Q&A: Applying for a full-time degree through UCAS

A Choices’ course adviser answers some common questions about applying through UCAS.

What happens when I make an application through UCAS?

When you submit an online application to UCAS, UCAS forward a copy of your application to the institution or institutions to whom you have applied. Once your application has been received by an institution they start processing it in accordance with their admissions policies.

For some courses, the institution may make an offer on the basis of the information provided within the application. Other courses may require further selection stages, such as interviews, tests or a portfolio review. Once the appropriate selection process for the course has been completed, the institution will communicate their decision to you. You can check progress of your application through the UCAS Track online system.

I’m no longer taking all of the qualifications I listed on my application form. What should I do?

You should put this in writing to the University as soon as your academic profile has changed. The University needs this information to ensure that any decision made on the application is made using the most accurate information provided by the applicant. Should the university make a decision based on information which subsequently changes, the Admissions Tutor will need to review the application in light of the new information. If the changes to the academic profile mean that the applicant will not be able to meet the minimum entry requirements (or specified academic conditions if an offer has already been made) this will be taken into account when reviewing the application.

If you feel there are mitigating circumstances surrounding the changes to your academic profile, it is advisable to provide details to the university. The more information the university has, the more able it is to make an informed decision based on the revised information.

I’ve been offered a place on a course. What happens next?

Congratulations – you’re over the first hurdle! Once you’ve heard from all of your choices UCAS will ask you to confirm which place you wish to accept. Applicants who have been made conditional offers can opt to accept a first choice place (called your ‘firm’ choice) and to also accept a second place as a back-up choice (called your ‘insurance’ choice). If you have been made an unconditional offer of a place, you are asked to confirm which place you definitely wish to accept and are not permitted to hold a back-up offer.

Applicants who accept a conditional offer are required to meet any conditions set in order to definitely secure their place. Some courses require applicants to meet other conditions in addition to any academic conditions they may need to meet.

I’ve had replies from all of my choices and haven’t been offered a place. What can I do?

Don’t panic – there are other opportunities to try and secure a place on a course. UCAS offer a service called Extra which allows applicants who’ve not been able to secure a place from their initial choices to contact institutions and ask them to consider the application for a specific course if vacancies are available. The ‘Extra’ system allows you an additional chance to secure a place without the need to pay any additional application fee.

Applicants who choose not to use the Extra option or who don’t secure a place using this method may opt to enter Clearing later in the admissions cycle. Clearing is aimed at applicants who are unplaced through the normal application process who are trying to find a place to start a course in the forthcoming September. Those who wish to apply to institutions through Clearing are required to pay an additional fee to UCAS to be entered into Clearing. Eligible Clearing applicants may approach institutions to see if they have vacancies on their courses. The main time for Clearing activity tends to be once A-level and other post-16 qualification results are released during the Summer.

My application has been unsuccessful. Can I find out why?

There can be a variety of reasons as to why an application is not successful. As institutions receive many applications, it is not always possible for them to provide all unsuccessful applicants with individual reasons for why their application has been unsuccessful. However, many institutions are happy to provide feedback to applicants which provides more detailed information about the reasons the application did not succeed and, in some instances, can provide useful guidance as to how the applicant may be able to improve their chances of securing a place on the course. You should contact the institution directly to find out how you can request feedback.

I’ve applied to Birmingham City University for a course but now want to be considered for another course the university offers. What should I do if I change my mind about the course I have applied for?

If you decide that you want to be considered for another course the University will try and accommodate this where it is reasonably possible. You should find out whether there are any places on the course you now wish to be considered for before taking any further action. If there are places remaining and we confirm that we are able to consider you for the course, you will need to request that your application be reconsidered for the alternative course. You may wish to consider compiling a new personal statement if your original statement is geared towards the other subject or if the course or you don’t feel that it is relevant to the alternative course. Once the application has been reviewed and any selection processes completed, a final decision will be made.

I’ve accepted an offer of a place for this year but I now want to defer it to the following year. What should I do?

You should contact the Admissions Office to see if deferrals can be considered for the course. If a deferral will be considered, applicants must usually formally request the deferral in writing as the University requires a written record of their intentions before being able to proceed.

Places can only be deferred for a maximum of one academic year. Conditional offers of places will only be successfully deferred if the applicant meets any academic conditions set by no later than August 31st in the admissions cycle in which they originally applied. Applicants who find that they are unable to take up their deferred place would be required to reapply for the course should they wish to then be considered for entry onto the following year.

4 thoughts on “Q&A: Applying for a full-time degree through UCAS

  1. Hi sir/madam i have nvq3 and i will like to get into nursing training college or university,am a care/leaning disability worker i have done a lot of shout courses/please sir/madam how can i get in

    1. Hi Jemimah

      We do have a Learning Disabilities branch on our Diploma in Higher Education: Nursing course. The final intake of the diploma course will commence in April 2011, after which we will only be offering nurse training courses at degree level. As you have NVQ 3, if this is in a health-related subject and you also have GCSE mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent – for example, Key Skills level 2 in Numeracy) you can make a late application for the course. Further information about the diploma course can be found on our website at http://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/dip-he-nursing-learning-disability. Late applications can be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and you can apply through the UCAS website at http://www.ucas.ac.uk/students/apply.

      If you don’t have the correct entry qualifications, or are unable to secure a place on the diploma course, you could consider taking an Access to Higher Education Diploma qualification in either health or nursing at a local college of further education as this is an appropriate qualification we could consider for entry onto our nursing degree course.

  2. is my wish to get into midwifery is my dream but am getting difficult to college to aspet me and my culification

    1. Hi Jemimah

      Further information about the course is available on our website at the following link:


      You’ll find information about course content, prospects for graduates, entry requirements and how to apply under the ‘course outline’ ‘after your studies’ and ‘entry requirements and applications’ tabs on the course web page.

      If you don’t currently meet the entry requirements for the course, you could consider taking an Access to Higher Education Diploma qualification in a relevant subject such as Nursing, Midwifery or Health at a local college of further education. Maths and English GCSE equivalence can be taken as an integral part of an Access course, so you would need to opt in to take these within the Access course itself if you don’t already have these GCSEs at grade C or above.

      We are happy to consider relevant Access courses for entry onto our BSc (Hons) Midwifery course which commences each autumn. If you were to start an Access course in September and complete it on a full-time basis over a year, you would be able to make an application for the midwifery degree commencing in the following autumn whilst you are completing the Access course.

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