then you don't have to worry about anything. If you choose to put this offer as your firm, then you are definitely going there! You can't choose an insurance choice if your firm is unconditional, but you can choose a conditional firm and an unconditional insurance though.

What happens next?

You need to wait until you have received decisions from all of your choices. Then, you will have to choose which offers you want to accept. It's worth learning more about firm and insurance choices.

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