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Applying to UK schools

I'm a US student applying to UK colleges for undergrad this year and I'm a little curious as to how the timeline for admissions works. From what I understand its rolling and the earlier you apply, the better. I'm applying for Earth Science at universities like Southampton, UCL, and Manchester and I'm curious as to how long it might take for me to get results back? I've already achieved all the grades outlined in the course through APs (or exceeded them) and I have a strong research + internship background. Since I'm applying early (probably before October) and as earth science is a very small niche course, I'd just like an idea as to when I could expect results.

Thanks very much in advance!
Original post by Parzi145
I'm a US student applying to UK colleges for undergrad this year and I'm a little curious as to how the timeline for admissions works. From what I understand its rolling and the earlier you apply, the better. I'm applying for Earth Science at universities like Southampton, UCL, and Manchester and I'm curious as to how long it might take for me to get results back? I've already achieved all the grades outlined in the course through APs (or exceeded them) and I have a strong research + internship background. Since I'm applying early (probably before October) and as earth science is a very small niche course, I'd just like an idea as to when I could expect results.

Thanks very much in advance!

There are two deadlines you need to consider. For applications for Oxford, Cambridge and most courses in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science, then need to reach UCAS by 18:00 (UK time) on 16 October 2023. For every other university / course, then need to reach UCAS by 18:00 (UK time) on 31 January 2024.

As long as you meet your respective deadline, you are no more or less likely to receive an offer depending upon when you apply. Thus applications received on 1st October and 30th January will receive equal consideration (assuming the earlier deadline doesn't apply).

As to when you would be likely to heard back from unis, this can vary considerably. If the course / uni is unlikely to be oversubscribed, then the uni can make offers as applications come in. This could be within a few weeks (or days in some cases) of having applied.

If they think they're likely to have more eligible applicants that they can make offers to, they might wait until after 31st January so they can compare them against each other (this is known as the "gathered field" approach). Or they might take a hybrid approach, and make offers to the best applicants as they come in, but leave others until after 31st January when they know how much scope they have for making additional offers.

Also, unis often make offers in batches, as they don't know how many candidates will accept their offer (i.e. select that uni / course as their "firm" or "insurance" choice). So they might make 100 offers and then wait and see how many accept/decline before making another match of 100 offers. (Obviously I'm making these numbers up.) In some cases this can be a protracted exercise and unis will occasionally wait until the last minute to issue the final batch of offers. This could be as late as 16 May 2024 - potentially eight months after having applied. :eek:

TSR users often create a spreadsheet recording when the applied and when they received a decision, which can sometimes be useful in answering questions like yours. Links to the spreadsheets for the unis you've mentioned are below:

University of Southampton (2023 entry)
University College London (2023 entry)
University of Manchester (2023 entry)

I'm not sure how useful you'll find those spreadsheets (given the niche nature of Earth Science), but they're hopefully better than nothing.

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