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Applying to uni

Hopefully you chose your firm and insurance choices carefully. But if you think you might have made a mistake it's time to find out what your options are as the process to make changes depends on where you are in the university application cycle.

Options for changing your firm or insurance university choices

1. I want to do a different course, but at the same university

2. I chose my firm & insurance within the last week can I change it?
3. I chose my firm & insurance over a week ago can I change it?
4. It's a week before results day, can I change my firm and insurance?
5. It's results day, can I change my firm and insurance options?

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1. I want to do a different course, but at the same university

If this applies to you then initially don't worry about getting released. The best thing to do is contact the university and ask them to consider you for the new course. Explain your reasons, and offer to write a new personal statement if you feel this is appropriate.

Whatever your reason for changing your mind, you will need to explain your reasons to your university in a way that is genuine and convincing - so get your thoughts straight before you do anything.

Minor changes are usually easiest, but it is possible to change to something completely different.

Don't wait until you get there, the earlier you try to change things the more options you have.

Do I need to get in touch with the universities directly and UCAS?

Contact the university and inform UCAS as soon as possible. Remember thought that the procedure depends on at what stage you are at in the application process.

2. I chose my firm & insurance within the last week can I change it?

If you are within 7 days of making your firm and insurance decisions on Track then you can change your choices by phoning UCAS. You'll need to confirm your new choices

3. I chose my firm & insurance over a week ago can I change it?

If you're outside the 7 days then the process is different depending on what Track says. If you get in touch while your offers are still conditional (ie before results day - and this means at two weeks before, in the run up to results day universities are busy dealing with results and will not talk to you about your application) then you have more options open to you.


If your offers are still conditional

If Track still shows your firm offer as conditional then they cannot "release" you into Clearing. They can, with agreement from your insurance uni, "reject" you which will pass you on to your insurance. If you don't want to go to your insurance either then you need to ask them to help you get into Clearing too (either by "reject" if your insurance is still conditional on Track or "release" if your Insurance offer has changed to unconditional).

5.It's a week before results day, can I change my firm and insurance?

It is too late to do this and have it show on Track before results day (UCAS lock down the ability of universities to be swapped during August in the lead up to results day.

If you are convinced that your insurance choice is right for you talk to the university and check that they'd be happy to take you as firm choice. If they're happy and have confirmed they will speak to your firm and explain the situation.

Ensure that your firm and insurance choices speak to each other ahead of results day to ensure this happens.

Bear in mind that neither university can actually do anything until results day on Track at this stage. There are two ways it can be managed on results day if both universities cooperate.
UCAS Track
If you meet your firm offer your firm has to accept you and then place you into Clearing - you'll then be able to add your insurance as a Clearing choice and they'll accept you through that route ASAP.

If you miss your firm offer then your firm can reject you and you'll be passed to your insurance choice.

Make sure you don't wait until results day - by that point your insurance may have been notified that you're going to your firm if you have achieved the grades and have run out of places.

When you call universities ask for the name and job title of the person you speak to.

Avoid saying the words "release", "reject" and "withdraw" - they all have very specific meanings in the UCAS system and using the wrong one risks getting an unhelpful response at best or the wrong result at worst.

Just explain what you want to happen: "I want my insurance course to be my firm choice" and let your universities worry about the details of how it happens.

If they give you instructions or make promises ask if they can send those instructions/promises by email so you have them in writing.

5.It's now Results Day or after

If your offer has been confirmed on Track after results day to show that you have an unconditional firm offer then your only option is a "release" straight into Clearing. If you want to go to your insurance then you'll need to ask them if they will admit you through Clearing once you've been released. Make sure you check with your insurance first thing on results day.

What should I say?

Make sure that you make it clear what you want to happen: "I want to go to my insurance instead", "I'd rather study this course at your university" or "I want to find a place through Clearing".
results day
Again void using the words "released" or "rejected" as these have very specific meanings to UCAS and unis.

Remember, do not phone UCAS and ask to withdraw as this will take you out of UCAS altogether for this year and force you to take a gap year.

You'll need a good reason as to why you don't want to attend your firm or insurance choice, so think carefully. Why have you changed your mind?
  • Do you want to stay closer to home, or if you applied to a local uni perhaps you want to move away now
  • Financial reasons are always a good one to mention, but make sure you've researched as otherwise the uni may come back to you and say "ah, but we have this really great bursary scheme..."
  • If you want to change subject this can be enough on its own, but as explained before you can sometimes change subject and keep the same uni
  • Don't just make something up because it sounds good. Try to tell the truth.

Contacting the university directly

The best way is to phone them, as emails can sometimes wait a while before getting a response.
Whenever you phone either universities or UCAS ask for and write down:
  • the name of the person you're speaking to
  • their job title
  • what you asked
  • what they said would happen next
  • the phone number, time and date you called

If you do phone and they tell you to email then ask for a specific person to address it to and then once you've sent it phone back to check that it has got through.

Make sure you know your UCAS number, or if you have been given any other candidate numbers etc by the uni know those too. You need to make this easy for them.

How long does it take?

If you ask for changes before results, then it shouldn't take that long. Even if it does you've got plenty of time so things can get sorted.

If you've waited until result day then it can take a while. Universities will have other more important things to do, so may leave you til last. It can take a few weeks, which is a long time in Clearing.

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