A study by UCAS has found that students given unconditional offers were 23 per cent more likely to miss their predicted results by two or more grades compared with those who received conditional offers. This year, many state schools asked universities not to make unconditional offers and now private schools are also concerned that it’s having a damaging effect on A-level results.
The number of unconditional offers has been rising over the past few years with more than 20 per cent of students now receiving at least one unconditional offer compared to just 1 per cent in 2013. Universities are keen to secure students and thus fees in a highly competitive market causing a rise in these types of offers. For students the advantage is that they have a definite offer removing the uncertainty of knowing where they will be heading after sixth form.
However, speaking to The Times Mike Buchanan, executive director of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) said some students “take their foot off the gas” acheiving poor grades that will stay with them for the rest of their careers. He added that these offers were only justifiable in a small number of cases such as pupils who were so anxious about exams that they risked underperforming or were so highly motivated that they did not need incentives to work hard.