Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: Number of unconditional offers made by Northern Ireland universities

Northern Ireland universities offer only a small number of unconditional places.
Northern Ireland universities offer only a small number of unconditional places.

Only 10 unconditional offers were made to students at Northern Ireland universities last year, new figures show.

For the first time the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) published detailed of those students given a guarantee of a place - regardless of their A-Level, or comparative qualification, results.

The report shows there has been a "significant year-on-year" increase since 2012.

Across the UK almost 68,000 students received a totally unconditional offer of a place from some 140 universities in 2018 - over a third of all those that applied for a place. That was an increase from around 3,000 in 2013 or just 2%.

In 2018, 18% of all offers recorded as unconditional were in creative arts and design, the report say, compared to 0.3% for medicine and dentistry courses.

For Northern Ireland universities, the data shows Queen's University made five unconditional offers out of 12,950 places on offer.

Ulster University also made five out of 12,860.

The UCAS report says institutions are aware of this and some offer additional incentives, such as a bursary or scholarship to students who go on to perform well in their exams after receiving an unconditional offer.

"However it remains the case that applicants who hold an unconditional offer as their firm choice are more likely to miss their predicted A-level grades by two or more points, compared to those who are holding a conditional offer as their firm choice," the report says.

Research covering the 2013 to 2018 admissions cycles indicates applicants holding an unconditional firm offer were between seven and 13% more likely to miss their predicted attainment by two or more grades.

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