What is a conditional offer?

Ben Maples  · Feb 29th 2024  · 3 min

A conditional offer is the most common offer a student will receive. It is an offer that often serves as the motivation you may need going into exam season!

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A student will have one of two different offers from universities. One is an unconditional, the other - a conditional offer. Let’s go through what a conditional offer is and what it means for your uni application.

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What is a conditional offer?

A conditional offer is exactly what it sounds like! It’s an offer that is made to a student by a university but it comes with some conditions. More specifically, it is an offer that depends on the grades that you will get in your A-Levels, BTEC or T Levels.

A conditional offer is a little different from the other kind of university offer you can receive, which is an unconditional offer. That, as the name suggests, is an offer that basically offers you a place on the course you are applying for regardless of your results.

So, what happens if I don't meet the terms of the conditional offer?

Unfortunately, not meeting the grades needed for a conditional offer means your application is automatically rejected. However, universities have been known to amend their offer. If on Results Day you don’t get the results but would really love to go to this uni, it’s worth giving them a ring - they may have a place for you. If you find this happens our article what happens if you’re rejected may offer you some advice.

Does a conditional offer mean that I’ve been accepted?

A conditional offer means that the university has accepted you as long as you meet the terms of the offer they set forward. When you receive your conditional offer, you won’t be accepted just yet - but you’re one step closer!

Before being accepted, conditional offers require you to meet the university entry requirements. Provided you achieve the grades the university expects you to achieve and have the required UCAS points, you will be accepted.

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How do I accept a conditional offer on UCAS?

You can easily accept your conditional offer through your UCAS Hub. When using UCAS, you can only accept two choices at a maximum, one firm offer and one insurance offer.

After that? Kick back, relax and enjoy a few weeks of freedom. Bliss.

Hang on… why’s my conditional offer changed to an unconditional offer?

A conditional offer may change if the university's entry requirements change. This may seem at odds with the name of the offer, but this is fairly common for universities that experience lower entry numbers from students.

This can also work in reverse. You may soon see your unconditional offer change into a conditional offer for the same reason.

Is a conditional offer final?

In most instances, yes. It's not always set in stone because, as mentioned above, universities have been known to change their requirements on rare occasions.

So, for all intents and purposes, consider a conditional offer as your final offer.

How long does a conditional offer last?

This will largely depend on the university. Generally, your offer will remain up to the final day of applications for that course. If you decide to retake your A-Levels or to take a gap year, then the offer will likely be rescinded until you re-apply.

You can ask for an extension, but this is unlikely to be granted except for mitigating circumstances. In this instance, you will need to supply relevant documentation to the university before they will consider this.

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