Are unconditional offers for places at university a good thing?
There has been much talked about the benefits or not of unconditional offers for places at university. For what it is worth I agree with Dr Bernard Trafford writing in the Times Educational Supplement when he says that taking the pressure off is surely a good thing.
Let’s be clear unconditional offers do in most cases come with a string attached and that is the applicant must put that university as their firm choice. What unconditional offers do is take the uncertainty out of going to university. Once the offer is made choosing for that particular institution means that students can truly plan knowing where they will go come September. I have no evidence to suggest that students take their foot off the pedal once one of these offers is in the bag. In my experience, having got this far, pupils still want to achieve of their best.
However, university with its associated student debt and uncertainty of a graduate job having borrowed money for tuition fees and living expenses is not for everyone. If studying to degree level is still something that a student
wants to do but at the same time they wish to earn while studying then the Degree Apprenticeship route is an option. Currently offered in twenty plus areas they are a choice worth considering. There are about another two hundred courses going through validation. The term apprenticeship doesn’t do this route any favours because the perception is outdated but through this course the outcome is a degree which has the value and respectability of similar courses.What could be seen as a down side is that a degree apprenticeship is a job with the regular routine of work, no long holidays, it may take longer to acquire your degree, you have to work and study at the same time and no student life. However, you have a job, you don’t rack up debt from student loans and like unconditional offers they take away the uncertainty of the future.
Routes into university are changing and for the better and I applaud any scheme that helps take some of the strain off teenagers applying for the next step.