You don’t have to make any decisions about your ‘Firm’ and ‘Insurance’ choices until you have received responses from ALL the universities (successful and unsuccessful) to which you have applied.


What is a ‘Conditional’ offer?

You will be offered a place on the course/at the university if you achieve a set of requirements, usually a set of grades or UCAS points. Find out about UCAS points in the UCAS Handbook or on the UCAS website.

What is an ‘Unconditional’ offer?

An ‘Unconditional’ offer means you have a place at that university whatever grades you achieve! See the blog on ‘Unconditional’ offers for advice and guidance.

What about offers that say that they will become ‘Unconditional’ if I list them as a ‘Firm’ choice by a specific date?

Read the conditions on these ‘Unconditional’ offers carefully. If you meet the requirements, your offer will then be made into an ‘Unconditional’ offer and you will have a place at that university.


Once you have received ALL of your responses, it is time to consider which offers you wish to list as your ‘Firm’ and ‘Insurance’ choices. You do this through UCAS Track.

How long do you have to respond to your offers?

This will vary from student to student so make sure to check your own UCAS Track for your deadline, and don’t rely on your friend telling you!

See UCAS for details of key dates..

What is a ‘Firm’ choice?

Your ‘Firm’ choice is your first choice.

This will be the university/course you study if you achieve the grades required within your offer. It should be somewhere you want to study for possibly the next 3+ years, a course you enjoy, an area with living costs appropriate to your financial situation, etc.

What is an ‘Insurance’ choice?

An ‘Insurance’ choice is a ‘back up’ option to your ‘Firm’ choice.

The only reason you would go to your ‘Insurance’ choice is if you do not meet the requirements for your ‘Firm’ choice. Therefore, you should try and choose an ‘Insurance’ choice that has a lower grade requirement as your ‘Firm’ choice as, you might meet the lower entry criteria and secure a place at your back up. It should definitely still be somewhere you want to study!

Do I have to put an ‘Insurance’ choice down?

No, you can choose to not put down an ‘Insurance’ choice but there is no harm in doing this, even if the grades are the same or higher than for your ‘Firm’ choice.

Some universities are more flexible than others on Results Day if you just miss out on the requirements. Miss McLaren’s advice is to always put down an ‘Insurance’ choice if you have 2 or more offers.

If you only have one offer, don’t worry! Just list a ‘Firm’ choice. If you don’t meet the criteria for this ‘Firm’ choice course/university, you will be entered into Clearing.


Click here for more information or to watch the helpful video.

  1. Log into UCAS Track and click on ‘Reply to your offers’.

  2. Choose your ‘Firm’ choice; click on the university you most want to study and then, click ‘Continue’.

  3. If you have selected a ‘Conditional’ offer as your ‘Firm’ choice, select an ‘Insurance’ course, your back up choice.

  4. Review your replies; check them and then double check them!

  5. ‘Reply to your offers’ which will formally notify your ‘Firm’ and ‘Insurance’ choices to potentially expect you as a student!

Having trouble? See Miss McLaren on the top floor of the LRC.


What happens to all the other offers I have been made?

All other offers apart from your ‘Firm’ and ‘Insurance’ choices will be declined, you will not be able to choose to go to one of these universities on Results Day.

What if I have an unconditional offer?

If you list an unconditional offer as your ‘Firm’ choice, this is the university at which you will study – congratulations! Don’t forget to read our blog on unconditional offers before accepting! You don’t get to choose an ‘Insurance’ choice because you have no conditions or grades to meet.

If you list an unconditional offer as your ‘Insurance’ choice, this means that if you do not achieve the requirements for your ‘Firm’ choice, you will go on to study at this university/course as there are no specific conditions to your offer.

Do I get to choose between my ‘Firm’ and ‘Insurance’ choices on A Level Results Day?

No, you do not get to choose between your ‘Firm’ and ‘Insurance’ choices on A Level Results Day.

If you achieve the requirements for your ‘Firm’ choice, you will go to this university and your ‘Insurance’ choice will be notified.

If you do not achieve the grades for your ‘Firm’ choice but do receive the grades for your ‘Insurance’, this is the course/university you will progress onto.

What happens if I do not want to accept any of my offers?

If you have changed your mind about your choice of universities, courses or about taking a gap year, you could decline all your options. Before you do this, see Destinations Department for advice and to chat through your options. If you decline all your choices and all other courses you want to apply for are already full, you may end up with no place at all! Seek advice first!

I have missed my reply deadline or have changed my mind on my ‘Firm’/’Insurance’ choices. What should I do?

See Destinations Department ASAP!


  • Make sure you know when your deadline is for responding; if you miss the deadline, all your choices will be automatically declined!

  • Take your time with your decision and make sure you are happy with your ‘Firm’/’Insurance’ choices before you make the selection on UCAS Track.

  • If you are worried or unsure, see Miss McLaren or ask a member of St David’s staff for some help or a chat. Your family are also a good source of advice and guidance.

  • Don’t forget that YOU are the one that will need to go to lectures of this course at this university so the final decision should be yours! Do what is best for you and your future!

  • Blog posts coming soon: UCAS Clearing, UCAS Adjustment, what happens on Results Day and much more. Keep an eye out!

More information HERE.

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