Replying To UCAS Offers: Don't Miss The Deadline!

If you’ve applied to start university this autumn, you will either have received replies from all your choices, or still be waiting for some decisions to come through. It all depends on exactly when you sent off your UCAS form, and when the institutions sent their replies. 

Since this can become a confusing time for applicants, it’s helpful to know what happens next with your application. Our tips will help you with this.

How should I reply to my offers?

You need to reply to each one as either a firm acceptance; an insurance acceptance or a decline. 

Your firm choice is basically your favourite out of all the universities you applied to, and unfortunately, there can only be of these.

If you reply to an unconditional offer as your firm choice, it means you have to decline all other offers.

If you reply to a conditional offer as your firm choice, you are saying you will attend their course as long as you meet the required conditions. You can also choose to accept another offer as your insurance choice.

You can choose either a conditional or unconditional offer as your insurance - this is your backup plan, in case you don’t meet the requirements for your firm choice. Many applicants choose a university that has lower grade requirements for their insurance choice for this very reason. 

It’s not compulsory to put down an insurance offer, so if you’re uncertain about any of your other offers, don’t feel you have to choose one.

Take your time to decide who you put as your firm and insurance offers, as there’s no going back once you’ve made your replies.

Attending university open days is a great way of helping you come to a conclusion, as you get to experience places firsthand and get a good idea of what student life will be like there. 

Once you’ve decided on your firm and (if applicable) insurance choices, you must decline all other offers that you hold. 

So when do I need to reply to my offers?

There are a number of deadlines in place for applicants to make their replies by, depending on when they received all their offers, so don’t worry if your reply date is different from everyone else’s.

For 2020 entry, if you had all your decisions back by 31st March, you need to reply to your offers by 5th May

If you receive all your decisions by 6th May, you will need to reply by 4th June

If you receive all decisions by 4th June, you will need to reply by 18th June.

If you receive all your decisions by 13th July, you will need to reply by 20th July

It’s important you check when your reply date is, because if you miss the deadline, all of your offers will be automatically declined.

You can make all of your replies online through the UCAS Track system, where your reply date will be displayed. 

What if I’ve changed my mind and don’t want to accept any of my offers?

If you’re absolutely sure you don’t wish to attend any of your choices, you must decline all of your offers.

This will then make you eligible for UCAS Extra or Clearing, should you still want to find a place at university this autumn.

Further information

For more tips and advice, please see:

Got any questions about replying to offers? Or any comments on my post? Please pop them below!



Student Guides Category: 
University & College Admissions


Mechanical Engineering

I have 3 offers from my 5 applications and the universities I want to select as my firm acceptance (Leeds) and my insurance (Sheffield) have both offered me places. I want to go ahead and do that now and decline the third (Birmingham). Can I do that without having received a response from Bath and Brostol?