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What is UCAS Extra?

UCAS Extra is a way of applying to additional universities if you have either received no offers from your original five choices, or if you have changed your mind.

See also the FAQ 2014 thread here

Am I eligible for Extra?

You will be eligible for Extra if:

  • You have used all five of your choices; and
  • You have had ALL unsuccessful offers (rejections) - or have formally withdrawn from any Offers you did receive ; or
  • You have cancelled your outstanding choices and hold no offers; or
  • You have received decisions from all five choices and have declined all offers made to you.

If you are a late applicant and/or you have not used up all five of your choices, the Extra listings are a useful resource in identifying possibilities, but you add your choices to Track in the normal way and you are not an Extra applicant. This means that the timescale of a 21 day turn-around does not apply to you; it also means that you do get to pick a Firm and Insurance.

When can I apply through Extra?

The Extra process runs only from the last week of February to early July. This year, UCAS Extra runs from 25 February 2014 to 2 July 2014. Remember that you can't use Extra unless you hold no offers, so you can only apply after you have declined all that you did receive, and/or withdrawn from any choices for which you haven't had a decision. If you are not sure how to do that, contact UCAS.

Your eligibility for Extra will show up on your Track.

How does Extra work?

The UCAS site has a good video showing how to use Extra.

Do I have to apply to the same course?

No. If you've changed your mind since you first applied, you can apply to a different course from the one you first chose. Many people will only make minor adjustments to their subject choice, like changing from joint to single honours or vice versa, but if you want to apply for a completely different subject then you can. Remember however that not all courses will come up in Extra - medicine and dentistry are good examples of those that never do - so your options will be limited to a greater or lesser extent depending on which course and which unis you have in mind.

However, as well as being able to see your original uni/course choices, unis will also be able to see the original personal statement you sent with your UCAS application. If you are making a significant change to your course choice, that personal statement will not be relevant. It's therefore a good idea to write a new personal statement covering why you want to do this new course, and anything you've done to ensure that this is the right choice for you. You can also include details of your results from January exams if you did any, or any additional work experience you might have done more recently. You will need to send this directly to the university you want to apply to, as you cannot change your personal statement on UCAS. Make sure you contact the uni - by phone or by email - before sending this new personal statement. Check that they will consider it, and ask them how and where they would like you to send it.

How many choices can I make?

You can only apply to one place at a time. If you don't get an offer, or if you don't want to take up that offer, you can then apply to a further choice as long as you do so by 2 July. You can have as many choices as you can fit in the time limit, as long as you choose only one at a time, but you can't retrieve any offers you have declined, and a choice once made cannot be changed before 21 days have elapsed if no decision has been posted by the uni.

Please note that after 21 days have passed since you sent an Extra application, Track comes up with an 'Add Extra Choice' button. This will not simply add another choice, it will replace your current one if you are still awaiting a reply - so if you use it, your previous application through Extra will be cancelled. This may take a few days to work through the system, and the result could be that an offer comes through but you no longer have the mechanism by which to accept it! So be very sure of what you're doing before committing yourself.

Remember - if you apply through Extra, you will only have a Firm choice. You will not have an Insurance choice. So make very certain that any choice you make is achievable as you will have no automatic back-up if you don't achieve the required grades.

Do universities reduce the entry requirements for applicants through Extra?

No. As an Extra applicant you will be expected to be able to offer grades and qualifications that match the standard entry requirements. If in doubt about whether you do, this is something to check when you contact the uni.

A uni that rejected me is in Extra. Can I apply again?

There would be no point; they have already considered your application and decided against you. If they have places in Extra it's because they are still looking for applicants that meet their normal entry requirements (which are likely to be more than just grades).

Things to think about

If you previously received no offers

Try to think about why this might have been. You might want to contact the unis and see if they have any feedback for you. Did you aim too high? Are you sure the subject is right for you? Can you do any additional work experience? Have another look at your personal statement. If you now realise that your personal statement could have let you down, take the opportunity to check whether the university you are applying to through Extra will consider an updated version.

Don't just apply to the same standard of university with an unchanged application, as you may be unsuccessful again.

If you have changed your mind

Not that long ago, you were convinced that the course and universities that you applied to last time were the right choices for you. Why have you changed your mind? Are you sure that this new course/university is for you, and have you done additional research into this?

If you are applying for a new course, you may be able to send a new personal statement directly to the university you choose to apply to. Make sure you ask them first though, either by phone or email.

When it's gone, it's gone

Once you've declined offers to go through Extra, you can't retrieve them, even if you don't get an offer from your Extra choice/s. This is why you need to be absolutely sure of what you are doing before declining anything.

For many people it is a better strategy to apply again through UCAS for the next year's entry. You will have known grades and a more realistic idea of which Unis to apply to, and/or a clearer idea of a more appropriate subject to apply for.

Not happy with the offers you have and think you might do 'better'?

Declining offers you have in the hope of getting something 'better' through Extra is a very high risk strategy and not recommended. An option introduced in 2009 for people who exceeded their offer conditions (though very few people actually use it) is that of Adjustment. This does not carry any risk to the offers you already have - but also there are no guarantees that you will be able to get a place at your preferred university.

How do I apply?

How can I see which courses have vacancies?

You need to search the UCAS site for vacancies. You do this in the same way as a normal UCAS Course Search. Run the search and then click on the Applying through Extra filter on the left of the results. Note that this is only possible once Extra has started.

If you're not quite sure whether to keep your current offers or decline them for something through Extra, you can see the vacancies first. However, it is essential to check with the university that there really are vacancies if the listing surprises you (eg History V100 at York, or Exeter; Economics L101 at LSE) as the system is that all courses are listed in Extra unless the uni tells UCAS the course is full. Sometimes delays in updating this information (not necessarily UCAS's fault!) mean that you get some unexpected listings in the first day or two. So do not decline what you already have without checking (and always remember that even if the uni says they'd be interested in your application, this is not a guarantee of an offer, so declining offers you have already got is not without risk!).

Contacting the university

Once you've found a course that you want to apply to, don't just go ahead and send your application. Contact the university first to check that they still have spaces and will consider you. You could do this by email, but it's probably quicker to phone them. Ask to speak to the admissions tutor for the subject; if for any reason you can't talk to the admissions tutor then ask for their direct email address. Don't just email their general enquiries address.

Before you contact the uni, it would be a good idea to plan what you want to say. Read through your personal statement, and maybe have a copy in front of you. This is your chance to make a good impression, and a little bit of enthusiasm will go a long way. Briefly mention your grades, experience and anything else you consider relevant. You really need to try and sell yourself! If you are changing your course choice, you need to mention that you have written a new personal statement, and ask them how they would like you to send it to them.

If they say that they have spaces and will consider you, then it's time to make that choice on Track.

Sending the UCAS application

You should apply through Track and only contact UCAS by phone if you have any problems. Either way, you'll need the institution details and course code, as well as any additional details such as campus code that might be required. Many people have reported error messages when changing things on UCAS Track using alternative browsers; if this happens try using Internet Explorer to see if that resolves the issue. Also be aware that the UCAS site is likely to be slower than usual immediately after Extra first opens - but since unis will not be processing applications in the middle of the night, you can leave it a few hours and apply in the morning.

Feedback from Extra users

The Extra Experience

BillyMarsh: So it was 23:55 on the 25th February 2009 (Extra due to start in 5 minutes)... The moment the clock struck midnight Extra became open to all those applicable and straight away I dived in and checked what courses were available (International Relations). Upon seeing a handful of good looking courses I emailed the admissions departments of respective universities telling them: Who I am, my current achieved grades and intention on studying their course. I then left a question asking whether they would consider me for alternative, related courses.

The next morning I woke up, checked my e-mails and found a few automated responses; at least my messages had been received. The actual UCAS website did not show Extra listings until 9.30 onwards, so only those eligible for Extra could see the options from their 'track' screen. A few hours passed and I received no replies, being incredibly on edge all morning I decided that I would call them personally and see what happens.

One phone call pointed out to me that the course I had expressed interest in was only for 'International Students', although there are no indications of this on the UCAS website. As I phoned more and more places, they either told me that the course was in Extra by mistake or that it was international only.

Finally some good news! I sat at the phone speaking to representatives from two universities who said that they would be more than happy to receive my application, eventually I decided which of the two I preferred and sent off my application... Within seven days I received an offer!

So my advice to next year's Extra users... Send emails to every course you are interested in and then wait for their response... Phone the universities you are most interested in to find out more (make sure that you phone the person you emailed...unlike I did!)... Research the week before, no one can guarantee what courses will pop up or where but if you can make a short list of five mentally you may be surprised!

So... I hope that helps anyone applying through Extra this year, next year or the year after that or the year after the year after... Good luck!!!

emiliebird: In the January after I'd sent my application in for consideration, I began to question whether the course I had applied for was really right for me. We were very rushed at my college to create a perfect personal statement and send off our applications asap (in my case without fully researching what I wanted to do).

I was determined to pursue a degree in something that would really benefit my future and not something I was doing just for the 'uni experience'. This is when I started to research what other options I had.

Since the application deadline had come and gone I wasn't holding my hopes out for getting a place anywhere, it was then I found out about UCAS Extra. Desperate to find out if I was eligible, I emailed the careers officer at our college, who asked me if it would really be worth declining all my offers to try to get a place on a course I didn't even have a personal statement for, so late in the application process?

Nevertheless I decided this is exactly what I wanted to do and set out doing a new personal statement that day. I already knew which university I wanted and the course wasn't full so the chance of it falling into Extra was good, though I checked UCAS every day just be sure!

The evening before Extra was set to open I took the risk, declined all my offers and eagerly waited for the list of the courses UCAS was going to publish. The morning of the 25th was a nerve-racking time, I immediately switched on to UCAS and to my delight my course and university were considering applications for students applying through Extra. I then phoned the admissions office of my chosen university and they told me to send my revised personal statement. It was about five days later I got an offer on UCAS Track from them and I was overwhelmed!

I'd say my experience of Extra was a positive one, I got my first choice university and my first choice accommodation. My tip is, make sure you organise yourself and research everything to do with your course beforehand, and also be prepared to be put on the spot about why you want to change your university choices/course! I think it's definitely worth taking a look at if you're unsure about your current application. I hope this helps, good luck! :)

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