Once the UCAS deadline has passed, it’s time to start thinking about university offers and what to do when they arrive. This guide will take you through the different types of offer and your options for each one.
As you start to receive offers, you’ll see one of the following terms appear on UCAS Track next to each university application:
Here’s what they mean and what to do in each case:
You’re in! You’ve met the terms of the entry requirements and they’d be delighted to have you.
What to do
Don’t rush - take some time to decide whether or not this is the right university and course for you. Review all of your options, perhaps visit the university once more, and talk to teachers, careers advisers and even admissions officers at the university that made the offer. If you had your heart set on somewhere else, don’t give up on it just yet - you usually have until May to make a decision (or later, depending on when you receive all your offers), so it’s worth waiting to hear back from them.
Once you’ve accepted an unconditional offer, you’ve committed to attending that university, so you won’t be able to select an Insurance choice or enter Clearing.
This usually means that you have a conditional offer, but if you accept it, the university will change it to unconditional (it’s worth ringing their admissions department to check this is the case). In most cases, you should treat conditional unconditional offers in the same way as an unconditional offer.
Also good news! The majority of offers made to applicants are conditional, and it essentially means that there’s a place at that university with your name on it, as long as you obtain the necessary grades or UCAS points. The university will let you know exactly what these conditions are via UCAS Track.
What to do
Get your head down between now and the exams to give yourself the best chances of success. Come results day, you’ll find out whether you’ve met the conditions of your first choice offer (your ‘firm’ choice) or not. If you don’t meet your offer, don’t worry - there are options. Take a look at our guide Unexpected A-level results? Your guide to UCAS Clearing to find out what to do next.
Unfortunately, the university has declined your application and is not offering you a place. This could be because your predicted grades don’t meet the entry requirements, or perhaps because it’s a super competitive course.
What to do
Keep your head up. An unsuccessful application to a university you had your heart set on can be a tough blow, but try not to get too disheartened - wait to hear back from your other UCAS choices and research your options.
If you didn’t respond to a university’s communication by a required date, or you missed an interview, your application might be withdrawn. There are a number of other possible reasons too, so using UCAS Track it’s worth finding out why your application has been withdrawn.
Replying to offers
Once you’ve received responses from all the courses you applied to, you need to choose your firm (first) and insurance (backup) choices. This is a big decision and you can only choose one of each, so use our guide How to choose your UK Firm and Insurance to help.
When to do it?
Generally speaking, the longer you wait to reply the better, as long as you safely meet the deadline. Your reply deadline is unique to you - check UCAS Track to see your deadline.
Many students wait until they receive their mock exam results or school report after February half-term, meaning they’ll have a better idea of the grades they’ll receive (important for any conditional offers). This will also give you time to investigate bursaries and funding options using the Know-how library: