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Articles > Life January, 28, 2015

Top tips for making your firm and insurance choices

Which? University
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You’ve written your personal statement, pondered at prospectuses and finally submitted your UCAS application. While you wait for your offers to come in, we teamed up with our good friends over at Which? University to bring you some top tips when it comes to making your firm and insurance choices.

1. Review your offers – and don’t rush it.
  • Take some time to revisit your course and university options, especially if it’s been a while since you sent off your UCAS application.
  • Re-familiarise yourself with the course description and modules on offer – the course content needs to match up with what you’re looking for from a course.
  • Make sure you’re happy with the university, you’ll be spending a lot of time there and it’s likely that a lot of you will be far from the comfort of your own home.
  • Once you receive your last decision back from the universities you’ve applied to, you’ll typically have a few weeks before you need to reply to your offers (check Track for your deadline – this will depend on when you submitted your application) – so if you haven’t already, go on an open day, or at least suss out the general area.

Things to ask yourself:

Will you be happy studying this course for the next three years?

Have you visited the university? It’s the best way to get a ‘feel’ for whether you could see yourself studying and living there for the next few years – a prospectus can only tell you so much.

  • Make sure that you have seen both universities that you’re going to put down as firm and insurance, and that you do want to go to either of the two!
  • Once you receive your last decision back from the universities you’ve applied to, you’ll typically have a few weeks before you need to reply to your offers (check Track for your deadline – this will depend on when you submitted your application) – so if you haven’t already, go on an open day, or at least suss out the general area.
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Choices choices choices…

2. Making your firm choice – your firm choice should be your first choice.
  • If you meet the conditions of your firm offer, then the place is yours – so make sure your firm choice is the course and university you most want to go to (and not just the higher grade course you’ve been offered).
  • Is the offer achievable? Before you make your firm choice, ask yourself if you’ve got a realistic chance of meeting it. Many universities will make offers above predicted grades, so it’s important to be realistic. Talk through the grades you’re likely to achieve with your teachers.
  • Having an achievable firm choice doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim high but, if you choose a firm choice that’s going to really challenge you, then it’s all the more important to choose your insurance with great care.
  • Is the offer flexible? It’s also worth weighing up how flexible the course offer might be. While in theory you’ll only secure the place if you meet your offer, in practice, some universities will accept ‘near-miss’ applicants.

TOP TIP:

  • You can get an idea of what students on the course actually achieved (versus the entry requirements the university asked for) by looking at the ‘typical Ucas points’ achieved and the ‘most common grades’ sections on any course page on Which? University.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the universities themselves! Use open days as an opportunity to get it from the horse’s mouth.
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By DLD College

 

3. Making an insurance choice – Your insurance choice should normally be a lower grade offer
  • Your insurance choice should act as your ‘back-up’ option if you don’t get the grades you were expecting.
  • If you choose to make an insurance choice, in most cases you should choose an offer with lower grades. If your results are lower than expected, you may meet the conditions of an insurance and you’ll have a place confirmed.
  • According to advisers, there’s a common misconception that your firm and insurance choices are interchangeable – but there is no swapping between your firm and insurance once the decision is made, so make sure you are totally happy with you decision before making your final choice.
  • If there’s only one university that you really want to go to, then don’t put down an insurance choice – it’s optional.
  • If you put down an insurance, make sure that you have visited it and researched it well, so that you know if things don’t go to plan with your exams, you would be happy to go there.
  • If you have an insurance offer that you later decide you don’t like, it could delay your chance of finding something that you would prefer through Clearing.

Bear in mind:

Your insurance choice might not be able to guarantee you a place in their halls of residence, so you may have to find alternative student accommodation.

This article was originally published on Which? University. Got any tips of your own to add? Share them with the community below!

 

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  1. Chirila Cristian

    Such a useful article, thank you!

  2. Phoebe Slee

    Very useful article. Such a hard decision!

  3. Sobia Javed

    This is good, and usefull! D

  4. Adele Ross

    Very useful and interesting!

  5. Stanislav Tarashev

    Also the one thing, which can grease you for making your firm and insurance choices is the companies with which the universities have contracts and connections. The life after university and your career are very important too and they are impacted by the university, which you choose.

    • Hi Stanislav, great point! When i studied at uni, a lot of my friends who studied Business were able to secure internships with the likes of IBM, as Brunel University has connections with them. This is worth researching too! Have you seen this in prospectuses? Or on the uni website?

  6. Ewan Lawton

    This was incredibly useful!

  7. Moises De Armas

    Really useful