University admissions: Sharp rise in unconditional offers ‘makes institutions look desperate’

The Independent is reporting that a leading head has warned the sharp rise in universities giving unconditional offers of places to sixthformers makes institutions look “desperate” and risks making students “sit back and twiddle their thumbs.

Peter Hamilton, head of The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Hertfordshire, told an education conference that he was concerned at the sharp rise in unconditional offers which saw a  93 per cent increase last year.

The number of unconditional offers rose from 12,100 in 2014 to 23,400 in 2015.

They now account for 2.5 per cent of all offers, and around one in 12 applicants now receive at least one unconditional offer.

It used to be relatively rare for universities to make unconditional offers. Between 2008 and 2013 fewer than one per cent of all offers were unconditional…

Suzanne O’Farrell, Curriculum and Assessment Specialist at ASCL, the headteachers’ union, said: “I think it is a worrying trend. Students who have an unconditional offer can definitely slack off and this can have an impact on their performance which is not the best preparation for higher education…

More at: University admissions: Sharp rise in unconditional offers ‘makes institutions look desperate’


Well, they look desperate because they probably are desperate to get as many paying students as possible. 

I can’t help wonder if we will look back on this period and wonder if we did our young people any favours in encouraging so many of them through the current system of higher education.

More specifically, what do you think of the growth in unconditional offers – do you welcome them for easing stress or worry they result in students underperforming?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. JanPrimrose

    SchoolsImprove It’s all about £9000 a year and backsides on seats. Universities are taking the money and running. Awful.

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