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Making your Firm or Insurance choice

Friday, February 3, 2017

Choosing the right university isn’t an easy thing to do. With seemingly endless options available, it can be quiet a daunting prospect trying to whittle your decision down to just one!

You may have read through the pile of prospectuses you’ve collected, scouted out websites and considered countless pros and cons, but trying to find that one institution that ticks all the boxes isn’t an easy thing to do.

Well don’t worry, we’re here to try and make things a bit easier and help you get your head around some pretty major decisions.

Take your time

It might be tempting to accept the first offer you receive, but don’t rush…what about all the other offers you might yet receive? It’s important to remember that most applicants don’t have to respond to offers until the 4th of May. So this gives you lots of opportunities to visit and therefore research your shortlisted institutions.

Remember that each course will be different depending on the institution. So if you have two courses with identical titles, make sure you look at the module lists and contact the course leaders where possible to find out how each course differs.

Also remember, university is not just about going to lectures and pulling an all night shift in the library! There is much more to university life. Try to visit the university so you can see the facilities first hand, talk to lecturers, staff and students in person, and check out all the extracurricular activities on offer.


Once you think you have collected all the information you need to make a decision, it’s time to let UCAS know your choices. To do this you’ll need to log in to UCAS Track and enter your personal ID, username and password.

First select your number one university as your Firm (F) choice, and then your second (if you have one) as your Insurance (I) choice. It’s important to remember that if you get the grades to secure your place at your Firm choice institution, you are committed to going there - you CANNOT swap to your Insurance.

Your Insurance choice is there as a backup in case you don’t get the grades you expected. Make sure your Insurance choice has a lower grade offer to ensure it serves its purpose! You don’t want to end up with no offers on the table.

Once you have made your top two choices, you will need to Decline (D) all your other offers.

Results Day

Sooner or later, the day all that hard work has been leading up to will arrive and hopefully it’s a joyful day! If this is the case, you don’t need to call the university to confirm your place; just log on to UCAS Track where you will see a big congratulations message and confirmation from your Firm choice institution.

However, if you find your results aren’t quite what you were aiming for, try not to panic! You can always call your first choice university and see if they can still offer you a place. It might be a nervous wait to see whether their courses fill up, but if places become available (which they often do) then they will try their best to squeeze you in.

Failing that, you also have the option of your Insurance choice, if you have met the grade boundaries there, or check the Clearing section of UCAS and see if any other courses are available that take your fancy.  

Pack your bags

If you follow all the above steps you'll soon be packing your bags ready to start your university experience. Who knows, we might be seeing you around the Guildhall at University Centre Shrewsbury!

Want to know more?

If you have any questions relating to studying at University Centre Shrewsbury just get in touch on either enquiries@ucshrewsbury.ac.uk or call 01743 297185. We’ll be more than happy to help.

If you’d also like to come and visit there’s plenty of ways to do so, from Visit Days, between February and April, to weekly campus tours.