University Choices: Firm Choices

Applying to university is one of the most difficult things to do. Although the process itself is easy enough as it only requires you to log onto UCAS and submit your application and write your own personal statement, the difficulty can come from having to make choices about which universities to go to, which ones to have as a backup and what you need to have as your first choice. Luckily, we’ve compiled a useful guide to help you with your university choices, in this article, we’ll look at firm choices, so dive in and get learning!

What is a Firm Choice?

When you go to university, you need to select a firm choice. Essentially speaking, this is the university that you are most likely to attend when you receive your exam results on A-Level Results Day. This means that when your results are out (And you have achieved what is expected of you) that is where you will be going.

Can I change my firm choice?

You can, but this is a very difficult, painful and annoying process to have to go through. You will need to inform UCAS and the university that you have selected that you no longer consider them to be your firm choice. With this in mind, you will need to keep an eye on UCAS Track, you will need to make sure that you have alternate arrangements with other universities, or if you’re planning on taking a gap year, that you inform both UCAS and your university of this decision.

What if I decide that I don’t want to go to my firm choice?

This is a common occurrence for people. Sometimes people change their minds, but as we explained above, it isn’t as easy as you’d think. Sometimes people have both a Firm Choice and an Insurance Choice. An insurance choice is there to serve as insurance (Funny, right?) for the unthinkable scenario of you not getting into the university that you had first thought. Although switching from your firm choice to your insurance choice, is also filled with difficulty, too, so be sure to be absolutely sure when you make your university choices.

What if I don’t get into my firm choice?

This is why you have insurance choices. Insurance choices are created with the express purpose of making sure that you have a university to go to when all is said and done. Now, just because you have an insurance choice, doesn’t mean that you have to go there, although you will need to let your insurance choice know that you will not be going there.

Let’s look at an example, shall we? If your firm choice was that of the University of Manchester, but you did not achieve the grades required to go there, you can do a number of things. Join up with your insurance choice, go through Clearing, which will allow you to see a number of universities that are open to you and have a number of different courses for students that did not achieve the grades that they thought they would get (The opposite of this, is Adjustment, which allows you to apply to higher grade universities) or you can take a gap year, which is a popular thing for students to do, and you can focus on retaking your exams during a gap year to improve your grades and re-apply next year.

How do I choose my firm choice for university?

Only you can know this really. It depends on what you want to study and who offers the best facilities for that course. For instance, if you want to study a Filmmaking degree at university, it is best to see the universities with the best facilities for this. For instance, universities like Bournemouth University, offer great filmmaking services, whereas universities like UCFB, who don’t even teach the subject, are obviously unable to offer you what you need. With this in mind, we recommend that you take a look around at the options around you, visit the universities (See below), check out the previous testimonies from former students, check out what the universities various stats are, do they have high graduation rates etc? Also, you can check out university rankings and see what is working for you. Maybe you want to see what the universities with the best nightlife are, or you want to study near a beach, so check out the best coastal universities. There are hundred of options for you!

Should I go to any open days that my first choice is running?

Absolutely you should! Going to a university open day means that you will learn more about the university, its facilities, meet the tutors and see what the university is about. This also helps you in other ways too. If you are required to have a university admissions interview, then you will need to learn as much as you possibly can about the university so that you can send off the right signals in your interview. An open day also gives you a chance to see the surrounding area too, so you can see what the city is like, or what the local accommodation is like when you move there. There are plenty of reasons to go to a university open day!

So there you have it! The ins and outs of firm university choices. You will need to have a firm choice and you will need to make sure that you’ve done your research, attended the open days and made sure that your UCAS application is all up-to-date. The more that you focus on getting the choice right, the more you’ll know what to expect on A-Level Results Day because you won’t need to worry about whether or not you’re going to a university that you want to actually go to. So with everything in mind, make sure that you enjoy your time at university and that you’re prepared for all the wonderful things that university can open you up to, good luck!