With the university decision deadline looming, it’s that time of year that students have to start choosing their firm offers and insurance offers on UCAS. If you’re new to the university application process, let us explain what this means. Your firm choice is the place that you most want to go to. If you get an unconditional offer- you’re in! Congratulations. If you get a conditional offer, then there are conditions that you will have to meet in order to keep your place there. These are usually certain grades or UCAS points that you’ll need to achieve. On the other hand, your Insurance offer is the uni you want to go to if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice- it’s essentially your backup plan! But what is you you don’t want to go to your Insurance university? Well, today we’re here to discuss just that so, read on.
How many offers can I reply to on UCAS?
Unfortunately for students, you can’t reply to an unlimited amount of universities. When it comes to replying to offers on UCAS, you can only make two choices. That’s one firm and one insurance. What’s more, you can only have an insurance choice if your first choice is conditional. This is to prevent you from having to enter clearing if you don’t get the grades to meet your first choice. Read our guide on how to get more UCAS points if you are applying to university.
When do I have to make my decision by?
The good news is that you don’t have to make any rash decisions. However, replying after June 9th means that there is a higher chance that your choices will be declined. The general rule is that if you have received your last offer by the 19th of May then you need to reply by the 9th of June (unless you are using UCAS Extra.) However, if you received your last offer by the 14th of July, then you need to reply by the 21st of July. That includes those using Extra.
What to do if you didn’t receive any university offers?
What to do if you don’t want to go to your Insurance university
So, say you’re in this situation: you have an offer from your dream university for your dream degree but it’s conditional and you’re not sure if you’ll get the grades. You haven’t had offers from the other universities apart from one that you aren’t sure about. However, you have had to put it as your Insurance choice as it’s the only choice left. If this is the case for you, don’t stress. Here are some of your options.
You can enter UCAS Clearing
If you miss your firm choice on results day, then you can phone up your Insurance university and say that you wish to enter UCAS Clearing. Through clearing, you can hopefully find another university or degree that you would be happy with. However, it’s important to note that you cannot hold an insurance offer and enter clearing at the same time. Read our full guide to Clearing here for more information.
Retake your A Levels
If you are set on going to your firm offer but didn’t make the grades, then one option is to retake your A Levels. This isn’t ideal however, plenty of students do it. Likewise, you can fit revision into a gap year alongside a part-time job and some travelling if you fancy. If you decided to retake your A Levels then you would need to go through the university application process again. This means that you would have to enter university for the following academic year.
Reapply to university again with your confirmed grades.
Likewise, rather than accepting an Insurance offer for a university that you are not sure about, you may choose to reapply the following year once you have your confirmed grades. By applying once you have your grades, you’ll be able to receive unconditional offers from university. This would probably give you more clarity and will probably save a lot of stress. Remember that you are going to spend at least three years at university so it’s important that you don’t compromise and go somewhere you don’t want to.
Apply to do a Foundation Year
Furthermore, if you don’t get the grades to meet your first choice and you don’t want to go to your insurance uni, then you may want to look into doing a foundation year. In fact, your first choice university may offer foundation courses which could be a pathway to doing your degree there, without retaking your A Levels.
What if my UCAS offer changed from conditional to unconditional?
If your UCAS offer has changed from conditional to unconditional then you can breathe a sigh of relief! This means that you now have a place at your chosen university. In fact, an unconditional offer may change if the university entry requirements for the university change. This is fairly common for universites that have recieved lower or higher numbers of students applying.
It’s important to remember not to panic!
So, now you know what to do if you don’t want to go to your Insurance University. Applying to university can be incredibly stressful and can seem like the be all and end all- It’s not. When accepting your firm or insurance offers or even when entering into Clearing, it’s important to make sure that you are not feeling pressured into making any decisions. There is no harm in taking a year or two to reassess your options, reapply to uni or retake your exams. At the end of the day, you’re going to feel a lot better taking the time to think things through. Otherwise, you risk being stuck in a university you don’t like and potentially having to drop out. If you still have more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with student support at your sixth form, chosen university or via UCAS.