Published on 31st January 2023

Have you been offered a place at a UK university but aren’t sure what to do next?

The application process can be a little challenging to navigate – especially once you receive an offer letter marked as ‘conditional.’ That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to what different types of offers mean and why they matter.

The application process

As an international student, the process of applying to study in the UK starts months before your course begins. To meet the deadlines, you should get to know the key requirements, dates and fees ahead of starting your application.

To help simplify this process, we have a dedicated webpage to walk you through everything you need to do. Our Admissions Team is also available if you want to ask any other questions.

Remember, each course has its own specific entry requirements. You need to make sure you meet the criteria before you apply or, in some cases, before your course’s start date. Based on your ability to fulfil the entry requirements you will receive an offer letter.

Offer letter

The two main types of offer letters are: “conditional offers” and “unconditional offers”.

  • A conditional offer means you have been accepted to your chosen programme, as long as you achieve a certain “condition”. Here, “condition” typically means meeting the entry requirements. These can be academic, such as GCSE and high school grades, or language-related, such as IELTS or other English language qualifications
  • An unconditional offer means you have been offered a place and have met all the entry requirements

If you receive a conditional offer, you should check carefully what entry requirements you need to meet. Once you have accepted and met all the conditions your offer will automatically become unconditional, meaning you have secured a place on your course.

If you receive an unconditional offer and you accept it, you have secured a place on your course.

Top tip: it is important to remember that an offer letter is like a contract – once you accept an offer for your course, you will need to study that course.

If you don’t meet your condition…

You may accept a conditional offer and achieve a lower score than you expected, for example, a 4.5 in your IELTS exam. If this is the case – don’t panic! You still have options.

Once you know your grades and qualifications, you may go through a process called ‘clearing’. This will allow you to get in contact with universities and make the case for your application.

Applying for a UK course can take time – but it will be worth it! Start by browsing through our courses to find the perfect programme for you. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to get in touch.


Editor’s note: this blog post was revised and updated in March 2023.