Students aspiring to study at top UK universities could look forward to unconditional offers as of next year.
The University of Birmingham is piloting a scheme that increases the number of unconditional offers made to undergraduate students before they sit their A-levels in an attempt to recruit the most promising. The move has been prompted by new government rules allowing universities to recruit extra students as long as they have received at least an A and two B grades.
“Offering places purely on predicted grades is disgusting”.
In light of Birmingham’s reaction – which saw more than 300 students given unconditional offers- some admissions officers are expecting other top universities to follow suit. The news has prompted negative feedback among critics who feel that unconditional offers mainly benefit private school students, who are more likely to be predicted higher grades at A-level.
Impact asked University of Nottingham students whether unconditional offers would make the application process unfair.
“If I was given an unconditional offer I wouldn’t bother working for my A-levels”.
Opinion was divided. “Offering places purely on predicted grades is disgusting,” says Jordan Edwards, a first year Creative and Professional Writing student. “No one will have any motivation to work anymore.”
Hollie Owens, a second year Politics student, adds, “I can see where universities are coming from in offering places to attract the best students, but if I was given an unconditional offer I wouldn’t bother working for my A-levels.”
Conversely, Marcus Oades, a first year, points out that the prospect of being given an unconditional place could encourage students to work hard during their AS-levels, adding, “It would take the pressure off students during their A-level year, which might mean they’d perform better anyway.”
“If every university starts giving unconditional offers, it will all even out again anyway”.
Birmingham’s decision to increase unconditional offers arose following information that it would make students more likely to accept a place. However, some students deny this.
Sanjana Parikh, a first year, says “If I had offers from two different universities and one was unconditional, I would still pick the one that was best for my subject.”
Zoe Ashton, a third year, points out, “If every university starts giving unconditional offers, it will all even out again anyway. I don’t think it will make any difference.”
Emma Rayner, Media Communications Manager at the University of Nottingham, asserts that the University has no plans to follow Birmingham’s lead, stating, “We can confirm that we only issue unconditional offers to those who have the necessary qualifications.”