Applying to university when you've missed the UCAS deadlineby Caroline Hardaker
Not every student's journey to university is the same. If you miss the UCAS application deadline, whatever your reasons, don't worry - there are other opportunities to apply to university. Read on to find out more.
If you've felt undecided about going to university, or it wasn't something you'd considered until now, that's okay – it’s not uncommon for young people to feel uncertain about their next steps.
Each year, plenty of students apply late or through Clearing and find their perfect course and university. Read our full blog for more information on university application deadlines, and what you need to do next.
When is late?
The deadline to apply to start university in autumn 2024 is:
- 16 October 2023: for most courses in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine/science, and for applications to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge
- 31 January 2024: for most other undergraduate courses
But if you miss the January deadline, you can still apply. In fact, all potential students can apply late, including EU and international students.
However, you should be aware that when you apply after the deadline there is one key difference - your application won’t get "equal consideration".
What is 'equal consideration'?
To avoid any unfairness, all applications received from September 2023 – when the application process opened – to the January deadline, are considered on an equal basis, and given the same amount of priority.
After the deadline has passed, universities don’t have to consider applications equally. This means only the best applications are chosen to fill the remaining spaces.
How to apply to university late
Try to resist the temptation to rush your application and get it sent off the second it’s ready. A good university application takes lots of time, patience and focus.
Putting time into perfecting your application will give you a better chance of success than sending your application sooner before you've had enough time to work on it.
Remember, spaces are now more limited and only the best applications will get offers.
The next deadline you need to prepare for is 30 June 2024.
Read below for our top tips for applying to university late.
- Hold off submitting your application
Waiting a little while before submitting your application doesn’t just give you more time to work on it, it also makes good sense.
After the January deadline, universities are still looking over a lot of applications. This means it can take weeks to know if they have any free spaces left on their courses.
By mid to late February, universities have told UCAS whether they will be in UCAS Extra and, if so, for which courses. UCAS Extra is a free service for applicants who have not received any offers, or have received their offers but don’t want to accept them.
By waiting you will have a better idea of what’s still out there, and the different options available to you.
- Map out your options
Once you know what options are available to you, you will be able to make a shortlist of courses you want to apply for.
Course search on the UCAS website is a good first port of call to see which courses have space for you.
You can also find the relevant university forum on The Student Room to ask university official reps and current students your questions.
- Call the universities you're interested in
At this point, the number of free spaces on courses is changing all the time. So, you will need to check with the university that you’re interested in before making an application. The quickest way to do this is by contacting your chosen university.
When you speak to your university, you should explain your current situation, your grades or predicted grades, and tell them a little bit about yourself.
It’s a good idea to make notes before the call, so you don’t forget any key points that will really sell you to a potential university.
At this point, the university should be able to tell you if they will consider you or not. If yes, then you can make your application. If not, then trust that it wasn’t meant to be and start your search again.
- Sending off your application
All other elements of the application process are the same. Once you know which courses you would like to apply for, you can submit your late application through your UCAS Hub. If you're new to the application process entirely, why not read our step-by-step guide to applying to university?
What happens if I miss the 30 June deadline?
If you miss the 30 June deadline, don’t worry, it happens. You can still apply to university, but your application will go straight into the Clearing pool. Thousands of students found a place at university by going through Clearing in 2023. To find out how Clearing works read our blog.
Clearing is currently scheduled to begin on 5 July 2024 and end mid-October 2024. If you want to apply to a university after this point, you will need to contact your chosen universities directly to ask if they have any spots available and what their late application procedure is.
And if you don’t want to apply through Clearing, there's always the option of applying next year.
Published By Caroline Hardaker on 10/12/2020 | Last Updated 13/09/2023