Tips on Making a Late University Application

UCAS application deadlines are there for a reason, mostly so that your university application is out of the way before you start your all-important revision period. 

Deadlines also mean universities can manage the selection process properly and gives them time for interviewing, portfolio presentations, selection days etc.  Don’t forget, universities deal with thousands of applications each year and need to give each one the consideration it deserves. 

Plus it works the other way too; the universities have to let you know their decisions by certain deadlines. Take a look at our University Application Timeline for the full range of 2017 application dates.

However, sometimes things get in the way of you completing the application on time. For example, illness, oversight, or a major problem with your college could mean that you’re not ready to submit your application before the 15th January 2017 deadline.

If this happens to you, first things first – don’t panic. Although the deadlines are there for a reason there is still time to submit your application and start university in September/October 2017.

Here are our top tips on making a late university application:

When is the UCAS application deadline?

The “equal considerations” deadline for university applications is 15th January 2017.

This means that any students that get their applications in before the deadline have to be given equal consideration by the universities they apply to.

If you apply after the 15th January deadline universities don’t have to do this and might reject you even if you meet the entry criteria.

However, the majority of universities let UCAS know when their courses are full and others are either looking for a final few select candidates or will still give applicants equal consideration until 30th June.

Know the final deadline

You can still apply as a late applicant up until 30th June 2016 – so if you send it any time between now and then, your application may still be considered.

After the 30th June any applications received will automatically be placed into Clearing. If this happens, be prepared that the courses you’ve applied for may already be full and you might need to consider alternative courses or universities.

Here’s more about the Clearing process.

Don’t apply straight away

If you’re applying for a popular course it might be worth waiting until a few weeks after the 15th January deadline before submitting your application.

Although this might sound strange, universities will be busy dealing with applications that came in before the deadline and won’t yet know whether the course is full.

By waiting until mid-February to submit your university application, you’re giving the universities time to let UCAS know which courses will be entered for the UCAS Extra process because they still have vacancies.

However, don’t leave it any longer than that. In fact, it’s worth having your application ready to go and just not hitting the submit button until mid-February.

Take a look at the courses on offer

Unfortunately not all courses will still be available if you’re submitting a late application, particularly if you’re applying for a popular course or one of the top universities.

To save yourself the disappointment of applying to courses that are already full, use the UCAS course search facility to see which universities still have vacancies for courses that you’re interested in.

Now is also a good time to pick up the phone and talk directly to universities that you’re particularly attracted to. Not only is this a quick way of checking that there are vacancies, but you’ll also have the chance to find out more about the course and double check that it’s right for you.

Write a tip top personal statement

The application process for late applications is the same, and there’s no need to do anything different when writing your personal statement either.

However, submitting a late application might mean that you have more to talk about than before the 15th January deadline.

For example, the extra time may have meant you could spend longer in a volunteering role or work experience placement so you’ve gained further skills and knowledge.

Take a look at our personal statement section to get more tips on writing a perfect personal statement.