Does It Matter If I've Missed The 15th January UCAS Deadline?
Perhaps you were one of the supremely organised individuals who sent off their UCAS form weeks ago.
Or maybe you were part of the procrastination group, clicking the ‘Submit’ button up until 11.59 pm on 15th January.
Either way, it’s unlikely the recent passing of the official UCAS deadline has escaped the notice of those applying to start university this year.
And you will certainly know about it if you were unfortunate enough to miss it.
But does it matter? And if so, what next?
The most important (and only) consequence of UCAS receiving your application after the 15th January is that your chosen universities are no longer obliged to consider you.
This means you are no longer guaranteed “equal consideration”, but this doesn’t automatically put you at a disadvantage.
In fact, many universities and colleges still review applications after the 15th January deadline.
However, this depends on how many places have already been offered to candidates who applied for the course before the 15th January, as well as the quality of other students applying after the deadline.
Therefore, if there are any extenuating circumstances that prevented you from submitting your application on time, make sure you contact your referee so they can explain them in your reference.
Admissions tutors are humans too, and will usually take on board any personal circumstances that led to a late UCAS application.
If you don't have a good reason for submitting your form after the deadline (you forgot, couldn't be bothered, etc) the next step is to get in touch with the universities you want to apply to, and check whether they will accept a late application.
If they won’t, do your homework and see if there are other universities you might like to attend.
It’s important at this stage not to get stressed, and just apply to any university you can think of without looking into them first. Remember – you’ll be spending the next 3 or 4 years of your life there!
Choosing a university at this stage can feel a little rushed, but if you find universities willing to consider your application, there are a few things you can do to help you make your decision as to whether you want to put them down on your UCAS form.
Many have “virtual open days” on their websites, where you can get a good taste of student life through your computer.
Do they have a student blogs section, where you can read about the experiences of those currently studying at the university? What do they have to say?
If the university isn’t too far away, take a look at their Open Days page. Is it possible to arrange a campus tour within the next week or so?
Try to knuckle down and do your research as quickly as possible - the sooner you contact prospective universities after the 15th, the more likely they are to consider you.
Try not to be too disappointed if there are no places left for popular or competitive courses such as Law or Psychology. It’s best to find out now, rather than waste a choice on your UCAS form.
If you really want to pursue a particular subject, but can’t find any universities willing to consider you, you’re probably best off withdrawing your application and applying again in the next cycle (starting September 2013).
This way you will also be able to apply to any university you wish, including top institutions in the Russell Group.
There's no point wasting time and money applying for a course you're not so keen on, just to be able to start your degree this year.
While missing the 15th January deadline may not give you the best chance of being offered a place, that doesn’t mean you won’t find at least 4 or 5 universities out there who are still willing to accept your application.
Official figures showing UCAS applications slumped by 5.6% in 2012 may offer some consolation, as this will hopefully free up more spaces for those applying late this year, and make some universities more eager to fill up any vacancies.
So don’t panic.
If you do your research and act quickly, you’ll still have a chance of securing a place at university this autumn.
Have any questions about your UCAS application? Or comments on my post? Please pop them below! All feedback is welcome.