The Student Room Group

Why do I need a safety when there is UCAS extra?

Do I really need to add a safety choice?
What do you mean by safety choice?
Reply 2
Original post by UCAS_Expert
What do you mean by safety choice?


For UCAS, you get to have a maximum of 5 choices. People usually say to choose 2 aspirational choices (one grade above our predicted grades), 2 realistic ones, and 1 safety choice (one grade below our predicted grades).

But since UCAS extra is a thing, I don't get why we need to waste one of our choices on a safety. I know there must be a reason why other students and teachers recommend a safety though.
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by imloki
For UCAS, you get to have a maximum of 5 choices. People usually say to choose 2 aspirational choices (one grade above our predicted grades), 2 realistic ones, and 1 safety choice (one grade below our predicted grades).

But since UCAS extra is a thing, I don't get why we need to waste one of our choices on a safety. I know there must be a reason why other students and teachers recommend a safety though.


It’s up to you and your appetite to risk.
if you apply to 5 competitive choices and don’t get an offer then the courses and universities available in Extra is a smaller list than those open before the January deadline (not much smaller - about 90-95% of courses are still open in February).

often a “safer” choice has lower requirements and so makes a good insurance choice if you aren’t confident of getting your predicted grades or close (and aren’t willing to take a gap year to resit and reapply if you aren’t accepted to your firm choice)

If you genuinely wouldn’t accept an offer from a less competitive university/course then it’s a waste of a choice. If you’re thinking of applying to competitive courses/universities, especially if you’re applying early on then a better option is to apply to just 3-4 choices initially and then adding your final choices just before the January deadline.
Because it gives you time to think carefully about where you might like to end up if you don't get your first choice. You want to be somewhere that will be a really good fit for the next 3+ years and checking out open days etc is important. UCAS extra will give you far less choice and far less time to do this, at a time when it is preferable to be focussing on the exams themselves.
Picking a safety is also a good idea because the grades for this choice will probably be lower than your more aspirational choices and so you can select it as your insurance, potentially. UCAS Extra isn’t for an insurance choice, just a firm choice if everywhere else you apply to rejects you/you don’t want to accept any of your offers. Also a lot of universities probably wouldn’t accept you through extra because these courses fill up.
That's right. Extra will only fix the issue of not getting any offers you want.

It doesn't fix the problem of not getting the requied results on results day, for your aspirational choice. Then you would be into clearing, which does have less choice.
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by totallyfine
Because it gives you time to think carefully about where you might like to end up if you don't get your first choice. You want to be somewhere that will be a really good fit for the next 3+ years and checking out open days etc is important. UCAS extra will give you far less choice and far less time to do this, at a time when it is preferable to be focussing on the exams themselves.


Extra runs from February to June - if anything it’s less rushed than main cycle choices.
especially when you consider that you are recommended to talk to a university before adding it as an extra choice and that you can only add one choice at a time which means applicants usually choose with much more care than with the first 5 choices.
Original post by bluewhale87
Also a lot of universities probably wouldn’t accept you through extra because these courses fill up.

Very few universities and courses close in Extra

3954BB6F-6C42-4AE9-882D-3B9B28D5F08D.jpeg

Courses in Extra right now (when it closes on Friday):
4B0765E1-6768-4C70-9615-2829B175F745.jpeg

12 universities that aren’t in Extra.
82% of courses still open (was much higher in February/March)
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by imloki
Do I really need to add a safety choice?


Basically because the options available through extra tend to be less and most top RG or similar wont be available in extra, A quick check in extra shows that for Economics Bath, Bristol, Durham, Edinburgh. Exeter, Glasgow, Kings, Leeds, Manchester and others dont have courses available for UK applicants. If you apply for 5 top universities and get 5 rejections then your options for the next 1/2 dozen universities wont be available so it is sensible to have at least one safety university preferable 2 to choose from.
Original post by imloki
For UCAS, you get to have a maximum of 5 choices. People usually say to choose 2 aspirational choices (one grade above our predicted grades), 2 realistic ones, and 1 safety choice (one grade below our predicted grades).

But since UCAS extra is a thing, I don't get why we need to waste one of our choices on a safety. I know there must be a reason why other students and teachers recommend a safety though.

Ah okay, I thought you were referring to your Insurance offer.

Don't forget that in Extra you can only apply to one University/Course at a time - so if they take two weeks to respond, other courses may have filled up in the meantime. Plus you have to give up all your original five choices, including any offers, to use Extra.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 11
Okay. Thank you for your advice, everyone! I guess I will choose a safety choice then. Probably either City UoL or Surrey...
Reply 12
One other option is not to apply for all 5 immediately on your UCAS application.

You could apply for 4 (or even 3) initially and see how you progress with those.

If for whatever reason you aren't successful by early January or don't like the offers, you can then add 4th or 5th choices onto your UCAS application before the cutoff date.
Reply 13
Original post by dunnott
One other option is not to apply for all 5 immediately on your UCAS application.

You could apply for 4 (or even 3) initially and see how you progress with those.

If for whatever reason you aren't successful by early January or don't like the offers, you can then add 4th or 5th choices onto your UCAS application before the cutoff date.


Oh! Do offers not all come out at the same time? Is there no set date?
If I add the 4th and 5th choice later, will I be at a disadvantage?
Reply 14
Original post by imloki
Oh! Do offers not all come out at the same time? Is there no set date?
If I add the 4th and 5th choice later, will I be at a disadvantage?

No, offers can be made at any time from when you first send an application up until the cutoff date for responses in mid May.

You're at no disadvantage adding courses to your application at different times as long as you do so before the equal consideration deadline - usually the last week in January
Reply 15
Original post by dunnott
No, offers can be made at any time from when you first send an application up until the cutoff date for responses in mid May.

You're at no disadvantage adding courses to your application at different times as long as you do so before the equal consideration deadline - usually the last week in January


Oh okay. Thank you!

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