University Offers Explained

We frequently receive questions from students and parents asking to help decode university offers. It can be a confusing topic (and a stressful period), especially if you’re navigating it for the first time.

About University Applications:

In the UK, most university and higher education applications are made via UCAS – the University and College Admission Service. For courses starting in September 2022, the deadline to apply to Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry & veterinary science courses is 15th October 2021. The deadline for the majority of courses is 15th January 2022. However, we always recommend leaving enough time to prepare a quality application and not rushing it.


Offer Types:


Once you’ve applied to your chosen universities, you will start to hear back from them. There are typically three types of response you will receive from a university or college:


  • Unconditional
  • Conditional
  • Unsuccessful or withdrawn


So, what do these mean?


This means you have a place and have already met the entry requirements. This is often given to students who have applied to university after receiving their A-Level results and are on a gap year, or, to outstanding students still waiting to take their exams.


However, make sure you check the offer fully, in case there are any criteria or things you need to do. The great thing about being made an unconditional offer is that even if you’re still waiting to take your exams, your results won’t affect the offer. It’s also worth bearing in mind, that if you do accept an unconditional offer, you are unable to make an insurance choice, so be certain that you want to study there before committing your response.


A conditional offer means that you will have a place at that university, as long as you meet the conditions set out in the letter. This is generally exam results, for example, AAB in specific subjects, a set number of UCAS points, or International Baccalaureate Diploma points.


The university will clearly state in your letter what the conditions of your offer are. If you firmly accept the offer, a conditional offer can be changed to an unconditional by the university. For the vast majority of students, conditional offers mean waiting for results day to find out if they are going to their first or insurance choice university.

Unsuccessful or Withdrawn

A withdrawn status indicates that the university has either withdrawn that course choice, or you have withdrawn your application to that university. The exact reason will show up in your UCAS Track account.


Unsuccessful is given when a university has unfortunately decided to not offer a place on that course. You may get a reason for this, but if you don’t, you can contact the university to discuss the decision with you.


If you’d like to discuss university applications with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing We provide numerous resources aimed at helping students succeed. These range from providing mock interviews and drafting assistance for personal statements as well as insights for those applying for Oxford and Cambridge.

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+44 (0) 207 117 2835

Berkeley Square House,

35 Berkeley Square Mayfair,

London, W1J 5BF