Research on unconditional offers

Posted by: Media Officer, Posted on: Categories: Higher Education, Universities

The Office for Students (OfS) has today reiterated its warning that unconditional offers do not act in students’ best interests, as research shows those who receive them are less likely to progress into the second year of their university courses.

Unconditional offers are given by universities to pupils ahead of them sitting their A level exams. They have long been associated with lowered performance at A level but research published today by the OfS shows A-level entrants who accepted an unconditional offer in 2017-18 had a continuation rate between 0.4 and 1.1 percentage points lower than would have been expected had they taken up a conditional offer instead.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“It is deeply concerning that students who accept direct and conditional unconditional offers are less likely to continue on to the second year of their course.

“The Universities Minister has been clear there is no justification for conditional unconditional offers and the practice should be eradicated. Students should not be pressured into decisions that are not in their best interests and they are not able to succeed in.

“We welcome the Office for Students’ strong action to eradicate these admissions practices during this period. Universities should also make sure their students are fully supported to complete their studies and go on to graduate work.”

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