University Choices: Insurance Choices

Insurance Choices can be a weird one for university students. The idea can bread familiar feelings of negativity with your university application or your UCAS application. The idea of not getting into your first choice university is almost unthinkable for many students, yet it’s surprising just how many students end up having to use their insurance choices as they can’t get into their first, firm choices.  So let’s dive right in and have a look at what exactly insurance choices are and how they work!

What is an Insurance Choice?

Straight in, no messing around! An Insurance Choice is a choice that you make before going to university. Essentially, an insurance choice is there as “insurance” (Get it?) to ensure that you have a university to go to if your first choice does not work out for you or you are turned down from going to that university – from not meeting the university’s entry requirements.

How many insurance choices can I have?

You can only pick one insurance choice, although you can apply for five different universities, at any one time. The insurance choice is different from your other choices as this is one that you will be automatically applied to if your application to your firm choice isn’t accepted.

How do I select my insurance choices?

The best thing to do is to think about your overall UCAS application. Your first choice should have higher entry requirements than that of your insurance choice, otherwise, what is the point of having an insurance choice?

Let’s look at an example, shall we? If you’re applying to go to the University of Hull, to study a Mathematics degree, and it has an entry requirement of 130 UCAS points, then your insurance choice will need to have a lower UCAS entry points intake for this to have a better chance of getting in. For instance, if you apply to the University of Leicester, then make sure it has realistic entry requirements, otherwise, you will be wasting your time.

Should I go to an open day for my insurance choice?

You should always visit open days. The best thing for you to do is to go to as many university open days as you possibly can and then picking the ones that you liked. With this in mind, your firm choice should be your favourite university, your insurance choice your second favourite and so on and so forth. Always visit the university that you’re applying to, this will help you with any university interviews that you may have and it will also allow you to make a decision regarding facilities etc. Never ever just take a gamble, because if you end up hating your university, then you will need to end up going through Mitigation and that is, in the immortal words of Simon Foster for In the Loop, “Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult”.

Is an insurance choice mandatory?

Yes. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to attend if your first choice doesn’t work out, you can still go on a gap year, or if you feel you want to improve your exam results, you can retake your exams during a gap year and go from there.

Can I change my firm choice and go to my insurance choice?

This is a very difficult thing to do. Like, trying to break out of Fort Knox, difficult Okay, maybe it’s not quite that hard, but it is certainly tricky. Basically, there are a whole bunch of hoops that you need to jump through to make this happen, so let’s look at them.

If you want to leave your firm choice, you need to check your application. If you have made your firm choice less than seven days ago, then you will need to change this via UCAS, which can only be done by calling them, not through the website.

If you applied more than a week ago, you will need to check what the situation is on UCAS Track. If your firm offer still has a status of “Unconditional Offer”, then you can’t apply for an alternative course yet. You will need to call your firm choice and request that they reject you (It’s nowhere near as harsh as it sounds, so don’t worry too much) which will allow you to move to your insurance choice.

Can I change my insurance choice?

You can indeed. You will need to go through a process known as Clearing. But before you start this, you will need to ask your insurance choice to release you, if your offer is unconditional. If your offer is conditional, they will need to reject you. You then need to go through the Clearing process.

How do I change my first choice and my insurance choice?

This is remarkably straightforward. You’ll need to inform your firm choice that you’re not going to that university and that you don’t want to go to your Insurance Choice either, this prevents them from passing on your application to your insurance offer, although you should contact them and inform them, too, you will then need to enter the Clearing process.

How common is it for students to go to their insurance choice?

According to UCAS figures, it’s the least likely choice that students make. According to the most recent figures, 55% of applicants ended up at their firm university choice, 16% of people were still yet to make a decision, 24% were in the Clearing process and a staggeringly low 4% of students were placed with their insurance offer on the opening of Results Day. These percentages are obviously taken for the opening day of A-Level Results Day, but remember that you are able to change what happens. If you find yourself going through Clearing because of poor grades, you can correct them in a gap year, as mentioned above.

So those are the ins and outs of insurance choices. They work very differently from your first choice and are mandatory for your overall application. Make sure that you have made the right choice with this and make sure that you haven’t just chosen something that has a lower application threshold, be sure to take your time, choosing. Good luck!