Applicants and offer holders (UK)

Back to COVID-19 information

To meet the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 brings, we have put plans in place to ensure that the University can continue to deliver a fair and transparent admissions service to all of our applicants. We want to reassure you that we are committed to ensuring that our admissions process recognises the hard work that you have put into your qualifications so far.  We’re working closely with UCAS to ensure that you will not be disadvantaged as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that this is a very unsettling and worrying time for you and our admissions team and colleagues from across the University are here to support you.  You can contact our admissions team on ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk or 0121 204 3030 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm GMT.)

We have put together a guide to answer some of your frequently asked questions regarding admissions below. We will be updating this regularly as we respond to advice from the Public Health Organisation, Department for Education, UCAS, the Office for Students, Universities UK and the NHS.

Quick links

Information for students taking A Levels, AS Levels and GCSEs in England

I’ve got a conditional offer from Aston, but my exams or assessments have been cancelled.  What happens now?

We know that this is a very unsettling and worrying time for you and our admissions team and colleagues from across the University are here to support you. 

We want to reassure you that we are committed to ensuring that our admissions process recognises the hard work that you have put into your qualifications so far.  We’re working closely with UCAS to ensure that you will not be disadvantaged as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The UK Government has asked Ofqual (the examinations regulator) to develop a process in England that will provide you with a calculated grade for your A levels. Once these grades are available, Aston will make a decision on whether you have meet your conditional offer using your calculated grades.  In line with our admissions policy, we may also take into account additional information from your UCAS form (for example the personal statement or school/college reference) when confirming places, alongside your calculated grades. 

If your exams have been cancelled, you do not need to inform us or take any action at this time.

What are calculated grades?

Please see below information from UCAS:

‘The UK Government has asked Ofqual (the examinations regulator) to develop a process in England that will provide you with a calculated grade for your A levels. Your grade will be based on information from your teachers’ judgement, using:   

  • previous attainment, including GCSEs and mocks
  • non-exam assessment (course work)
  • the grade your teachers believe you would have been awarded should exams have gone ahead

The government has said its aim is to provide these calculated grades before the end of July, and there will be an option to sit an exam later if you do not feel your grades reflect your performance.  The government has said this will happen at the earliest reasonable opportunity. 

You can read more on gov.uk'.

Will Aston accept calculated grades for my A Levels?

Yes, Aston will accept calculated grades. The Department for Education has advised that “grades awarded to students will have equal validity to the grades awarded in other years and should be treated in this way by universities, colleges and employers.”  Aston will follow this advice.

We appreciate the uncertainty that A Level students have faced this year with the cancellation of exams and will do everything that we can to make the confirmation of places to study with us and transition to University as easy as possible. 

Will everyone be given their predicted grades?

The Department for Education advises “No, we know that simply using predicted grades would not be fair to all students. The calculated grade will take into account teachers’ assessment of the likely grade as well as other factors such as prior attainment, so students’ final grades will not necessarily reflect their predicted grades.” 

What if my predicted grades are lower than your offer?

The results that Aston will use when deciding if you have met your offer will be the calculated grades supplied by the UK awarding bodies.  We will not use your predicted grades. 

The Department for Education advises “we know that simply using predicted grades would not be fair to all students. The calculated grade will take into account teachers’ assessment of the likely grade as well as other factors such as prior attainment, so students’ final grades will not necessarily reflect their predicted grades.”  The calculated grades provided may, therefore, be higher or lower than your predicted grades.

If your predicted grades are lower than the offer you have received and you are concerned that you calculated grades may also be lower, please contact us for advice.  Our admissions team will be happy to discuss this with you.

I’ve been made a conditional offer, are there any changes to my offer?  Will you withdraw my offer if my exams have been cancelled?

No.  Your conditional offer will remain in place in line with the normal UCAS deadlines.  The only change will be that we will use your calculated grades to determine if you have met your offer to study with us.

Will Aston make unconditional offers to students whose exams have been cancelled?

No, the Office for Students has advised universities not to convert conditional offers into unconditional offers until results are known.  The Office for Students has said:

‘We are today asking that all universities and colleges pause unconditional or other offers that could disadvantage students. Given today’s reassurances there is no reason to depart from the normal admissions processes. All universities and colleges should work to put the student’s interest first.’

We want to reassure you that we are committed to ensuring that our admissions process recognises the hard work that you have put into your qualifications so far and to ensuring that students we admit to the University are well equipped to succeed at Aston.  We will use your calculated grades to check that you – and all other students that we are admitting to our degree programmes - meet our entry criteria.  Aston will not make unconditional offers to students waiting for their A Levels until calculated grades are known.

What if I am unhappy with my calculated grades?

The Department for Education has said “We will work closely with Ofqual and awarding organisations to ensure candidates are awarded a fair grade that recognises the work they have put in. If a student does not believe the correct process has been followed in their case they will be able to appeal on that basis. In addition, if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.”

My offer has non-academic conditions such as occupational health clearance or DBS requirements. What should I do about those?

Any non-academic conditions such as occupational health clearance or DBS will still need to be met as part of your offer.  We recognise that it may be difficult to complete the relevant paperwork for your DBS or occupational health currently.  If you are unable to meet the deadline for non-academic conditions, please let our admissions team know and we can extend this for you. 

I haven’t yet applied to Aston.  Can I still apply?

Applicants who have not yet applied to Aston for 2020 are welcome to apply via UCAS (including via UCAS Extra.)  Please note we are no longer accepting applications for Medicine or Audiology.  Applicants who are waiting for their calculated A Level results will be made a conditional offer in the normal way. 

Will I receive an offer from you if I don’t yet have one?

The University is still making offers for 2020 entry based on our normal entry criteria.  All offers can be viewed via UCAS.  Applicants who are waiting for their calculated A Level results and are expected to meet our standard entry criteria will be made a conditional offer in the normal way.   

When do I need to reply to my offer?

You need to reply by the deadline specified by UCAS which you can see here. Please be assured that the recent government announcements regarding the cancellation of exams and assessments do not change when you need to reply to your offer.  We recommend that you take the time needed to make the right decision for you.

What about private candidates or home educated students?

The Department for Education advises “We will work closely with the independent regulator of qualifications, Ofqual, to explore options for awarding grades to private candidates, including home educated students.”  Aston will follow the advice provided by the Department for Education/Ofqual once it becomes available. 

What if I have other extenuating circumstances which affect my application?

If you have other extenuating circumstances which have affected your education, you should first inform your school/college/exam centre so that they can notify the relevant examination board.  If it has not been possible to inform the relevant examination board, your School/College should write to the Admissions Team outlining why it has not been possible to inform the examination board, the nature of the extenuating circumstances and the impact of these circumstances on your education. 

I am resitting my GCSE Maths or English, how does this affect me?

If you are resitting your GCSE Maths/English (or both qualifications), you will receive a calculated grade for your GCSE. Aston will use the calculated grade to determine whether you have met your conditional offer.  Please be reassured that you will not be disadvantaged in any way due to awaiting your GCSE result(s).

Who can I speak to if I am confused?

We understand that this is a very unsettling and worrying time for you and our admissions team are here to support you.  If you have any questions that are not answered on our website you are welcome to contact our admissions team or call 0121 204 3030.

You can also speak to your teachers or advisers at School or College for advice and support. 

The Department of Education also have advice available to GCSE and A Level students here or you can consult the UCAS COVID-19 page for students.

Will Aston use the UCAS tariff to make decisions?

No, Aston’s admissions policy is that offers are made on the basis of grades rather than UCAS tariff.

I am currently in year 11 taking my GCSEs, but would like to apply to Aston in the future.  Will you accept my calculated GCSE results?

Yes, Aston will accept calculated grades awarded in England.  The Department for Education has advised that “grades awarded to students will have equal validity to the grades awarded in other years and should be treated in this way by universities, colleges and employers.” 

We recognise the uncertainty that applicants taking their GCSEs in year 11 this year have faced, and will welcome applications from applicants with calculated GCSEs when they are ready to apply for 2022 University entry. 

Information for students taking vocational and technical qualifications

What about vocational and technical qualifications?

The Department for Education has said:

‘No exams will be taking place in schools and colleges this summer.  There is a very wide range of different vocational and technical qualifications as well as other academic qualifications for which students were expecting to sit exams this summer. These are offered by a large number of awarding organisations, and have differing assessment approaches – in many cases students will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. We are encouraging these organisations to show the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged. Ofqual is working urgently with the sector to explore options and we will work with them to provide more details shortly.’

We want to reassure you that we are committed to ensuring that our admissions process recognises the hard work that you have put into your qualifications so far.  We’re working closely with UCAS to ensure that you will not be disadvantaged as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  We’ll update you as soon as further information is available. 

Information for students taking the International Baccalaureate (IB)

My exams will no longer be held in May. What shall I do?

The IBO have published the latest information on the IB here. We are expecting full details from the IBO by the 27 March 2020 (CET).  As soon as we have the full information, we will publish a new statement here. 

Information for applicants relating to Applicant Visit Days and Interviews

Is my face to face interview day going ahead?

Due to the rapidly changing situation around coronavirus (Covid-19) we have taken the decision to cancel our upcoming campus interview days. This affect the interviews scheduled for:

  • Wednesday 25 March
  • Wednesday 22 April
  • Wednesday 13 May

We will instead conduct the interviews by video-conference (e.g. Skype) or telephone. We will contact you to arrange a date and time.

Please note that this will not impact our decision on your application.

We apologise to any inconveinience this may cause you and if you have any questions about your interview day and studying at Aston please contact undergraduate admissions.

Is my Applicant Visit Day still going ahead?

Due to the rapidly changing situation around coronavirus (Covid-19) we have taken the decision to cancel our upcoming Applicant Visit Days. The dates affected are:

  • Saturday 21 March 
  • Wednesday 25 March 
  • Saturday 28 March 

We understand that Applicant Visit Days offer an important opportunity for you to view the campus, hear more about the course that you are planning to study and to meet with our staff and current students.  We want to ensure that you are able to make an informed decision about studying at Aston University and we will shortly be contacting you with how you can access our digital event programme, where we’ll do our best to provide you with an insight to life at Aston.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you and if you have any questions about the AVD and studying at Aston please contact ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk.

Information for students in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

I've got a conditional offer from Aston, but my exams or assessment have been cancelled. What happens now?

We know that this is a very unsettling and worrying time for you and our admissions team and colleagues from across the University are here to support you. 

We want to reassure you that we are committed to ensuring that our admissions process recognises the hard work that you have put into your qualifications so far.  We’re working closely with UCAS to ensure that you will not be disadvantaged as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

You can find information here about how exam results will be awarded in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

If your exams have been cancelled, you do not need to inform us or take any action at this time.