Negotiation is King! Top Tips On Securing Your Place if You Fall Short of the Grades

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Finding out that you have not achieved the grades you want does not need to be a problem as long as you are willing to negotiate! Find out how with our guide.
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1 – Understand Your Audience

With the cancellation of exams, many students are left worrying about their future. Still, it is essential to realise that universities are also facing uncertain times and will want to get as many people on board to be able to weather the COVID-19 storm! Before any negotiation takes place, it is wise to work out exactly what your university needs.

While universities sell themselves as academic institutions, they are also a business and need income to stay afloat. Understanding this gives you an idea that they will be willing to discuss applications on a case by case basis, offering you a glimmer of hope when your grades have left you deflated.

2 – Know What You Want and What You Can Compromise On

Before you contact the university, it is a good idea to work out what you are willing to compromise on and what you cannot. For instance, you may be happy to take a slightly different course but want to be within the same academic school. Or, you may be happy to take any course that fits your studies but only if it offers a year in industry.

When you speak to the admissions team, do not hold back from telling them what you are willing to flex on if they do not appear to be willing to consider letting you take your first choice course. However, do not show all your cards immediately if there is a chance that they seem willing to consider you for the course you initially applied for.

3 – Show What Makes You a Great Choice

When you contact the admissions team avoid focusing on how much you need them to let you in; instead see it as an opportunity to show them what makes you an excellent choice for their institution. This is where you can highlight your academic interests, your personal achievements and work history.

Proving that you are a well-rounded candidate will help a university see that you have plenty to offer and will be an asset to them and their reputation. Be proud of who you are and help the admissions team see you for who you are rather than just another applicant.

4 – Speak to Academic Staff

If you find that you are not getting very far with the admissions team or you want to try a different route, then there is nothing stopping you from reaching out to the course leader and requesting a telephone consultation with them. If they feel you would be an excellent addition to their course, then they will be able to liaise with admissions on your behalf.


It is worth noting down the points you want to make and the questions you want to ask so that your conversation is well structured. Remember that you have a genuine case for discussing any grade anomalies this year and university staff will understand the impact of this on potential students.

5 – If All Else Fails, Contact Other Universities

If you find that your attempts at negotiation are not resulting in an admission acceptance, then you may want to start the process of contacting other universities with courses that you would be interested in. Admissions teams will be pleased to discuss your results, course requirements and aspirations and will let you know if they feel they would be a good fit for you.

When you call, have to hand the types of courses you would like to do, your results and any questions you want to ask. They will then confirm what they can do for you and how many spaces are available before you need to amend your application with UCAS through Clearing or Adjustment.

It is obvious to see that university entry requirements are a guide from which you can negotiate to earn your place. If you want more hint, tips and advice on making that transition to university then take some time to check out our website today!

Mirlinda, Community Builder

Mirlinda, Community Builder

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