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Study abroad : Applying to University

What your university offer means

An offer from your university is great news but did you know there are different types. We look at what each means and what you may need to do.

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During the university application process, there are a lot of terms you may not be familiar with. Terms like 'clearing' 'scholarships' and 'bursaries' are just some you’ll find when applying to different universities. Some of the most important language of university applications relates to your offer. It can be difficult to understand what your university offer means as there are a few different types of offers you can receive. 


Depending on the university and country you’re applying to study in, these terms may differ slightly, however, there are some general terms that you can find almost anywhere. 


Here is what your university offer means. 


A ‘conditional offer’ 


When applying to a university, there are certain requirements that you have to meet. These requirements change depending on the university and country you want to study in. That's also the case for the course or degree you're aiming to study. However, there will always be some basic requirements. 


From having a relevant educational background and getting the needed grades to showing an interest in the course, there are several ways that a university will measure whether you're right for a degree. 


If a student meets or is on track to meet these requirements, they will receive an offer from the university. The most common of these is what is known as a 'conditional offer'.  


This type of offer means the university has acknowledged that they believe you’d be able to study for a particular course or degree and that they're happy to accept you. However, it is only valid if you meet the entry requirements outlined in the application process. 


This usually means getting a particular grade, even while you’re still waiting for the results of your final exams. In the UK, for example, there is the University and Colleges Admission Service. This service allows students to apply for the universities and courses they want. They use a point system that lets universities specify the number a student needs to be accepted. In this case, a 'conditional offer' would depend on a student hitting that number of points. 


Universities make it very clear what is required of you, so you'll be aware of the requirements for an 'unconditional offer'. 


Find out more about your options if you don't get the results you need


An ‘unconditional offer’ 


This is a great offer to receive from a university but is certainly less common than a 'conditional offer'. An 'unconditional offer' means that you have a place at a university, on the course or degree you have chosen, should you want it. An offer like this may come after you’ve passed an admissions test or interview and have already shown the university that you’d be a good candidate. 


It’s important to note that, even though an 'unconditional offer' means you have a place at the university if you want it, you may need to complete additional tasks beforehand. The university may request particular documents or require certain background checks, but they will make this clear during the process. 


Students should know that accepting an 'unconditional offer' means that they’ve agreed to attend that university and will be declining offers from other universities. This differs from a 'conditional offer' as, even though you can accept them, things can still change depending on whether you meet their requirements. 


Have you been accepted by a university abroad? Here is everything you need to know about applying for a student visa


An unsuccessful application 


Sometimes, your university application will be unsuccessful. This means that the institution won't offer you a place under any circumstances. This can be for several reasons, from not meeting the entry requirements to missing the application deadline. 


In most cases, the university will let you know why it was unsuccessful. If for whatever reason, they haven’t made it clear why you weren’t offered a place, you can contact them and find out more. 


Though it may be painful, doing so can be a good idea. It allows you to avoid making the same mistakes with future applications to different universities. 


Finding out that you’re not getting into your chosen university can be very disappointing, and it’s normal to feel down about it. However, you must keep in mind that there are so many other universities and courses that might be right for you. 


Sometimes, an unsuccessful application is just a case of the university already filling all their spots for that course. In these circumstances, you shouldn’t get too down and shouldn’t let it put you off university altogether. The perfect course may still be out there for you. 


A withdrawn offer 


An application will show as withdrawn for several reasons. An application can be withdrawn by both the applicant and the university because: 


● you’ve accepted an offer at another university 

● you didn’t mean the requirements of your 'conditional offer' 

● you missed an interview or test 

● you didn’t respond to an email or phone call in time 


The university will usually give a reason why your application is showing as withdrawn. If you’ve accepted another place at a university and see your other applications shown as withdrawn, that’s okay. However, if the status of the university you want to attend has suddenly changed to withdrawn, contact them as soon as possible. 


Applying to university can get confusing. With so many words and phrases used, it’s easy to feel a little lost. Understanding what your university offers means is vital, as it can mean the difference between attending your dream university and not. 


Want to know more about the application process? Take a look at these common application mistakes to avoid. 

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