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Applying to university

What to do if you miss the UCAS deadline

Missing the UCAS application deadline isn’t the end of the world and you still have plenty of options. Find out what happens and what you can do if you apply to uni after the deadline.

exhausted student applying to uni

When are the UCAS deadlines?

The UCAS deadline to apply for equal consideration was 29 January 2021. You can still apply after this date but universities may now treat applications on a first-come, first-served basis rather than apply equal weighting. Universities aren't required to wait until the deadline to make offers, but treat applications equally. Many students get offers before the deadline, some as early as October. 

Applying after the deadline means some popular courses won’t have spaces left once offers start to be made, but most courses will still accept late applications. 

Find out more about UCAS deadlines and applying to university

What are your options if you miss the deadline?

You can still apply through the usual UCAS application system until 30 June. Applications after this date will be automatically entered into Clearing.

At least 5% of applications come in between 29 Jan and 30 June. In 2020, this was higher still and may be so again as students decide to apply to university after all, or students who've already left school or college decide to make a later application. 

UCAS Extra opened on 25 February 2021, giving you an additional option should you need it. It lets you add a further choice if you hold no offers or if you decline the offers you do have. 

Use our course search to check which courses still have places available, but bear in mind this will be continually updated as these spots are filled. 

How will universities respond?

Universities will consider every application. However, after the 29 January deadline they’re no longer required to treat each application the same. 

Some popular courses (particularly those with caps on numbers) such as Midwifery and Primary Teaching may fill up quickly and some universities will have filled their spaces by the deadline. Contact the uni and check their available courses before you apply. The UCAS website course search also flags courses that don't have places available for late applicants. 

What’s different this year?

UCAS and universities will still work together to give students offers in the normal way. However, with grades coming from teacher assessments, the way in which offers are confirmed may be different this year. Interviews and offer holder days will also be mostly online, at least until government guidance changes. 

Results may come earlier than the usual A Level results day and Clearing could be busier than usual, but this is yet to be confirmed. 

There are still lots of spaces on courses and universities are working hard to make sure the application process isn’t interrupted too much by the pandemic. We suggest you go ahead with your application as normal to make sure you’re ready for university in September.

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