What’s best for students’ decision making, their time at University and career? Edge Hill states its position on UCAS offers.
The practice of giving ‘Unconditional Offers’ to applicants, requiring them to make a university first choice in return for an immediate offer that ignores their exam achievements, has come in for fresh criticism. This week, as UCAS reported that the practice was spreading, England’s Education Secretary Damian Hinds said the news was “disturbing”, adding that “the systematic use of unconditional offers is not in the interest of students and they should not be used just to get people through the door.” UCAS also reported that more students with unconditional offers than those with conditional offers miss out on their predicted grades.
Edge Hill University is very clear about the advantages that conditional offers give to students, and does not issue unconditional offers in advance of exam grades.
Head of Student Recruitment, Simon Jenkins, said:
“At Edge Hill, we believe that going to university is a rewarding, life-changing decision and that choosing the right university is vital. Students should select where they are going to spend the next three years on the basis of which university and course is right for them, rather than which university is prepared to make an offer unconditional if a student chooses them.”
Edge Hill has always had a policy of not making unconditional offers to applicants who are sitting their A-Level, BTEC or equivalent qualifications for this reason.
“We are very conscious that exam grades are not just about getting into university,” said Simon. “We set what we believe are stretching entry requirements and we encourage applicants to work hard to achieve the very best grades that they can. It is also important to consider that pre-university exam grades, alongside a degree, are a major selling point to employers when the time comes to get a job. We have strong academic standards as a university and we want students who are passionate about their subject and who want to be part of an exciting and dynamic community of lecturers and like-minded students. We also want students who are committed to their own success. For that reason, we will not compromise our standards by making unconditional offers to applicants in order to encourage them to come to us regardless of the grades they achieve.”
Third year Geography student Max Beaton turned down two unconditional offers from other universities to take up a place at Edge Hill. He said:
“I chose Edge Hill as my firm choice as I could see myself studying and living here. The unconditional offers didn’t really sway my choice – visiting Edge Hill on open days and applicant days definitely sold the University to me and allowed me to talk to students and staff and get a real feel for the place.
“I do think I made the right choice. Being a student here and being a member of the Edge Hill community actually exceeded my initial expectations.”
Max advises students starting off on their application journey to choose the university that is best for them.
“Unconditional offers do look great and very encouraging and the university might really want you to choose them, but if it’s not the right choice for you, no matter what they are offering, you have to do what is best for you,” added Max.