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Cancelling university place and applying to different universities the following year

Hi everyone, so I applied to 5 universities through UCAS this year which permitted 2 year deferrals. I am taking a 2 year deferral because I have to serve my National Service in Singapore starting this summer. I applied to these 5 universities thinking that I could get a confirmed place this year as a fall back university, and then applying to a new 5 next year. If, next year, I get a place from a better university than my fall back option, I would cancel my place at the fall back university and go to the better university.

However, now I'm having some doubts on whether that would be a problem or not and I was hoping some people would be able to guide me at all with this? Anything would help!
Original post by fakuet
Hi everyone, so I applied to 5 universities through UCAS this year which permitted 2 year deferrals. I am taking a 2 year deferral because I have to serve my National Service in Singapore starting this summer. I applied to these 5 universities thinking that I could get a confirmed place this year as a fall back university, and then applying to a new 5 next year. If, next year, I get a place from a better university than my fall back option, I would cancel my place at the fall back university and go to the better university.

However, now I'm having some doubts on whether that would be a problem or not and I was hoping some people would be able to guide me at all with this? Anything would help!

You can only defer one confirmed place, (even if you applied for deferred entry to all your choices, you'll still have one confirmed place decided this year, that's the one that will be carried over).

Once you have a confirmed place, you can't use UCAS again unless you have that uni release you. You can always apply to the same uni again though.

Whilst you are doing your national service, you have the benefit of applying with achieved grades in both the 2022/23 and 2023/24 cycles if needs be, (again, you can only do this whilst not holding a confirmed place).
Reply 2
Original post by Admit-One
You can only defer one confirmed place, (even if you applied for deferred entry to all your choices, you'll still have one confirmed place decided this year, that's the one that will be carried over).

Once you have a confirmed place, you can't use UCAS again unless you have that uni release you. You can always apply to the same uni again though.

Whilst you are doing your national service, you have the benefit of applying with achieved grades in both the 2022/23 and 2023/24 cycles if needs be, (again, you can only do this whilst not holding a confirmed place).

Thanks for the quick response!

My firm choice is likely to be either St Andrews or UCL. So if I were to get accepted into my firm choice this year and wanted to try my chances with other universities such as Imperial, LSE, Cambridge etc... I would have to decline the place with my firm and apply the following year to these universities is that right? I didn't apply to them this year as they didn't offer 2 year deferrals.

Follow-up question; if I were to turn down, say St Andrews, could I apply there again the following year even after turning down their place? If so, would my application to St A be impacted at all?
Original post by fakuet
My firm choice is likely to be either St Andrews or UCL. So if I were to get accepted into my firm choice this year and wanted to try my chances with other universities such as Imperial, LSE, Cambridge etc... I would have to decline the place with my firm and apply the following year to these universities is that right? I didn't apply to them this year as they didn't offer 2 year deferrals.

Yes, pretty much. The only slight correction is that you couldn't decline the offer yourself, you would have to request to be released from it by the uni. In theory they could say no, but in reality no uni would ever do that because they don't want to force someone onto the course. It's just a little admin job for them to release you.
Original post by fakuet
Follow-up question; if I were to turn down, say St Andrews, could I apply there again the following year even after turning down their place? If so, would my application to St A be impacted at all?

Yes, you can apply again. It won't make any difference, unis don't hold grudges.
Reply 4
Original post by Admit-One
Yes, pretty much. The only slight correction is that you couldn't decline the offer yourself, you would have to request to be released from it by the uni. In theory they could say no, but in reality no uni would ever do that because they don't want to force someone onto the course. It's just a little admin job for them to release you.

Yes, you can apply again. It won't make any difference, unis don't hold grudges.


I see. When would I need to announce my cancellation? Would it have to be shortly after I get a confirmed place, or could it be a few months before the new application cycle?

Also, not sure if this is even possible, but could I apply directly to the university I want to try my chances with, without using UCAS? For example, can I apply only and directly to Cambridge next year?

Thank you so much for the help, this is hugely significant for my uni plans.
Original post by fakuet
I see. When would I need to announce my cancellation? Would it have to be shortly after I get a confirmed place, or could it be a few months before the new application cycle?

Also, not sure if this is even possible, but could I apply directly to the university I want to try my chances with, without using UCAS? For example, can I apply only and directly to Cambridge next year?

Thank you so much for the help, this is hugely significant for my uni plans.

You can cancel very late, usually right up until the point at which you’re due to enrol at the uni. Even if you hold an unconditional offer, you are only committed to attend if you formally enrol. Obviously in your case you would want to cancel in good time for the new application cycle.

Unis that use UCAS aren’t permitted to accept applications outside of it. so that isn’t an option.

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