Unconditional offers rise by more than 3,900% in five years

New research conducted by the Office for Students highlights concerns over the increasing trend for unconditional offers, with 111,700 offered in 2018 compared to just 3,000 in 2013.

Evidence reveals that: 

  applicants who accept an unconditional offer are more likely to miss their predicted A-level grades by two or more grades

  applicants from the areas with the lowest higher education participation rates are more likely to receive an unconditional offer because they are more likely to apply to the types of university that are making unconditional offers in greater numbers.

More worrying is the trend for the ‘conditional unconditional’ where the applicant has to make the offer their firm choice for the offer to become unconditional. In 2018, 66,000 such offers were made to 18-year-olds compared to none detected in 2013.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said: “We are concerned about the rapid rise in unconditional offers, particularly those with strings attached which are akin to pressure selling. It is plainly not in students’ interests to push them to accept an offer that may not be their best option.”