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Unconditional Offers: An outdated practice?

We investigated how students reacted to the news that UoN will no longer be offering unconditional offers.

Following the press release that the University of Nottingham has decided to end unconditional offers from this September, Impact went out to get the student response to the news.

Started in 2014, the University believed that their High Achievers scheme initially helped to attract applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds but now is seen as “no longer relevant” due to the high numbers of unconditional offers applicants receive from different universities.

“In 2018, the University of Nottingham made 3,150 unconditional offers from a total of 52,000 offers”

In 2018, the University of Nottingham made 3,150 unconditional offers from a total of 52,000 offers, accepting 839 students on unconditional offers from a total intake of 14,000 (6%). UCAS also revealed a nation-wide increase in unconditional offers to 18-year-olds from 2,985 in 2013 to 67,915 in 2018, demonstrating the believed over-use and irrelevance of the admissions policy.

“64% of students were in favour of the decision with only 36% in disagreement”

When asked if they agreed with the university’s plan of action, 64% of students were in favour of the decision with only 36% in disagreement. The university recognised that by having an unconditional offer “some pupils may lose motivation at a critical period in their studies” and Edward, a second-year Architecture and Environmental Engineering student, agrees with this statement that “people with unconditionals often tend to slack at A-Levels, so by only giving conditional offers, students will work to their best potential.”

“Hopefully this will help to regulate the intake of university students in the future”

The University of Nottingham has also been under pressure to accommodate a greater number of students on campus with the recent creation of Beeston Hall, many considering the oversubscription linked to the number of unconditional offers taken up. When asked about the removal of unconditional offers, Mark, a second-year Philosophy student, said that “hopefully this change will help to regulate the intake of university students in the future.”

The University of Nottingham Registrar, Dr Paul Greatrix, said “we want everyone to be fully confident that they are admitted purely on their merits and potential” and in response to this, Freya, a second-year Architecture student, believes that stopping unconditionals “will give UoN a more prestigious title”, making it a more attractive and high-achieving Russell Group university.

“ending unconditional offers removes a sense of security for students at a daunting and difficult time”

However, due to the already highly competitive nature of the university, Sophie, a third-year English student, believes that “some students without this opportunity may not have the self-belief to make it to the University of Nottingham” so “ending unconditional offers removes any sense of security for students at a daunting and difficult time. Whilst it is true that university staff want the best possible candidates […] grades are only part of the story.”

Katie Moncur

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Images courtesy of Impact Images.

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