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‘I felt more likely to fail’: We spoke to Lancs students who got unconditional offers

It’s not as easy as it seems

Lancaster University is not alone in its generosity when it comes to its unconditional offer scheme. However, students applying to university this year should be aware that the government have begun criticising the frequent use of unconditional offers across the country, as well as how they are used in general.

In the last admissions cycle, universities made a record 137,700 offers with an unconditional element to 18-year-old students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, up from just 2,985 in 2013.

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The most controversial type of unconditional offers are arguably those which only become unconditional when they are put as the persons first choice. This is because they can be seen as a way to encourage students provided that ditch all of their other offers.

However, a completely different view is often held by students who hold these offers. A first-year law student, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Lancaster Tab that her unconditional offer felt like a very special opportunity that came as "such a relief".

She said that the security of an unconditional offer was a reassurance but didn't effect her work ethic. "I still worked 4-6 hours a day while studying. Receiving the unconditional offer didn't change how motivated I was, the only thing it did change was why I wanted to do well, not for Uni like most people but for me."

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The unconditional offer also helped her settle in much faster than with a regular offer. "I was able to start picturing my new life and come to terms with it at least two months before I otherwise would. This made the whole process feel less daunting and less rushed."

She also added that at the beginning of term the she was conscious of her capabilities as a student with lower grades than other students. "At the beginning of term lots of Lecturers etc. would say stuff like 'you wouldn't be here if you weren't capable' and because I didn't do as well as I wanted to do in my a levels I sometimes felt not as capable as others and more likely to fail."

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When asked if she felt it was irresponsible for the university to hand out so many unconditional offers, particularly if they result in overcrowding in some lectures such as in Psychology, she responded by saying that: "The job of the Uni is to ensure each student gets the same level of education and opportunity since we are all paying the same for it."

"Providing an environment where some students have to make sacrifices (no matter how small) because of the actions of the Uni is doing a disservice to the students."

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"Overall, I think unconditional offers are a good thing, for me it made all the work I had done for the rest of the two years pay off and mean something, which ended up motivating me even more."

"However, finding out the number that the Uni gave out somewhat takes away from that feeling of pride and accomplishment because it feels less earned because of hard work."

The results of an instagram poll on the Lancaster Tab's instagram story show that 59% of people that responded got an unconditional offer from Lancaster University, making them the majority.

According to the survey there was a wide range of subjects that gave out unconditional offers that were accepted by Lancaster students such as Biology, English, Management, Geography, Computer Science, Media, Law, Psychology, History and Chemical Engineering.

The most popular subjects to offer unconditional offers were English and Geography, closely followed by Management, Law and History.