ASCL comment on rise in unconditional offers

17/12/2019
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on UCAS statistics which show that ‘conditional unconditional’ offers continue to rise.
 
Commenting on UCAS statistics showing that ‘conditional unconditional’ offers continue to rise, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

It is infuriating that universities have apparently responded to calls to end the use of certain types of unconditional offers by making more of them. There are circumstances in which unconditional offers are appropriate, but not when the offer is made on condition that the student makes the university their firm choice. This practice has more to do with the frenetic scramble to put ‘bums on seats’ than the best interests of students. It results in many young people taking their foot off the pedal in their A levels, doing less well than they should, and potentially damaging their future employment prospects. It also encourages them to choose university courses which may not be their best option. 

It is good that students are now less likely to accept this type of unconditional offer than previously and suggests that young people are increasingly aware that the easy choice is not necessarily the best choice. But the students who are most vulnerable to this inducement are likely to be those who are less confident, and this will include young people from disadvantaged backgrounds for whom university is a daunting prospect. We need to make sure that these students in particular realise their full potential in all their qualifications and that they choose university courses which best suit their aptitudes and interests. Universities must make offers based on these priorities rather than on marketing considerations.”