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UCAS 2012 FAQ ***Look in HERE first***

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    Deadlines
    15 October: Oxbridge/Medicine/Dentistry/Veterinary Medicine
    15 January: everything else (except some art & design courses), for guaranteed equal consideration
    24 March: specific art & design courses - check UCAS and uni websites for details of which courses this deadline applies to
    30 June: for immediate consideration by unis where there are vacancies

    International Applicants: should note that the 15 October and 30 June deadlines are the same, and that once the 15 January deadline has passed there are no guarantees that a uni will consider your application. If you are planning to apply later than 15 January, check uni websites and with the Admissions Departments concerned to make sure that this is OK.

    Other Important Dates
    UCAS Timeline

    Applying early: the pros and cons
    Some advisers will tell you that applying early gives you an advantage. It doesn’t, necessarily, and is less likely to do so given the challenges of the last couple of years, when some unis found that they had too many people who had met their offers for the number of places available. Instead, unis may be slower than before to respond to applications, and more likely to hold over everything until the 15 January deadline. This was already true of competitive courses such as History, English, Law, Economics, where unis like LSE, Warwick, Bristol, Durham, and Edinburgh have kept applicants waiting until March or April for a decision. This can happen even with less competitive courses and unis - some unis have a policy not to look at anything until all applications are in. Others will do a preliminary screening which will weed out the obvious no-hopers and hold over the rest until January.

    I have seen people on here report that unsuccessful friends were told that by the uni concerned that they'd applied 'too late' even though they'd met the 15 January deadline. My personal view on this is that what really happened was that the applicant was borderline, along with many others who were borderline, and that the uni chose to 'blame' the applicant rather than admit that. To be fair to the uni, a non-interview based system makes it incredibly difficult to choose between a lot of applicants who all seem to be the same on paper, and it is not surprising that the result can be what seems like some pretty arbitrary decisions.

    On the other hand, applying early is not a recipe for rejection on the basis that you *might* be applying to Oxbridge. Unis do not see where else you have applied until all your decisions have been made**. All those myths about how Durham will reject you automatically because they *think* you have applied to Oxbridge are just that: myths. It is possible for someone to be accepted by a top ten uni and rejected by others - the reason for this is that unis look for different things in their applicants. No uni is going to turn away a good applicant just because they might have applied to a competitor university!

    **However, because you have to enter the details of any special admissions tests (BMAT, UKCAT, HAT, LNAT etc), if the test concerned is specific to Oxford or Cambridge, your other unis will be aware of that.

    Choosing unis and courses
    By and large, forget ‘career prospects’ and go for what really interests you and you are good at. Avoid applying for a course just because you think it will guarantee you a high earning power in due course. If you fail it or end up dropping out because you hate it, all you will have is dented confidence and debt issues. Equally, don’t dismiss a minority interest course at a lower profile uni out of hand – if this is what you really want to do, go for it. Remember that grade entry requirements are often an indicator of popularity/fashion rather than quality, so don’t assume that it’s a rubbish course because the entry requirements are ‘only’ BBC.

    A major advantage of not rushing to get your application in early is that this gives you time to consider your choices carefully. The number of threads posted on TSR from June onwards from people wanting to change their minds both about courses and unis demonstrates just how much things can change for you, even in a couple of months. So don’t rush it, even if your school is pressurising you to get it done early. There’s a long time between mid October and mid December - you will be two months further in to your A2 courses by then, and will have a much better sense of how the work is going and whether that A2 in Economics is quite as interesting as you thought it was going to be.

    For 2011, there were several examples of unis updating their requirements in-year, so it is really important to check the uni/department website (not UCAS or a printed prospectus) for the latest information before confirming your choices. This could save you an unexpected rejection and a wasted choice.

    If you are interested in the statistical likelihood of you ending up at one of your choices, you could take a look at this thread.

    Adding in Choices
    The uni and course codes are clearly shown on the relevant UCAS pages: check that you have entered these correctly. Course codes especially can be very similar to one another. You can enter your choices in any order; the system may rearrange them alphabetically, but this doesn't make any difference. All your choices are considered equally and independently by the unis concerned.

    Remember that you do not have to enter all your choices at once. It is possible (and can be a good move) to add choices in later, and provided you meet the 15 January deadline you are still guaranteed equal consideration. Bear in mind though that your personal statement can’t be changed (although unis will sometimes accept an updated PS separately) so it makes sense to ensure that this is as good and as relevant to your course choices as it can be. Remember that if you have paid the £12 for one choice, you will need to top this up to the full £22 before you can add any further choices. You also do not have the 7 day 'cooling off' period for choices added in after you submit your initial application, so it's really important to make sure you are happy with your choice/s before you confirm them on UCAS.

    Note: in previous years you were allowed 14 days to make any changes to your original choices. UCAS has quietly reduced this to 7 days for 2012, so don't get caught out.

    Other Technical Stuff
    Registering with UCAS
    You will need to enter a 'buzz word' to register an application that will go through a school or college. If you have by mistake signed up as an independent applicant this can be changed - just talk to your UCAS co-ordinator; if need be UCAS can help to sort it out.

    Entering grades
    You must make sure that you entered your grades for all your certificated qualifications correctly. If it comes to light that you have entered incorrect grades (and it’s interesting how often it happens in such cases that the actual grades are lower than what was submitted by the applicant) you must tell UCAS and the unis concerned immediately. Any offer that has been made to you could be withdrawn if it was made on the basis of wrong information, so it is very much worth your while to get this right at the outset. The UCAS page does explain this process pretty clearly, but if you still can’t make sense of it see this thread, or contact UCAS directly for clarification.

    Entering Resits
    If you are a resit candidate, you may find that 'the system' won't let you enter the resit date. This will be because the last education establishment you have entered has an 'end date' which is before your intended resit date. If you are attending a different school/college to resit your A levels, then you need to enter this establishment with the appropriate dates and your problem will be solved.

    Otherwise, your options are:
    • enter the school/college again, this time marking your attendance as 'part-time' with a start date of 2011 and an 'end date' of 2012 - appropriate if you are attending classes there, or if you won't be attending classes but will be taking the exams using them as the examination centre
    • if you are taking the resits somewhere else, even if you are not receiving any teaching there, you still add the exam centre to the Education list, showing your attendance as part-time

    Grade Predictions
    I’ve seen a few examples on here of teachers making unfairly low predictions, but generally the “But I know I’ll be able to improve from a C at AS to an A at A2” approach doesn’t cut any ice, for good reason. If a school gets a reputation for consistently over-predicting, this doesn’t help anyone, least of all you. What is the point of ending up with offers you stand little or no chance of meeting?

    Insist on knowing what your predictions are, however, as this is an important part of making sure your applications are pitched sensibly. Your referee is responsible for entering them on your application.

    Before you start 'negotiating' with your teachers about predictions, remember that if a uni states that its typical offer is ABB, a lot of successful applicants will be offering better than that, first time round. If your AS grades were BCC, even with multiple resits unis will think it unlikely that this will improve to ABB at A2, and probably reject you in favour of someone whose A level predictions are in line with actual grades achieved at AS. However, if there are specific and credible reasons for under-performance at AS these need to be confirmed by your referee in your reference.

    Personal Statement
    Check out the Personal Statements FAQ and make use of the PS Help forum. Whatever you do, do not post your PS, or bits from it, in open forum as the UCAS plagiarism detector will find it. PS Help is safe from UCAS and other prying eyes because access to your thread is restricted by TSR to you and the PS Helpers only.

    Remember that UCAS removes all formatting and simply cuts off the end of the PS if you have exceeded the line/character limits. Unfortunately the Word line/character count doesn't work for UCAS, so CHECK using the preview function in the UCAS form that the PS has been entered properly, and also that you haven't left behind parts of previous drafts - it happens!

    Reference
    • Quality matters far more than quantity. A short reference is not a problem as long as it includes all the necessary information.
    • If you are applying through a school/college centre, you ‘send’ your application to your referee, who will then add your reference and submit your application directly to UCAS. You may have seen your reference before it is submitted, but your school does not have to show it to you. If you want to see it, you can pay UCAS £10 and make an application under the Data Protection Act to do so (once your application has been submitted, of course).
    • If you are applying independently, see here.
    • Referees should be able to comment on your academic abilities. If you have not done any recent (ie within the last five years) study an employer may be OK, but if in doubt check with the unis as to what they'll accept.


    Mistakes on the Form (but it hasn't gone to UCAS yet)
    Just spotted that typo in the Personal Statement? Forgotten to put down that resit? Entered a choice wrongly? Ask your referee to send the application back to you, and you will be able to make the necessary amendments and resubmit it for the referee to send off.

    Mistakes on the Form (and it's gone to UCAS already)
    • typos/other mistakes in the PS: there's nothing you can about this now, and it really isn't worth wasting any energy on worrying about it. It's not going to mean that your application is rejected outright.
    • Exam grades/plans: if you have made any errors (wrong grades, wrong exam board etc) notify UCAS and the unis immediately. You agreed to do this when you submitted your form. Unis can withdraw or change an offer if it turns out that the information you gave was wrong.
    • uni and/or course choices: you have 7 days in which to correct any errors/change your mind; after that you are stuck with it. So make sure you check your ‘welcome’ letter from UCAS carefully and contact them at once if there is a problem. Remember that you can only change a choice if a decision has not been made, so don't delay. Some unis reply very quickly! Also remember that a choice substituted after the relevant deadline will be treated as a late application, so you would need to check with the uni concerned that your application will still be considered.
    • Fee Status: notify UCAS and the unis if this has changed immediately.

    Remember that you signed an undertaking that the information you provided on the form was complete and accurate. Do not be tempted to tell lies, whether by 'forgetting' to put down that D grade GCSE or the AS result you didn't like, or by putting down a higher grade than you actually got. You will be found out – eventually – having wasted a lot of people’s time, including your own.

    Once my application has gone in, how long does it take for my Welcome letter to arrive?
    Usually within a few days if you are UK based. Once your application has been fully processed, you can usually get in to Track without having your letter to hand, using your UCAS ID number without spaces/hyphens and hitting the 'lost password' button.

    Will I get Offers and When?
    No-one can say. Sometimes people who on paper should get an offer don’t, and vice versa. However, you can reduce substantially the risk of ending up with more rejections than offers: How to Avoid Getting 5 Rejections

    On its arrival, an application generally falls into three categories: Yes, No, and Maybe.

    The ‘yes’ category will include people who very clearly and significantly exceed the standard required. These people are likely to get early offers from unis unless there are further selection procedures eg aptitude tests and/or interviews required.

    The ‘no’ category will be people who simply do not meet the course entry requirements and/or their application is not strong enough compared with the expected standard; these people are likely to get a quick rejection.

    The people who can end up waiting a long time for a decision are in the ‘maybe’ group: those whose applications meet the essential requirements and the minimum standards expected, but where there are far more applicants than offers to be made. These go through a process of assessment which may include structured scoring systems for the paper application, aptitude tests, and ‘informal’ interviews. Which of these will apply depends on the course and uni.

    Note that high entry requirements or so-called ‘prestige’ are no guide to how long it might take for a decision to come through. It can and does happen that Kent will take longer to send a decision through than Durham. Some people get offers within days, others will wait months for a rejection. A browse around the forums would show up that Manchester, for example, has tended to be quick off the mark, whereas Edinburgh is much slower. In the 2009-10 round, Sheffield was sending out offers very quickly. However, as noted above, things may be different this year for all unis.

    Understanding your Offer
    Conditional offers may be based on grades or UCAS points and sometimes a mixture of both (or an offer may be expressed in both grades or UCAS points, in which case you must achieve one or the other). You may be required to achieve a particular grade in a specified subject. Certain subjects may be 'excluded' from an offer - eg General Studies, Critical Thinking, a mother tongue language. If you don't understand your offer email the uni admissions department and ask for clarification. Email is better because then you have a written record of their response should there be any query later.

    Unconditional offers mean that the uni has accepted whatever qualifications you have achieved already as sufficient to meet their entry criteria. It is clear then that someone who is still doing their A2s or equivalent is unlikely to get an unconditional offer unless they already have achieved A2s in some subjects, or they are resitting but the grades they already have are sufficient for that uni.

    Note that an unconditional offer is NOT the same as a 'matriculation' offer - EE - which is made occasionally by Cambridge and one or two other unis. It's called a matriculation offer because the national minimum entry (ie matriculation) requirement for all unis is two A2s, or equivalent (for mature students/those taking IB/students offering other qualifications similar in standard to A2s).

    How will I know when a uni has made a decision?
    Some unis acknowledge applications, others don't. Sometimes even between uni departments different acknowledgement arrangements apply. A lot of acknowledgements come by email, so check those spam folders regularly. (NB: this is not the time to have a 'joke' email address - set up a sensible one if you need to and check it at least once a day.)

    When your Track changes you will get an email from UCAS. These are sent out twice a day, but Track itself is updated pretty much constantly as decisions come in from the unis. This can include weekends too. It may be that you'll check Track and find a decision, when you haven't had an email to alert you to it. Also - not all emails saying that your Track has updated mean that there is a decision, though most do. If there isn't a new decision, something else has changed - the terms of an existing offer, a course code, whatever. Look around and if you can't work out what the change is contact UCAS to find out.

    Rejections will show up on Track as 'unsuccessful' against the uni choice; you generally won't get a letter from the uni itself (unless it's Oxbridge, in which case you'll normally get the letter first).

    Offers will also show up on Track, but most unis will write or email you to say that they are making you an offer. It's a race to see which you get first . If the offer is on Track, you can find out what its conditions are by clicking on the course code. Quite often unis won't tell you in the letter or email what the conditions of the offer are, and when this information gets to UCAS depends on the Admissions Office staff sending it through. This can sometimes take a few days.

    Other Issues
    I changed a choice but they've now sent me an offer
    When you substitute a choice within the 7 day 'cooling off' period, it can take a day or two for the news that you have withdrawn your application to reach the university concerned. This sometimes results in you getting a letter or an email stating that you are being made an offer. However, there is no mechanism for this offer to land on your Track, and therefore it is not valid. If you decide you want the offer after all, you can try ringing UCAS to see what can be done, but it's unlikely that you'll be able to undo the changed choice.

    Fee Status
    If you are not sure what yours is, check with Student Finance before you submit your application. Offers will be dependent on your status and a change could mean that your offer is withdrawn, so avoid that disappointment and get it right before you start.

    Changes in Circumstances
    If anything changes (eg you move, you decide to drop a subject or pick one up) make sure you tell UCAS and the unis straight away. Do not just drop a subject in the hope that it won't matter - just because it's not included in your offer doesn't mean that the uni didn't take it into account when they made the offer to you.

    Exam Certificates
    A surprising number of people seem not to bother to collect their certificates from their school or college, who are not obliged to keep them for you indefinitely. Make sure you collect these, or have them posted to you, as you will need them, and not just for uni applications. Employers these days are much more likely than they used to be to check all those claims you made on your CV. It can be extremely expensive to organise 'duplicates' from the individual Exam Boards, so once you have the certificates, keep them safely.

    Wiki Articles that might be of interest

    UCAS Apply
    Tracking and Replying to your Offers
    Understanding Conditional Offers
    UCAS Tariff
    Late applications

    And finally....
    Even if you are one of the 'lucky' ones whose decisions are all in early, do not be tempted to rush into making your Firm and Insurance Choices. Everyone has at least until early May to make their mind up. The number of people we see on here in June regretting the offers they declined, sometimes because they didn't think they'd make the grades, should convince you that picking your firm and insurance months earlier than you need to is a bad idea. Seriously.
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    Thanks Minerva! I've added a link to this page on the UCAS 2012 thread.
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    Thanks for that Minevra appreciate it!

    I've got UCAS troubles though

    Im stuck on weather I am suppose to enter my AS grades even though I have the grades for my A level. I did resits for some module units in three of the AS levels I continued on to A level, but I have my A level results. So should I just state my A level results or should I state both my A level and As level grades and the AS modules that I re-sat??? So confused! I have certificates for both my AS and A levels and the resits for some of the AS modules were integrated into the A level, I did all this in the 2 year period (2008-2009) in the same institution.
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    (Original post by Shy16)
    Thanks for that Minevra appreciate it!

    I've got UCAS troubles though

    Im stuck on weather I am suppose to enter my AS grades even though I have the grades for my A level. I did resits for some module units in three of the AS levels I continued on to A level, but I have my A level results. So should I just state my A level results or should I state both my A level and As level grades and the AS modules that I re-sat??? So confused! I have certificates for both my AS and A levels and the resits for some of the AS modules were integrated into the A level, I did all this in the 2 year period (2008-2009) in the same institution.
    If you have the full A-level qualification, just enter the full qualification, not the AS and A2 separately.
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    (Original post by Shy16)
    Thanks for that Minevra appreciate it!

    I've got UCAS troubles though

    Im stuck on weather I am suppose to enter my AS grades even though I have the grades for my A level. I did resits for some module units in three of the AS levels I continued on to A level, but I have my A level results. So should I just state my A level results or should I state both my A level and As level grades and the AS modules that I re-sat??? So confused! I have certificates for both my AS and A levels and the resits for some of the AS modules were integrated into the A level, I did all this in the 2 year period (2008-2009) in the same institution.
    You should enter the AS as well as the full A level as the AS is a stand-alone qualification. If the AS was certificated twice, you enter it twice.
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    (Original post by Minerva)
    You should enter the AS as well as the full A level as the AS is a stand-alone qualification. If the AS was certificated twice, you enter it twice.
    Hi Minerva. Some of us Mathsy people were wondering about Maths and Further Maths A level. It's slightly different from other A levels in that modules from the AS can be "moved into" the A2 and for this reason it is standard practise to recash the AS level (and Further Maths AS/Maths A2, depending on how the school structures the course).

    Should this recash-in be entered, even though nothing has been resat and it is just to ensure the modules can be "move around"? (It's not like we'll receive new certificates, I assume)
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    Hmm in 2010 imperial interviewed me and gave me my offer last year well before the deadline and similarly warwick and ucl gave me their offer before the deadline. So surely the advantages of applying early are there when you're being viewed in comparison to less people as not everyone has sent their application off? Even if it's to just take your mind off worrying sooner rather than later when universities make their descisions early?

    Or perhaps they just thought I was so awesome that they'd give me my offer early
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    (Original post by fluteflute)
    Hi Minerva. Some of us Mathsy people were wondering about Maths and Further Maths A level. It's slightly different from other A levels in that modules from the AS can be "moved into" the A2 and for this reason it is standard practise to recash the AS level (and Further Maths AS/Maths A2, depending on how the school structures the course).

    Should this recash-in be entered, even though nothing has been resat and it is just to ensure the modules can be "move around"? (It's not like we'll receive new certificates, I assume)
    Maths is a difficult one, which is why I generally recommend that people have a conversation at school about what to enter. However, if you have not resat any modules, I would have thought that entering the final version would be OK. If you have resat modules of cashed in qualifications, the advice I've had from UCAS is that both results need to be entered.
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    Good work

    Should colour the thread title :yes:
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    (Original post by Minerva)
    ..
    Hi, I got one of my exams remarked and it went up. My schools has told me that the certificate for the remark will come out in November after my UCAS deadline of October 15. Can I still write my post remark grade on UCAS? Do you have to have the certificates in order to declare your grades as achieved?

    Thanks.


    Open question BTW.
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    (Original post by dunnicare)
    Hi, I got one of my exams remarked and it went up. My schools has told me that the certificate for the remark will come out in November after my UCAS deadline of October 15. Can I still write my post remark grade on UCAS? Do you have to have the certificates in order to declare your grades as achieved?

    Thanks.


    Open question BTW.
    Put the new grade as that will be the one evidenced by the certificates provided later I believe.
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    (Original post by paddy__power)
    Put the new grade as that will be the one evidenced by the certificates provided later I believe.
    OK, I'll do it then.
    Thanks. : )
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    where do i add the exams that i resat.
    i did an exam in january and resat it in june.
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    (Original post by dunnicare)
    Hi, I got one of my exams remarked and it went up. My schools has told me that the certificate for the remark will come out in November after my UCAS deadline of October 15. Can I still write my post remark grade on UCAS? Do you have to have the certificates in order to declare your grades as achieved?

    Thanks.


    Open question BTW.
    No. If the school has certificated the result you don't need to have the actual certificate to hand to enter the result on UCAS.

    (Original post by jilebinator)
    where do i add the exams that i resat.
    i did an exam in january and resat it in june.
    Assuming the qualification this exam related to was only certificated in June, you enter the higher of the two module grades you achieved against the relevant module.
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    (Original post by Minerva)
    Assuming the qualification this exam related to was only certificated in June, you enter the higher of the two module grades you achieved against the relevant module.
    so i dont have to put the exam i resat?
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    (Original post by jilebinator)
    so i dont have to put the exam i resat?
    You should enter the module title, but you only need to enter the higher of the grades you got (if you are entering the module grades at all, of course, as this is optional) against that. From what I remember, you don't state when the module exam was taken when filling in the details.
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    (Original post by Minerva)
    You should enter the module title, but you only need to enter the higher of the grades you got (if you are entering the module grades at all, of course, as this is optional) against that. From what I remember, you don't state when the module exam was taken when filling in the details.
    okay so i dont enter that i retook the exam. i thought that it goes against you if you didnt.

    I am applying to top ten unis if that makes any difference.
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    (Original post by jilebinator)
    okay so i dont enter that i retook the exam. i thought that it goes against you if you didnt.

    I am applying to top ten unis if that makes any difference.
    If you are asked separately by a uni for information about all exams that you have done, you will have to declare it. In the meantime, if the qualification was not certificated in January, you can't enter both versions on UCAS.
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    where do i put my UMS?
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    Hey I've got another question.

    Right now I'm on a gap year. I already have my achieved grades and will be applying for medicine. Do I need to apply to UCAS through my old college or as an individual.
    Thanks.
Updated: September 6, 2012
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