UCAS deadline - what does it mean?
If you’re considering university study in 2017, you’ll be seeing a lot of information about the upcoming UCAS deadline at the moment. It’s going to be on the website of most universities, all over UCAS.com and maybe even in a few newspapers. Does UCAS close after this deadline though? Are you too late to start studying in September 2017 if you slightly over-celebrated New Year and have woken up on January 16?
The most important thing is understanding what this ‘deadline’ actually is. It’s called an ‘Equal Consideration’ deadline, and this means that any applications received ‘on time’ (in this case before 6:00pm on Jan 15* 2017) must be given equal academic consideration by the universities you’ve applied to. Universities can’t close courses with a January 15 deadline before that date, even if they have already received way more applications than they have places.
This is good for you as an applicant because it means that you don’t have to rush your application to get it finished as quickly as possible. You’re able to spend that little bit more time on a solid application than you maybe would if you knew that time was against you, and you’re not competing with your fellow applicants to get your application across the finish line first.
What happens after the deadline?
Once you’ve finished and submitted your UCAS application, your details will be sent to all of the universities that you’ve selected. We won’t know who else you’ve applied to when we receive your application (UCAS don’t tell us this).
We receive applications electronically, and each university then considers your application according to their own admissions policy. This sounds complicated but it isn’t really; basically we’re reading your application, seeing if you fit our entry criteria and making you an offer based on this entry criteria. At Wrexham Glyndŵr University our standard entry requirements are 112 UCAS Tariff points from A Level or equivalent, so if you’re currently doing A Levels it’s likely any offer we make will ask you to achieve 112 tariff points from these A Levels.
Offers will be made through your UCAS Track, and UCAS will tell you when a University has made a decision on your application so that you’ll know to check your Track. How long this will take will depend on several factors, but universities are encouraged by UCAS to make all of their decisions by 31 March 2017. The actual deadline for us is 5 May though, so don’t worry if you haven’t heard back from all of your choices by the beginning of April.
Once you’ve got all of your offers back, you’ll be able to make you final choice. This is a big decision; once you choose your Firm choice (and Insurance if you go for one) you’re committed to that university so make sure you’ve got all the information you need before making your choice. The deadline for making your decision will depend on when you got all your decisions back, so make sure you check your UCAS Track to know when you have to decide by, otherwise UCAS will decline all of your offers by default and nobody wants that.
Missed the deadline?
So, it’s January 16 and you’ve decided you’re going to go for it after all. Excellent. What’s next?
As we said at the start of this piece, the key thing to remember is that January 15 is the date at which a university CAN close a course for new applications. This doesn’t mean that they WILL close the course you want. We always close our BSc Occupational Therapy course after the January deadline for example, but it’s likely that we’ll still be able to accept your application on a variety of our other programmes after this date. Last year, courses remained open in Computing, Engineering, Health, Business and several other subject areas. There is likely still going to be plenty of options out there for you, especially if you’re willing to be a bit flexible with your choice of university and course.
First thing to do is find out if the university that you’re interested in still has spaces on your course. If they do, ask them when they believe they will close the course you want. Do this for every university you’re hoping to apply to, and then apply by the earliest deadline you’ve been given. You may just be told that the course will close ‘as soon as it’s full’. If you find this is the case, just aim to get the application finished and submitted as soon as possible. If you find a university has closed the course you wanted before you manage to submit, maybe consider an alternative course or deferring your study for a year until 2018.
With you application submitted, its back to us to do all the work again. Head back up to the previous section to see what happens next!
*January 15 is not the deadline for ALL university courses. Many Art & Design courses have a March 24 2017 deadline, and Medicine and Dentistry will likely all have an October 15 deadline so will already have shut for new applications. The course search on UCAS.com should let you know the deadline for each course your thinking of applying to, so check this out before submitting your application.