Thinking about changing your choice of university? It's not too late
Switching university choice at a late stage is more common that you might think. It's probably easier than you might think, too.
But, is it the right thing to do? You'll already have done a massive amount of research while deciding your current firm and insurance options. Do you really want to switch?
Deciding for sure might mean visiting universities again before results day to get a really good feel for the place. This may seem like a lot of extra effort, but if it's going to help you feel confident your choice is the right one, then it's time well spent.
If your heart is set on making a change, what happens next depends on your timing. You can make quick changes and swap a university choice up until 23 July 2019. After that date, you'll have to wait until results day.
This article covers a range of different scenarios. Click on the one that's relevant to you to read more...
- "I chose my firm & insurance within the last week. Can I still change it?"
- "I want to do a different course, but it's at the same university, can I change it?"
- "I want to accept an offer I previously rejected. Can I swap before results day?"
- "I now want to study a different subject at a different uni. What can I do?"
- "It's a week before results day. Can I change my firm and insurance?"
- "Can I get out of my unconditional offer on results day?"
"I chose my firm & insurance within the last week. Can I still change it?"
Yes. If you accepted your offers in the last 14 days you can change your firm and insurance choice. Contact UCAS directly and speak to an adviser. They will be able to make the changes to your replies for you.
If you accepted your offers more than 14 days' ago, the process is a bit longer - but it can still be done. Read more in the "I want to accept an offer I previously rejected. Can I swap before results day?" section.
"I want to do a different course, but it's at the same university, can I change it?"
Possibly. Start by contacting the university; ask them to consider you for the new course. Be truthful in explaining your reasons for wanting to change and be prepared to be asked to write a new personal statement.
Minor changes, such as swapping courses within the same faculty, are usually easiest. But it will be difficult (and often impossible) to change to something completely different. Don't get too excited about your chances of swapping from history into medicine, for instance.
If the university agrees to make the course change, get them to put this into an email and then let UCAS know. A UCAS adviser can then make the course change in Track.
If the university can't - or won't - make you a new offer on the course you prefer, you might decide to go elsewhere. That might mean being released from your offer to get a place via Clearing, or it might mean accepting an offer you've previously rejected.
Some students start uni and then ask to swap courses. This is a really risky path. Just because you're now a student, it doesn't mean your uni will definitely let you change. The earlier you try to change things, the more options you have.
"I want to accept an offer I previously rejected. Can I swap before results day?"
In this instance, the first thing to consider is the deadline. The final deadline for confirming a swap is 30 June. This means that all the universities involved must have notified UCAS by that date and UCAS must have actioned the swap. Once that date has passed, you will have to wait until A-level results day.
If you are seriously considering swapping, you should start the process at least a week in advance of the deadline.
1. What should I do first?
Contact UCAS and let them know what you would like to do. They can advise you and make a note of it on their system. This means that they will be able to support the swap you’re requesting if things are moving too slowly.
2. Contact the university you’d now like to make your firm (or insurance)
You won’t be able to swap unless they are willing to accept you.
Contact the admissions team and find out if there are still places on the course you rejected. Explain your situation including why you have changed your mind. If it is less than a week until the deadline, make sure you phone first and follow up with an email confirming you’d like to make the change.
If they are willing to make you another offer, ask them to confirm it in writing to you and send this to UCAS as proof.
3. Contact your current university choice and explain
Once you've got confirmation that you can get the place you want, you need to let your firm choice know - either that you’d like to decline their offer completely or make them your insurance.
Contact their admissions team, explain that you have changed your mind and explain what you would like to do next. Let them know you have contacted UCAS and made them aware of your intention. Follow up in writing and ask they confirm in writing they have read your request and followed up with UCAS.
4. UCAS swaps your decisions on Track for you
UCAS will make the swap for you once the universities have emailed their agreement.
"I now want to study a different subject at a different uni. What can I do?"
If you change your mind about your firm and insurance choices and don't want to accept any of your other offers that you may have previously rejected you may want to consider using either Extra or Clearing.
You can only use Extra up to the 4 July UCAS deadline. Before you can use Extra you will need to inform UCAS and your firm and insurance choices that you now want to change your replies and change them all to declines so that you can apply to a different university/course.
Now you have declined all offers you should be free to add in an additional choice on Track. Again, make sure you contact the new university to ensure they have places still available at this stage.
If you miss the 4 July deadline you can ask to be released into Clearing ready for results day. You'll then be assigned a Clearing number that you can use on the day once you have been made an offer by the new university you want to go to.
"It's a week before results day. Can I change my firm and insurance?"
No. You'll have to wait until results day as Track is frozen during this period of time for universities to confirm whether students have a place based on their exam results.
If you are convinced that your insurance choice is right for you, talk to the university beforehand and check that they'd be happy to take you if you meet their offer. If they're happy and have confirmed speak to your firm and explain the situation.
Inform UCAS of your intention and ensure that your firm and insurance choices speak to each other ahead of results day to ensure this happens.
"Can I get out of my unconditional offer on results day?"
Once your firm offer becomes unconditional on results day, your only option is to be released straight into Clearing. If you want to go to your insurance then you'll need to ask them if they will admit you through Clearing once you've been released. Make sure you check with your insurance first thing on results day.
Make sure that you make it clear what you want to happen: "I want to go to my insurance instead", "I'd rather study this course at your university" or "I want to find a place through Clearing".
Don't phone UCAS and ask to withdraw as this will take you out of UCAS altogether for this year and force you to take a gap year.
You'll need a good reason as to why you don't want to attend your firm or insurance choice, so think carefully. Why have you changed your mind?
- Maybe you want to stay closer to home. Or, if you applied to a local uni, perhaps you want to move away now
- Financial reasons are always a good one to mention, but make sure you've researched as otherwise the uni may come back to you and say "ah, but we have this really great bursary scheme..."
- If you want to change subject this can be enough on its own, but as explained before you can sometimes change subject and keep the same uni
- Don't just make something up because it sounds good. Try to tell the truth.
Contacting the university directly
When contacting universities, the best thing to do is phone. Emails can sometimes wait a while before getting a response.
Whenever you phone either universities or UCAS ask for and write down:
- the name of the person you're speaking to
- their job title
- what you asked
- what they said would happen next
- the phone number, time and date you called
If you do phone and they tell you to email then ask for a specific person to address it to. Once you've sent it, phone back to check that it has got through.
Make sure you know your UCAS number. If you have been given any other candidate numbers by the uni, make sure you know those too. You need to make this easy for them.
How long does it take?
If you're trying to make a change on results day, then it can take a while. Universities are up to their neck in it at this time, so it can take a few weeks, which is a long time in Clearing.
About our sponsor
The University of Roehampton is London’s campus university and is renowned for its broad range of expertise across teacher training, business, social sciences, the arts and humanities, as well as human and life sciences, with world-leading and internationally-recognised research in these fields. If you have changed your mind about where and what you want to study, you can find more advice at www.roehampton.ac.uk/clearing