UCAS is letting students decline their firm choice in Track for the first time

Young woman working on laptop
by Hayley Pearce | 5 July 2019

New for this year: 'Decline my place' button in UCAS Track

This year, UCAS has added a new feature to Track to allow university applicants to turn down an unconditional firm place and enter Clearing.

From 5 July, anyone holding an unconditional firm offer can decline it themselves in Track.

The changes mean that students who have changed their mind on a firm choice will no longer need to call up their firm choice to ask to be released.

They will instead be able to press a ‘decline your place’ button and will then need to select a reason for doing so from the following three options:

  • I want to go to my insurance choice
  • I no longer wish to go university this year
  • I want to apply somewhere else

A warning message telling students that there is no going back – the action cannot be undone –will then appear.

If students want to apply to their insurance choice or a different university, they will need to contact them directly and compete for the places through Clearing.

Applicants cannot automatically be given their insurance choice, because the university may have filled the place. So those who want to go to their insurance place should contact that university to see if they will accept them via Clearing, before declining their firm place.

If they make a mistake by letting their firm choice go, they will need to contact the university and reapply through Clearing.

Who is the 'decline my place' button for?

The ‘decline my place’ button is aimed at students who want to move forward with their Clearing applications, having decided their unconditional firm place isn’t for them.

The benefit for universities is that they won’t be swamped with calls on results day from people who want to apply elsewhere, freeing them up to speak to students who need additional support — though students can still call up the universities to ask to be released if they prefer.

Last year, there were 26,823 students wanted to decline their firm choice, and releasing applicants is not a priority for universities, so applicants could be waiting for days to be released. 

The 'decline my place' button lets students get started with Clearing applications straight away.

Automatic entry into Clearing

Anyone who presses the button will be assigned a Clearing number so they can immediately start applying for different courses that have places available through Clearing.

They will be giving up both their firm and insurance place, so it's important to be sure before self-releasing.

Only for unconditional firm offers

Students can only decline their offer(s) if they hold an:

  • Unconditional firm (single choice)
  • Unconditional course change firm (single choice)
  • Unconditional firm and conditional insurance/unconditional insurance (placed at firm choice)
  • Unconditional course change firm and conditional insurance or unconditional insurance (placed at unconditional course change firm)
  • Unconditional firm and registered for Adjustment
  • Unconditional firm and placed in Adjustment
  • Accepted Clearing choice

Applicants won’t be able to decline conditional firms until they turn into unconditional firms. They also won’t be able to decline Clearing courses they have added, until your application is accepted.

On the flipside, when conditional firm offers or Clearing applications change to unsuccessful, they can apply (or reapply) through Clearing.

Any students that have registered for Adjustment by mistake can still decline their unconditional firm place.

And what if you accidentally press the button?

According to the UCAS website, if students decline their place and later come to regret that decision, they need to phone the university as soon as possible.

But the place may have already been offered to another applicant.

For more information, go to the UCAS guide to Declining your firm place in Track.

To ask anything about this new Track feature, TSR's 'decline my place' FAQ thread.

If you have general questions about results day 2019, go to our results day FAQ thread.

People are talking about this article Have your say