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A Guide to UCAS Deadlines and Application

A Guide to UCAS Deadlines and Application
Created By: Casita Teamon 23 February, 2022

All international students pursuing a UK university offer know about UCAS and how critical it is when it comes to studying in the UK. It can be a bit stressful to go through a thoroughly calculated process, knowing that your whole future depends on it. But as stressful as it may be, it’s also so exciting and thrilling.

As a student who has always followed a system of education of another country, you might be unable to keep up with the usual procedures of UCAS different deadlines and applications. But while dates vary between courses and course providers, there are some general ones.

No need to worry though, because in this blog we will cover everything you need to know about UCAS, its application procedures, and its deadlines.

What is UCAS?

UCAS stands for “The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service”. It is a United Kingdom-based organisation that provides information, advice, and admissions services. You will come across UCAS when you try to apply for your university as all full-time undergraduate course applications need to come through it. UCAS’s main role is to operate the application process for British universities, as well as send out the offers to students.

UCAS Deadlines and Key Application Dates

Until 2020, the UCAS application deadline was always 15 January. It changed in 2021 because of the impact of the Covid pandemic; it's a different date in 2022 as well.

Here are the Key dates for 2022 entry:

  • 26 January 2022: The general UCAS application deadline for most undergraduate courses (before 6 pm UK time)

  • 25 February: UCAS Extra begins.

  • 19 May: Usually, decisions are back from universities for 26 January applications on this date.

  • 9 June: You need to reply to the offers by this date, if you received all decisions by 19 May. 

  • 30 June: If an application is sent by 6 pm UK time on this day, it will send to the chosen universities or colleges. Applications received after this date will automatically be entered into Clearing. 

  • 5 July: UCAS Clearing opens with vacancies beginning to be published

  • 14 July: University decisions for applications submitted by 30 June are back.

  • 21 July: This is the date that you will need to have replied to offers by (if you received all decisions by 14 July).

  • 28 September: Last date for applications for 2022 entry.

  • 18 October: The deadline for adding Clearing choices.

How to Apply to UK Universities Using UCAS?

Gathering the required data and documents for the UCAS application can be one of the most thrilling experiences you can go through. Still, it is an experience that requires a lot of steps.

First, you have to filter through the courses available on UCAS’s platform and compare between them. Then, you have to check the university's entry requirements and ensure you are ready and you fit all criteria. Finally, you have to complete the application online before university admission deadlines. Don’t worry though, we can get you through every step via our How to Apply to a UK University as an International Student blog.

What Happens Next?

Waiting for decisions on your application can be agonising. You need to be patient though, as each university and college make their decisions at different times, which means you might hear back before your friends do, or vice versa. However, there are deadlines by which they will need to have decided. If a university you’ve applied to doesn’t make a decision by the appropriate deadline, that choice will be automatically marked unsuccessful.

UCAS Offers

  • Conditional Offers

A conditional offer means that there are some conditions you have to meet to get your place confirmed. For most people, this means waiting for results day in summer to see if your exam results meet the conditions. The conditions could be grades, scores, subjects or additional documents, so the university can finalise your application. They reassess your application and the extra documents so you can get your place.

  • Unconditional Offers

This means you've already met the entry requirements, so congratulations, the place is yours if you want it! But first, check the offer to see if there's anything else you need to do. You might need to get a DBS or PVG check, provide proof of your results or submit other financial/medical documents. Contact your university or college if you have any questions or if a further requirement is unclear to you. By accepting an unconditional offer, you’re committed to attending that college or university and proceeding with the payment and visa application, if required. 

If the offers you’ve received are not among the ones you’d like to go for, you can decline them and apply using Extra or Clearing.

UCAS Extra and Clearing:

  • UCAS Extra

The official process for applicants who used all five choices but have not received any university offers, or for those who have decided to decline the offers they have received. It can be considered a 'second chance' at getting a university offer. Applicants can keep applying for one course at a time until they receive an offer they're happy with.

  • UCAS Clearing

Most universities would still have lots of course places available after the exam results are published. The UCAS Clearing process helps applicants to find and apply for those places at universities across the UK, which helps universities fill up any vacant spots on their courses. 

If an applicant doesn't get the grades they need for the university course they wish to apply to; Clearing gives them the chance to be on another course. This could be at the same university or a different one. Students can also apply for a university place directly through Clearing, even if they have not already made an application this year.

You still have a chance to get your seat in a 2022 course if you want through Clearing. Just pay attention to the dates and deadlines, use the UCAS search tool to find available courses, and then contact each university or college concerned for a place. We wish you all the success in your studying journey. Good luck!

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